Pac 12 football news just keeps getting worse.
The struggling conference, which has staggered through another disappointing campaign, was shocked to learn this week it has already been eliminated from next year’s College Football Playoff.
“Feel free to apply again in 2020,” the conference learned in an “auto reply” email from CFP headquarters.
The failure to make another playoff became painfully obvious upon release of the 2019 Pac 12 football schedule.
“Same old story,” one longtime schedule observer mused. “The ACC and SEC are laughing their asses off.”
One-time powerhouse USC, the Pac 12’s most historically decorated and respected program, was deemed “done, finished, kaput” as soon as the ink dried on the press release.
The Trojans, coming off a 5-7 season, will continue to play a nine-game conference schedule that must include crossover games against Cal and Stanford. Both of those schools qualified for bowls in 2018.
USC’s nonconference schedule in 2019 includes Fresno State and Notre Dame, two schools that currently stand 23-2, and a team that won this year at Wisconsin (BYU).
The Notre Dame and BYU games are on the road.
The University of Florida, which has not played an out-of-state non-conference event since 1993, remarked of USC’s schedule “that’s insane and hardly the way to lose three games and still finish No. 10 in the CFP ranking.”
USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann reportedly took one look at the 2019 schedule and immediately began the search to replace Clay Helton, who recently was given one more season to turn things around.
USC’s first six games are, get this, Fresno State, Stanford, at BYU, Utah, at Washington, at Notre Dame.
The Trojans also miss Oregon State, the Pac 12 school you most want to play right now to reach bowl eligibility:
Other possible playoff contenders?
The committee perused Washington’s hot pursuit of Eastern Washington, Hawaii and BYU and noted, “What, Rutgers wasn’t available?”
The committee has projected the 2019 Huskies to go 13-0 and finish No. 7 behind four-loss Mississippi State.
Stanford was eliminated from contention with a non-con schedule that must have been approved by the ghost of Dr. Kevorkian: Northwestern, at Central Florida and Notre Dame.
UCLA, under second-year Chip Kelly, is O-U-T after agreeing to at Cincinnati, San Diego State and Oklahoma.
The committee, in another preemptive move, left projected 10-2 Washington State out of a New Year’s Six game after seeing the Cougars schedule of New Mexico, Northern Colorado and Houston.
Oregon was removed from consideration after a projected five-point loss to Auburn of the SEC, in neutral site Arlington, in what some are calling “the most important game for the Pac 12 since Washington lost to Auburn by five points last year in neutral site Atlanta.”
No other team Pac 12 school is believed to be serious 2019 contention. The committee has suggested the conference should consider adding a strong team from the Mountain West, perhaps Utah.
There was some good news for the Pac 12 this week.
The USC men’s water polo team captured its 10th NCAA championship and added to the conference's untouchable overall total. Call them the Pac 515. These accomplishments were immediately added to the rough draft of Larry Scott’s opening statement for next summer’s Pac 12 Football Media Day at the Hollywood Wax Museum.