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Pac-12’s Larry Scott tries and fails to expand College Football Playoff

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott’s attempt to expand the College Football Playoff for the coming season has failed, according to ESPN.

Heather Dinich of ESPN reported on Wednesday that Scott actively tried to get the cast of college football decision-makers to increase the size of the field from four teams to eight, but he couldn’t get enough support to pass the measure for the 2020 season.

Scott became the first commissioner to formally request CFP expansion, according to Dinich.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock laid out the reasons why Scott was unable to change his colleagues’ minds:

“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format,” Hancock told ESPN. “They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”

The Pac-12 last got a team in the playoff in 2016, when Washington lost to Alabama, 24-7. The conference has gotten two teams in the four-team field since the playoff’s inception in 2014.

The Oregon Ducks qualified for the first CFP in 2014, defeating Florida State before losing to Ohio State in the title game.

In order to expand the playoff, Scott would need the support of the 10 other conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick, along with the 11-person CFP board of managers.

Scott told ESPN that the expansion is desperately needed, given the lack of nonconference games and varying schedule lengths across the country right now.

“In light of the pandemic and the varied schedules and reduced number of games — including no nonconference games for most teams — the committee will have to evaluate, I felt it was our responsibility and important to consider an expanded playoff that would include more teams and automatic qualifiers who are conference champions this year.”

The Pac-12 announced last week that it would begin a reduced football season of seven games. Games will start Nov. 6.


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