The jostling has begun in the new Big 5 power structure. As conferences try to bully their way for the best possible position in the new playoff, Pac-12 coaches have launched a salvo at SEC scheduling. The SEC plays eight games and will continue to play eight games, the Pac-12 plays nine and will continue to play nine, and coaches want to make it loud and clear that this gives one conference an unfair advantage in the final tables.
"I've been saying this for three years now: I think if we're going to go into a playoff and feed into one playoff system, we all need to play by the same rules," said Stanford coach David Shaw, whose team has played in four straight BCS bowl games, including three in his tenure. "Play your conference. Don't back down from playing your own conference. It's one thing to back down from playing somebody else. But don't back down from playing your own conference."
"I would like to see everybody operate under the same set of rules or restrictions or regulations or whatever word you want to throw in there," UCLA coach Jim Mora said. "I think the Pac-12 is an incredibly competitive conference. I look at the teams that make up this conference and I think anybody can beat anybody on any given week. I think the same can be said for the SEC. And yet we play nine games against each other. I like that."
The Pac-12 has long begrudged the SEC for the eight game schedule. One-loss SEC teams seem to have become the norm in national title games despite only playing eight games in conference. Meanwhile, the nine game Pac-12 schedule has made it difficult for teams to escape unscathed, often ending up with two losses that eventually knocks them out of national title contention. A playoff should make it easier for the rancour to subside, but if one side is excluded from a four-team bout, look out.
Now, there are obvious benefits both ways for an eight or nine game conference schedule. Eight conference games means more flexibility in non-conference situations and scheduling big name opponents. Nine conference games could mean more cupcakes and the dissolution of big-time matchups, unless more rules were put in place to ensure that there was fairness all across the board.
College football fans, would you like to see standardization among the Big 5 with regards to the amount of conference games each conference plays?