A couples thoughts about scheduling, final 4 and fairness

A few years ago PAC12 and B1G initiated an
inter-conferance series of games. The agreement ended most as quickly as it began. Utah vs Michigan was one of the only mini series that was played. One factor for cancelling the agreement was the PAC12 9 game conference schedule.

Strength of schedules factors in the playoff selection process. Utah, Oregon are criticized for low SOS, making the possibility either winning out and being selected conditional on the right combination of game outcomes.

Right now Alabama has the weakest SOS in the P5, but because the SEC backloads games between its strongest teams their SOS will go up the next couple weeks, and if they win out they will be in.

Recent playoff history, east coast biases, fan interest tilt the selection process in favor of the SEC, Clemson, and B1G. How can the PAC12 become a yearly participant in the championship? Gotta get in to have a chance to win and build credibility.

Two ideas immediately come to mind:
1- As a group the PAC12 needs to up its game scheduling, SOS. The conference doesn’t have enough game cred to keep scheduling Idaho St, etc. It’s time to at least temporarily agree to schedule at least 1 other P5 and no D2, (or whatever they call these teams currently.) The 1 A, 1 B,1 C scheduling strategy used by Utah and some other PAC12 teams needs to stop. Rather, the conference needs to schedule more like $C.

Having 1 conference early season marquee game, UW, Oregon vs Auburn the last two years, isn’t near enough. The conference can stand to lose one of these if there are three more they win.

2 The conference needs to consider John Wilner’s recomendations like strategically scheduling intra-conference games.
(The nine game schedule is daunting and isn’t changing. The North teams demand yearly access ro So Cal.)

The conference can consider backloading to schedule strongest teams towards the end of the season to drive interest. No more scheduling like Utah facing a travel game to UW after UW has a bye week.

Backloading critical contests will get teams playing prime time instead of PAC12 after dark. More eyes on the games, including poll voters.

PAC12 has a recent poor bowl game win/loss record, no selection in the four team championship. They face an uphill battle to get in. Until they win games against strong opponents the conference will remain on the periphery.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed with a bowl loss last year, because our bowl record was already meritorious


I don’t disagree with changing the scheduling model. However, USC is able to get schools like USU and Fresno to play one-off games. The Utes have been unable to get G5 schools to do a one off game and changing the model will mean they will lose a home game every other year. I am fine with that as the Idaho St. games are really uninteresting, especially if they are not the first game of the season.

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Utah needs to stop scheduling that Division III team down south. They are not a P5 team, and it brings nothing to the table. When we beat the Zoobs, no one outside of the state of Utah gives a crap. And if it’s a close game, it means that we’re bad. The only school that benefits is BYU.

Also playing tough competition outside of the state helps with recruiting. How about playing TCU again? We owe them a few kicks in the butt. Go beat up on the ACC (other than Clemson, there’s not much there). Play Virginia, and give Bronco more headaches.

But enough with BYU. As a Californian, I guess I don’t care about the game as much as most of you. I’d be more interested in real games against real opponents.


It has been made abundantly clear by Harlan, and Chris Hill before him, that absent special situations like the Michigan series and the upcoming Florida series, Utah and BYU will play every year. I don’t like it. Many on here don’t like it, but it is what it is.


I agree. If we need to fix our OOC scheduling then it should probably be:

  1. In-State Game and rotate them (USU, BYU, Weber, SUU)
  2. P5 Team
  3. Money Bag Game

And in years we play SUU or Weber, those are the Money Bag Games so we pick up a G5 game. At least when we play a G5 team they can count towards something.

BYU is in this strange no man’s land where they don’t really count toward much. But a normal G5’s strength can be properly placed by how they finish in their conference, and the conference strength can be measured against other conferences. If we schedule a name brand school like Boise, Cincinati, Houston, UCF, etc., that have a history of winning their conference and going to NY6 bowls, even better. Bottom line, they hurt more than they help, but I wouldn’t mind them on a rotation with the other in-state schools.

The playoff needs to expand, but we can help the committee with a better out of conference slate.


I’d rather schedule a mid-tier P5 team, like Illinois, than any G5 team. Beat the hell out of these other P5 conferences.


The problem with the “playoff” is that it’s no such thing. The best that I’ve heard the CFP discribed is a “beauty pagent.” If it were truly a playoff, then winning a conference championship would be mandatory for entry, and there would be one conference champion left out. This would still create a beauty pagent for the 4th spot, but ideally the CFP committee would only determine which conference champion deserves to be left out.

Until we stop pretending that the CFP committee plays a legitimate role in determining the national champion, the idiocracy will continue. The CFP is nothing more than the BCS by a different name, and it needs to be called out as such by national pundits. Unfortunately, the fact that ESPN has ties with the SEC network means the majority of sports news will remain focused on ensuring a system where two SEC teams can make the playoff remains intact, and with no incentive to call BS on the CFP committee’s obvious misgivings. The same thing that everyone complained about with the BCS continues to occur, and yet everyone in the sports media pretends like we’ve found the solution through the CFP. Hell, at least the BCS used computer rankings in an attempt to eliminate bias (east coast, SEC, etc.).

Until we’re done with the current makeup of the CFP, Utah will need to work on making itself pretty in the eyes of the committee ranther than simply winning games.


I thought about that, but that’s a rough schedule. We’d be playing 11 P5 teams a year and 'sc isn’t going to be down forever. It’s a matter of time before the PAC cycles back and has 4 or 5 top tier teams all going at the same time. I’m not sure we want a schedule of 11 P5s if Washington, USC, Oregon, Stanford, and hopefully us are all at full strength. Especially when you have other schools that can be dangerous like ASU, UCLA, Wazzu, etc.

I’m not sure anyone can make it out of an 11 game gauntlet like that without 2 losses.

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Yeah, and with those two losses, even after running through the improved gauntlet, will end up landing us in the Veg.

I do hope that we run the table the rest of this season, then beat Oregon soundly in the PAC 12 championship game, and end up with only one loss, then not get invited to the playoff. Why, you ask? Simply to see the ironic gnashing of teeth and twisting of hands from the Utah religislature, who helped force us into playing those ■■■■■■■■■ down south, lowering the quality of our schedule in the first place. Political hypocrisy is always entertaining.


I hear you, and I hate playing those turds but at maybe 8-4 I’m not convinced TDS pulls our SOS down this year.


Not only that, but it is also abundantly clear that the state legislature will punish Utah as an academic institution if we stop scheduling byu-P in the Big sports.


We are mostly locked in with our schedule through the next decade already. We only have a couple of open spots remaining. We have one opening in each of 2025, 2027, and 2028. And the real for the Florida games cost us by locking into the byu game until the mid 2030s. Who knows what the football landscape will even look like at that?

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The old adage “To be the best you’ve got to beat the best” does have some merit in this discussion. Yes, the 9-game stroll down cannibal road every season hurts our view in the eyes of the currently biased process. Unless we roll undefeated or have some Top 25 wins on the resumé, we are going to be on the outside looking in.

In short, we need to make our 3 OOC games count for something. It is going to take time to get this implemented into our schedule, but it needs to be done if we ever want to get into the CFP.

It’s either that or changing the CFP to an 8-team playoff with all P5 champions receiving automatic berths into the playoff.


Am I missing something? It seems to me that, while we would like to schedule better teams, we are not able to just name our opponents at will. I agree, it would be cool to play a team from the SEC, the Big 10 and Big XII every season for our OOC to see how we really stack up, but the reality is that they have to want to play us. And the unfortunate reality is that for at least a little while longer we are BYU for teams from these other divisions - a game where if they lose it doesn’t look good (though I think that perception is evolving) and if they win, it doesn’t do much for them.

I have faith that Harlan is going to do everything he can to get us quality opponents, but at the end of the day there is only so much he can do.

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The ACC has like 12 teams that Utah can clobber every single year. Just don’t schedule Clemson.

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Would love to see more big OOC games but even more I’d like to see us NOT ever play FCS games. Fine let us play Wyoming or a MAC team and one in state game. But no more FCS please. It’d rather watch a spring scrimmage than pay for that. All FBS if we want to play for all the marbles. Doesn’t have to be conference champs each time. But Kansas or Vandy or CSU even would help with out of state recruitment.


With schedules being set years in advance this is the single best way for us to strengthen our schedule. I would absolutely support that - I had no interest in ISU or NIU this year - I can only imagine what that must be like to play teams like that at the end of the season.