Does the Pac-12 need non-conference games to have a shot at the CFP? | Yahoo Sports College Podcast

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the Pac-12’s late start to the season, its loss of games for COVID-19 and if the conference’s best teams need to schedule non-conference games to have a shot at making the College Football Playoff.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: Jon Wilner of the Hotline out at the San Jose Mercury News, preeminent Pac-12 reporter, says, due to all these cancellations going on in the Pac-12, there was at least a discussion and maybe an approval from the athletic directors of the Pac-12, that they would start allowing non-conference games to be scheduled if you cannot work out a conference game. Now, they're going to try to play in league, but if it doesn't happen, and you're sitting there three days out, and you can schedule a non-conference game, go right ahead.

So this would be a big step in that, no longer we'd just be looking at a set schedule, but could you add BYU that's undefeated? Could you have, like, a late season game, where the Pac-12, which I think is currently on the outside looking in of a playoff, have an open date and go, hell, let's see if Cincinnati can play? Let's create something that gets us in, because right now, as the dominoes fall, it's unlikely to be a Pac-12 team. So kind of interesting. Pat, why don't we start with you?

PAT FORDE: Oh, it's interesting. Interesting premise, and you know, I think it is a realization that we are on the outside looking in and, maybe we can, more games would help. And it would be great, yes, if they could set up some actual high profile match ups. The questions there are, yeah, is their testing protocol going to sync up with what you're testing protocol is?

And then, if you're undefeated Oregon or undefeated USC, do you want the risk of losing a game to BYU? I mean, both sides should go into it thinking, we aren't getting there as it is, so let's try and play it. May the best team win, and maybe that team gets enough of a boost that they have a shot to get in the playoff.

I mean, I would be all for it. I think it would be great. It would be great for BYU. Cincinnati, as you mentioned, might need it. I think it'd be great to see that sort of, a, nimbleness, then b, that kind of adventurousness of, hey, let's take on a, let's take on a game that we may lose, but if we win, it may really help.

PETE THAMEL: One of my favorite stats of this season is that Texas State has played, we're taping this on Wednesday, ten football games. Utah has played zero football games. There is a huge inequity in actual games played. I am of the opinion that as of right now, the Pac-12 has zero chance at making the playoffs. I mean, it would take a humility that I don't know if Oregon has as an athletic department.

I don't think it's in the blood of Oregon now that, you know, they spent ten or 12 years, you know, amid the sport's upper tier, to say we need to go outside. We need to go to an independent to validate how good we are. But here's what the Pac-12 doesn't have, it doesn't have an event. Like, you need a game that's an event. Like Notre Dame-Clemson was an event. Alabama-Georgia was an event.

There are-- it is an eventless year in the Pac-12 right now. So I think right now the Pac-12 is floundering, and it needs to recognize it's floundering and be creative to rise above its own mediocrity.

DAN WETZEL: I think the real question for, let's say, let's say the Ducks, do they have the arrogance, are they too arrogant or are they too, where they think it doesn't matter, and they call UMass, or they call UNLV's got an open, you know, something like that, and not saying, no, we need BYU. We need you. Like, we have to have this game, so we're going to call the best team we can play or are they going to go with the easy victory?

Now, in the tradition of college football, they go for the easy victory. The American and BYU need, and the Pac-12, all need each other equally at this point, and it may not just be Oregon. Maybe any team in the Pac-12 to give them another game to just add some kind of spark to their league to try to get in, because right now, it's like, they're not even in the discussion, and they need it. So I think that's going to be the big thing.