Jul 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott speaks during Pac-12 football media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Report: Pac-12 request for expanded CFP turned down

The Pac-12 requested an eight-team playoff for this season but the College Football Playoff management committee turned it down, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott urged the committee to make the change amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which will lead to teams playing fewer games in the 2020 campaign.

But the committee that includes the 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick reviewed the situation and determined to stick with the status quo of four qualifying teams.

“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN. “They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”

In Scott’s view, the pandemic has so gravely affected the season that expanding the number of teams would have been the most equitable solution. For example, the Pac-12 and Big Ten haven’t yet started their schedules while the ACC, Big 12 and SEC have already begun play.

“In light of the pandemic and the varied schedules and reduced number of games — including no nonconference games for most teams — the committee will have to evaluate, I felt it was our responsibility and important to consider an expanded playoff that would include more teams and automatic qualifiers who are conference champions this year,” Scott told ESPN.

Stanford coach David Shaw told reporters the number of playoff teams will eventually increase.

“Whether it’s six or eight, at some point in time it’s going to happen,” Shaw said. “We all know it; we all believe it. We’re just going to do it very, very slowly and methodically, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.

“The only thing that should matter is: Did you fight really, really hard your entire season to win your conference? If you did, you should get a ticket to the dance. Now, outside of those five, now who deserves it? You have to look at independents, you have to look at No. 2s in some of those conferences, look at the roads they traveled. That’s the only thing that truly makes sense, and I believe eventually we will get there, whether it’s six or eight teams, I think it’ll eventually happen.”

According to Hancock, there will be no change this season to how the selection process is handled.

“They trust the judgment of the 13 experts on the (selection) committee to make the best decisions, understanding how much more difficult 2020 will be,” Hancock said.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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