LOS ANGELES — It goes without saying that a big topic at Pac-12 Media Day on Wednesday is centered where the league isn’t as opposed to where it is. Namely, that would be the College Football Playoff, which the conference has missed out on two seasons in a row and three of the five years the format has been in existence.
While expansion is an evergreen topic when it comes to the postseason format, it’s a particularly pointed question out West given the Pac-12’s struggles to make the cut in recent years. Though leaders from the university president-level on down have been fairly measured when it comes to discussing doubling the number of teams making the Playoff, Stanford coach David Shaw was rather pointed in remarking that a move to eight teams is something set in concrete even if the details still need to be worked out.
“There is no way we stay at four teams. From the day it was announced, I said that’s awesome, that’s good and that’s what we need… until we get to eight,” said Shaw. “Every single year there’s one, two and sometimes three teams that raise their hand and have a legitimate case to go to the Playoff. The only way to truly get it right is to have eight teams at the end of the year battling for that national championship.
“All I’m saying is that I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s going to happen. If we can go from 64 to 65 to 68 (in the NCAA basketball tournament), we can go from four to eight. Don’t talk about time, we can make it work.”
Shaw knows a thing or two about expanded playoffs given his lengthy experience in the NFL and he’s among the most plugged in head coaches at the college level given his position on the NCAA Football Rules Committee. While his position isn’t quite echoed at an official level in the Pac-12, he’s not alone out West in hoping for CFP expansion happening sooner rather than later.