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1 Power Five Conference Has An Issue With Proposed 12-Team College Football Playoff Format

General view of the opening play between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl.

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 22: General view of the opening play between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on November 22, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The new proposal for a 12-team College Football Playoff will certainly open up opportunities for programs that are normally left out to compete for a national title. The Pac-12 has one issue with the current proposal, though.

As currently constituted, the four highest-ranked conference champions, regardless of league, would get byes through to the quarterfinals. Two additional conference champions would also receive bids, along with six at-large schools as determined by the selection committee.

This, of course, doesn't guarantee that any league will get a bid, even the Power Five leagues. That would have been the case last year, as Pac-12 champion Oregon was ranked No. 25 in the final CFP rankings. The bizarre COVID-19 year had plenty to do with that, but it isn't crazy to think the league could have its top team finish below the other four Power Five champions, an AAC program, and a Mountain West program, for example, and miss out entirely.

Naturally, the Pac-12 would prefer to not have to worry about it. In a new statement, outgoing league commissioner Larry Scott calls for each of the "Autonomy Five" champions to get a bid, while praising the sub-committee for coming up with the format.

Of the Power, or "Autonomy," Five leagues, the Pac-12 has had by far the most difficult time getting teams into the four-team field. Oregon reached the national championship in 2014, falling to Ohio State. Washington made the playoff in 2016, but was beaten soundly by Alabama in the semifinal.

Last year, No. 8 Cincinnati and No. 12 Coastal Carolina would have snatched up the final two College Football Playoff autobids, leaving the Pac-12 out, had the 12-team system been established.

Going back to 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff, here is how the autobids would have played out, and how the Pac-12 would have fared, assuming all rankings are the same as they were at the time when the Playoff was decided.


1. Alabama (SEC Champion)
2. Oregon (Pac-12 Champion)
3. Florida State (ACC Champion)
4. Ohio State (Big Ten Champion)
5. Baylor (Big 12 Champion)
20. Boise State (Mountain West Champion)

10. Arizona - At-large


1. Clemson (ACC)
2. Alabama (SEC)
3. Michigan State (Big Ten)
4. Oklahoma (Big 12)
6. Stanford (Pac-12)
18. Houston (AAC)


1. Alabama (SEC)
2. Clemson (ACC)
4. Washington (Pac-12)
5. Penn State (Big Ten)
7. Oklahoma (Big 12)
15. Western Michigan (MAC)

9. USC - At-large
10. Colorado - At-large


1. Clemson (ACC)
2. Oklahoma (Big 12)
3. Georgia (SEC)
5. Ohio State (Big Ten)
8. USC (Pac-12)
12. UCF (AAC)

11. Washington - At-large


1. Alabama (SEC)
2. Clemson (ACC)
4. Oklahoma (Big 12)
6. Ohio State (Big Ten)
8. UCF (AAC)
9. Washington (Pac-12)


1. LSU (SEC)
2. Ohio State (Big Ten)
3. Clemson (ACC)
4. Oklahoma (Big 12)
6. Oregon (Pac-12)
17. Memphis (AAC)

11. Utah - At-large


So even with the struggles that the Pac-12 has had for the last five or so years, and with the chance for a 2020-like disaster for the league, every other year this system would've resulted in an auto-bid for the league. In four of the seven years, it would have resulted in multiple Pac-12 teams getting into the College Football Playoff, and in 2016, the league would've put three teams in the field. Even as currently drawn up, this would be a much, much better system for the league's schools.