Last updated 11/1/2018 at Noon
It was quite the Saturday for local college football teams. The Whitworth Pirates remained unbeaten and atop the Northwest Conference dropping the Pacific Boxers 37-19 at the Pine Bowl and EWU humbled the Idaho Vandals 38-14 during the Homecoming game in Cheney.
The Washington Huskies fell flat against the Cal Bears in Berkeley, 12-10, while WSU topped Stanford in one of the most exciting and highly entertaining games of the day, 41-38.
For WSU fans the victory must have been exhilarating. But if you watched the ESPN halftime shows following that victory you may have been a bit miffed at the announcer ‘experts’ that talked about the College Football playoff (CFP) scenarios. These guys said that in years past a one loss Pac-12 would be in the conversation as one of the four teams chosen to be in the CFP, but not this year.
Their reasoning as always is the weak schedule WSU has in 2018 and that the Pac-12 teams are beating each other up figuring this is a down year and the Cougars are just an anomaly in 2018 and not a real challenger. Even if WSU wins out and defeats the Pac-12 South representative they would most likely be left out of the playoff picture.
Alabama and Clemson are pretty much locks again unless something really weird happens. With Notre Dame having a great season and a lock for a third spot the committee would need to choose between the Big 12 or Big 10 champs for the fourth and final spot. Once again the Pac 12 champion would be on the outside looking in.
This is a bit premature as a lot of different scenarios could happen with big games on the schedule and possible upsets that could favor the Cougars in one way or another as long as they keep winning.
For a team like the WSU it is difficult to schedule home and home games against big time foes. They could do like they did years ago and schedule Michigan one year and Nebraska the next but never get a return game at home from these programs.
Big 12, Big 10 and SEC teams don’t like to travel to the Pacific Time Zone unless it is for a bowl or a playoff game. Case in point, in order for the Washington Huskies to play Auburn they either had to play at Auburn or at a neutral site which was in Atlanta. Auburn, Alabama is 108 miles from Atlanta while the UW is somewhere around 2600 or so miles away. The Huskies were able to wear their home jerseys but you probably didn’t notice since the fan base was mostly from the south.
I doubt that any SEC team would be willing to travel to Seattle to play the Huskies or WSU at Century Link Field a neutral site. That doesn’t seem right to me so that is why I’m saying scheduling can hurt the Pac-12 schools every year.
USC has a big enough name and reputation and the fact that it is located in Los Angeles helps that they can get Notre Dame or Texas to travel for a home game there. But chances are they would need to travel to Dallas, Texas to play an SEC school.
For things to ever change for the Pac 12 teams they will need to beat the big name schools on their turf consistently so as to make a game played in the western time zone matter.
It took a good number of years for Gonzaga to get a solid reputation as a great basketball team to actually get top schools like Michigan State and North Carolina to play home and home games with the Zags. They got beat in the early years but have proven they can compete with anyone now.
It certainly seems that when you can prove you are a great opponent you can bring about serious change, but not until then!