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Pac-12 coaches question 8-game SEC schedule

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 01 2014 05:58:46 PM CDT
Updated On: May 02 2014 09:25:38 AM CDT
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Pac-12 coaches were critical of the SEC on Thursday for staying with an eight-game conference schedule rather than opting to play nine games within the league.

There is a strong belief among some Pac-12 coaches that the SEC schedule will adversely affect the College Football Playoff selection process.

"I've been saying this for three years now: I think if we're going to go into a playoff and feed into one playoff system, we all need to play by the same rules," Stanford coach David Shaw said during the Pac-12 coaches' spring teleconference. "Play your conference. Don't back down from playing your own conference. It's one thing to back down from playing somebody else. But don't back down from playing your own conference.

"There's no taking away anything that LSU and Alabama and Auburn recently have accomplished. They've been phenomenal. My take is to say, 'OK, the rest of us are playing our conference. We're playing nine out of 12 teams in our conference. Why can't you do the same thing?'

The SEC approved an eight-game conference schedule last week. The Big Ten will add a ninth conference game in 2016. The Pac-12 and Big 12 already play nine league games.

UCLA coach Jim Mora agreed with Shaw.

"I would like to see everybody operate under the same set of rules or restrictions or regulations or whatever word you want to throw in there," Mora said. "I think the Pac-12 is an incredibly competitive conference. I look at the teams that make up this conference and I think anybody can beat anybody on any given week. I think the same can be said for the SEC. And yet we play nine games against each other. I like that.

"I think we like that as a conference and I think we take pride in that because we're interested in competing against the best week in and week out. We try not to schedule too many patsies."

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said, "If we're going to call anything equal and everybody pointing in the same direction as far as a playoff, it seems like the qualification for that playoff should be equal. We're a long way from that with a few leagues. We can't do anything about that ...

"I'm not surprised. They do that for a reason. There are a couple of leagues that are in the minority. That's definitely to their advantage. I don't think that part of it was surprising."