Pac-12 Football

As Leagues Play with Their Schedules, Should Pac-12 and Big 12 Go to 8 Games?

Sept. 9, 2011; Tempe, AZ, USA; Detail view of the Pac 12 logo on the field at Sun Devil Stadium prior to the game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Missouri Tigers.  Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterMay 2, 2013

With the College Football Playoff only a year-and-a-half away, conferences that have a nine-game conference model might want to take a second look at their scheduling practices. Why schedule nine conference games when the ACC, Big Ten and SEC only play eight?

Three years ago, the Pac-12 did not have a conference championship game. Its conference scheduling format made sense at that time. Every team played nine conference games to equal the number played by the ACC and SEC champions.

But for the last two years, the Pac-12 has held a conference championship game, with the winner having played 10 conference opponents. 

Playing an extra conference opponent can bolster a team's strength of schedule, but it can also lead to another defeat that could take a team out of the College Football Playoff. And with the semifinals in play next season, the Pac-12 should be placing its champion in the best position to make the final four.

The Big 12 has a nine-game conference schedule, but it doesn't hold a conference championship game. That's because the Big 12 has 10 member schools, which falls short of the minimum 12 teams the NCAA requires to hold a championship game. So it makes sense for the Big 12 to keep its scheduling format.

But the Pac-12 needs to cut its nine-game conference model to eight. Perhaps the league was waiting for the ACC, Big Ten and SEC to add an extra conference game. That would explain why it hasn't changed its scheduling model. In 2011, there was talk that the SEC was considering it. But it ended up being just talk. 

The Pac-12 coaches are holding meetings this week, and, according to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, one of the talking points will be reducing conference games from nine to eight.

If the coaches agree that would be in their schools' best interests to drop one conference game, will Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott follow through?

It's your move, Pac-12. 

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