Oregon and Oregon State Play Scheduling Game

By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME

It was once thought that a college football program needed to play a tough non-conference schedule in order to get national credit. But in the College Football Playoff era, that thought doesn’t always hold true.

The SEC figured it out. That conference has made every CFP since the inception of the playoff nine seasons ago and it has put multiple teams in the four-team field twice. Meanwhile, the Pac-12 has only had only two representatives in the same span — Oregon (2014) and Washington (2016).

That will certainly change when the playoff expands from four teams to 12 in 2024. But John Canzano already noted a shift in the way the Ducks and Beavers are scheduling non-conference opponents. Gone from the schedule in the next few seasons are high-profile games vs. Georgia, Michigan and Ohio State. They’ve been replaced by more manageable schedules.

“Both Oregon and Oregon State have already adjusted for the expansion,” Canzano said. “They’ve tweaked the philosophy. Or at the least they’re waiting to see how the expanded playoff shakes out.”

In 2024 and beyond, the Ducks scheduled programs such as Hawaii, Idaho, Portland State, Texas Tech, Montana State, Oklahoma State and Boise State in non-conference games. The Beavers play programs such as Sacramento State, San Jose State, and New Mexico in addition to Texas Tech and Portland State.

Canzano credits Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, who served as the chair of the CFP selection committee. Also, OSU AD Scott Barnes who declared several seasons ago that he didn’t like the Beavers playing Ohio State in a non-conference game.

It’s all about gaming the system and leaning on the perception of your conference according to Canzano. The Pac-12 is expected this season, for example, to have as many as six teams in the pre-season Top 25 rankings. That de-emphasizes the need to load up the non-conference schedule.

“The Pac-12 is constructing a narrative, especially for this next season, that it’s going to have five or six really good teams,” he said. “It behooves everybody to go 3-0 in non-conference games, and let’s not play a bunch of games that make us look like the Pac-12 is not that good.”

Listen to the segment at the 1:53:25 mark in the podcast below. Catch the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano weekdays 3-6 p.m. in Portland exclusively on 750 The Game.

@steven_von

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