1. The Pac-12 Championship Winner Might Need Some Help
A one-loss Pac-12 champion wouldn’t have been in the College Football Playoff last season. It wouldn’t have been close.
A one-loss Pac-12 champion wouldn’t have been in the College Football Playoff two seasons ago, although it would’ve had a strong argument over an Alabama team that didn’t even win its own division.
A one-loss Pac-12 champion wouldn’t have been in the College Football Playoff in 2015, but there would’ve been an interesting debate.
It’s not that the Pac-12 can’t get in – Oregon was a No. 2 seed in the first CFP, and Washington was a No. 4 see in 2016 – but in the overall pecking order of conferences, it’s a hard sell.
Based on perceptions going into the season. if all other things are equal and all five Power Five conference champs go 11-1, the SEC and Big Ten champions would be locks, and then it would be a battle among the other three. That 2016 Washington team was helped by Oklahoma losing two early games.
Go 13-0, you Pac-12 champion, and you’ll get in – all five Power Five conference champs won’t go unbeaten. But this season, the conference is far better and far more dangerous, so a perfect champion is more than unlikely.
A two-loss SEC champion would probably get in, but a two-loss Pac-12 champion? Not a chance. The Pac-12 needs the ACC, Big Ten or Big 12 champion to finish with at least two losses, and it’ll have to hope the SEC isn’t so good that two teams get in.
Or, one of the Pac-12 teams can be just that good and take care of business itself.