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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Could Pac-12 make a College Football Playoff push?


FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt believes that a few Pac-12 teams have a real chance to make a run at a CFP bid this season. The conference has been shut out since 2016. 

That could change this year, as five Pac-12 programs were included in this week’s initial rankings. Four of them landed in the top 14: one-loss Oregon (No. 8), USC (No. 9 ) and UCLA (No. 10), and two-loss Utah (No. 12).

“My initial thought on this conference was [that] they’re getting no respect,” Klatt said on a recent episode of “The Joel Klatt Show.” “But then, I just kept looking at it, and there’s a sneaky path for the Pac-12. …

“It’s gonna take some help, but there is a pretty clear path right now for the Pac-12. They have to avoid what inevitably happens in that conference, which is that they beat each other up.”

The CFP remains under a four-team model, switching to 12 teams as soon as the 2024 season. For now, teams are still vying for those four highly coveted spots.

“Oregon at No. 8 — [the committee] respects them. USC at No. 9 — they really respect them. I would have UCLA higher, but I get it. At [No.] 12, that’s not bad right there. The only one I thought they kind of disrespected if you will is Utah, in particular with the LSU ranking.

“If [Oregon] were to win out, you can see a scenario where they would go to the College Football Playoff,” Klatt continued. “In that scenario, they better hope that Georgia also wins out, but then USC is sitting there. If they win out, they might have a really strong argument to go to the College Football Playoff, in particular if TCU were to lose … [or] if Alabama were to lose another game.”

The SEC leads the way with 10 appearances and 14 total wins and in the CFP, followed by the ACC with eight appearances and six total wins. The Big Ten (six appearances) and the Big 12 (four appearances) land ahead of the Pac-12, which has only made two appearances in the history of the CFP and has yet to win it all.

The one and only time a Pac-12 team made it to the championship game was in the CFP’s inaugural year following the 2014 season, when the Ducks lost to the Buckeyes, 42-20. 

Could things get shaken up this time around?

“I’m not saying that it’s easy, and I’m not saying that they control their own destiny,” Klatt said of the Pac-12. “But … there is a good scenario for the Pac-12 to go to this playoff.”

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