Unlike some elite conferences that allow their teams to schedule FCS cupcakes late in the season, the Pac-12 schedule forces teams to play tough opponents — Cal and Colorado being the exceptions — week after week. While some elite conferences feel it’s okay to have teams only play eight conference games, the Pac-12 doesn’t allow such soft scheduling. But what does the Pac-12 know? It’s just a gimmicky conference full of gimmicky teams that can’t play real football, right?
Although those certainly weren’t the words that came out of Stanford Cardinal head coach David Shaw’s mouth this week, it’s not hard to read between the lines of his comments regarding the gauntlet his Cardinal have run in 2013. Stanford’s two losses on the season have come directly after the Cardinal have beaten tough teams, and while Shaw insisted that he doesn’t like the idea of “making excuses,” his points regarding disparity in conference scheduling are important.
It’s not only the nine-game schedule, but the fact that you have to get your nonconference games out of the way early so you’re going to have a string of conference games in a row. I’d like to know if anybody has had a stretch like we’ve had.
That’s not making any excuses. We lost two games. But we lost two games to two unranked teams after beating ranked teams. That doesn’t really happen in any other conference but ours. You play a highly-ranked conference opponent and then come back with another tough conference opponent, sometimes on the road. You don’t get those breaks. Again, not making excuse. We don’t make excuses. We lost fair and square. But to say the road that you travel in our conference is not tougher than other conference is just wrong.
Shaw went on to say that the major conferences should standardize scheduling before the playoff starts next season, insisting that “if all the other conferences aren’t going to nine games, we should go back to eight.”
Will other conferences be willing to make their teams play more conference games? It seems unlikely. After all, nine conference games would eliminate those much-beloved November games against the likes of Chattanooga. We can’t afford to have that happen, can we?