We know the proposed Big 12/Pac-12 scheduling alliance is not going to happen. There are a million reasons why it won’t, but the important thing to note is that it’s definitely not happening. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd on Thursday spoke to a Big 12 official on the topic of former Kansas State president Jon Wefald‘s idea to have the Big 12’s entire non-conference slate include nothing but Pac-12 opponents to see if it was actually going to be considered, who said, “Not at all.”
Dodd was able to get his hands on the full, 11-page proposal, and included in there was some interesting food for thought for all scheduling nerds (like myself). Wefald boiled his idea down to 10 bullet points, and No. 7 is really interesting (yes, the full report is in all caps):
AT THE END OF THE SCHEDULED GAMES, THE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS FROM THE BIG 12 AND THE PAC 12 COULD PLAY A GAME FOR THE INTER LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP. THERE ALSO COULD BE A SCENARIO WHERE THE NO. 1 TEAM IN THE BIG 12 WOULD PLAY THE NO. 2 TEAM FROM THE PAC 12 AND VICE VERSA WITH THE TWO WINNERS PLAYING FOR THE OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIP. THIS ALSO WOULD ASSURE FAR MORE TV FUNDS FROM THE CABLE AND NATIONAL NETWORKS.
So, all 10 Big 12 teams would devote all three of their non-conference games to Pac-12 opponents, and vice versa (six Pac-12 non-conference games would go unaccounted for in this proposal, since the Pac-12 has two more teams than its eastern counterpart). Each school would then play a 9-game conference schedule, and then turn around and play one (or perhaps two) games against the other conference in an inter-conference four-team playoff, whose championship game would alternate between the Rose Bowl and AT&T Stadium.
Obviously, this would be a seismic shock to the college football ecosystem. The entire schedule would have to be adjusted to make room for a 14th regular season game, and the lucky winner of the Big 12/Pac-12 alliance would then have the opportunity to play a 15th and 16th game in the College Football Playoff.
Those three words would be the stopper right there. There are a million logistical and logical obstacles to this idea (what happens if the championship game is two Big 12 teams and the title game is at the Rose Bowl?), such a brutal slog where Big 12/Pac-12 teams play 14 Power 5 opponents and the SEC champion plays 10 is a complete non-starter for every AD, coach and president who actually pays attention to college football as it’s played today. Even if the Big 12/Pac-12 champion was guaranteed one of the four golden tickets, that team would be so beaten down they’d have no actual chance to win the thing. (Counterpoint: no Big 12 or Pac-12 team has won a national title since 2005 Texas anyway.)
The Wefald Way (as I’m dubbing it here) is an interesting idea — in a pre-BCS/CFP world.
Back in the poll-and-bowl era, it would have made lots of sense for, say, the Big Ten and Pac-12 to pool their media rights, schedule as many September games as possible against the other, get the Rose Bowl on board, then sell those broadcast rights to a partner who would then clear their Saturday schedules for weekly Big Ten/Pac-12 doubleheaders. Think about it: Penn State at Michigan at 3:30 Eastern, USC at Oregon at 7… this Saturday on NBC!
But the poll-and-bowl era is dead and gone, and we’re now in the game’s Championship Era. The best teams are still crowned by a consensus of voters, and those voters have shown that minimizing your losses is the safest path to the Playoff, not maximizing your victories. Because of that, the Wefald Way, interesting as it may read on paper, was dead on arrival.