The Pac-12 missed the 2017 College Football Playoff, kicking off possibly the worst revenue-sports postseason in the history of major college athletics, partially due to a scheduling mistake.
You’ll recall the 2017 preseason, in which everyone slowly noticed reigning Rose Bowl champ USC was picked as the league’s best Playoff hope ... despite facing 12 straight opponents without a single bye week. One game in particular loomed as particularly fraught scheduling:
There we have the Pac-12 giving USC an early test against a typically tough Stanford before its non-con game against an erratic Texas, then sending it on the road for two straight weeks, with the latter trip involving both travel to the conference’s most remote locale and a short week. Shocking no one, USC lost at Wazzu, wrecked by injuries across the line. The weary Trojans would later lose at Notre Dame, too.
Fellow Playoff hopeful Washington was knocked out by another of these short-week roadies, falling to 8-2 at Stanford.
So, since we know that college football is a sport in which the same bad things keep happening to the same people over and over, how’s 2018 shaping up?
Washington and USC are again your favorites, so let’s spot the trouble.
Pac-12 doom option No. 1
How about this early run for UW? That’s two tough games away from home, two games against — well — fellow FBS athletes, and then two straight road trips against UCLA and Oregon, both of which should have pretty challenging offenses, with no one knowing what to make of Chip Kelly’s intro Bruins and with the Ducks likely having QB Justin Herbert. Things keep going until a short-week trip to Pullman, but let’s zoom in.
Yeah, this combo looks perilous, and I don’t even care about how bad UCLA’s gonna be this year or about how badly the Huskies have beaten Oregon the last two years:
Things happen in college football, and that right there looks like things happening. Quote that sentence I just typed as if it’s bad analysis all you want. You know it’s true that things happen.
Pac-12 doom option No. 2
If you don’t like that one, then how about USC’s early run:
The Trojans got another tough early game against a talented Texas, this time far from home? Better squeeze in a physical road trip before it and then follow it with a short-week game against the team that short-week’d them last year. Let’s wrap up this stretch with a roadie involving the country’s squirrel-iest quarterback, Khalil Tate.
Pac-12 doom option No. 3
Other? All the above? Anything and everything? Where else will this whole thing go awry?