Larry Scott: Pac-12, Oregon Soaring

Larry Scott Featured Photo

The 2014 Pac-12 Championship game was and will be the only major conference championship that featured two top 10 teams. After a slow start for the Ducks at Levi’s Stadium, the title bout eventually turned into a rout of Arizona, 51-13. The No. 2 team in the nation shined last night, all but securing a spot in the first College Football Playoff.

Larry Scott

From video

Larry Scott

As Oregon moves into the national spotlight, the Pac-12 conference overall has impressed members of the Playoff Selection Committee and fans alike, going 10-3 against teams in the Big 5 conferences this year, including monster wins over Michigan State and Notre Dame. Six Pac-12 teams were in the top 25 for a large part of the season and eight have now become bowl eligible.

This marks the first year of the College Football Playoff, a response to the decades-old and often frustrating BCS system. Yesterday, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott spoke to the media before the game about the new playoff system.

“We had real issues, not just our conference, but others too with the old system and the coaches’ poll as an example. The media poll as well…,” Scott said.

For Scott, the idea behind a playoff committee was to distinguish itself from the BCS by incorporating human subjectivity into the decision-making process. The committee members aren’t simply looking at just the wins and losses, but how teams win or lose, closely examining players, injuries, strength, control and resiliency.

2014 Oregon Ducks are your Pac-12 Champs!

Kevin Cline

2014 Oregon Ducks are your Pac-12 Champs!

As far as the committee is concerned, the Pac-12 has been held in relatively high esteem, considering that one of the Big 5 conference champions will not make it to the playoffs by virtue of design. “We went into it expecting it to be controversial, expecting at least one conference to be on the outside looking in,” Scott said. Rather, the respect for the Pac-12 continues to grow and this year the Pac-12 Championship game held national implications as a de facto quarterfinal game.

Oregon submitted a strong case for the playoffs, defeating four top 25 teams in the regular season. The Ducks went on to cement their status as the cream of the conference by avenging their sole loss against Arizona last night in the Pac-12 Championship game. Scott agrees and believes that the long-term success of the Pac-12 will depend on its continuing ability to win big games and schools being encouraged to develop a more rigorous non-conference schedule.

“Keep in mind the strength of schedule is something that’s been emphasized heavily to the committee and by the committee this year. We’re the only conference that’s got nine conference games plus the championship game. That fact sometimes has been controversial in our conference,” Scott said,

Scott has worked in lockstep with commissioners from nine FBS conferences and the Notre Dame athletic director to select the committee members and create guidelines that represent the common goals of FBS teams as well as the means of achieving those goals.

The Pac-12 Championship banner hangs from Levis Stadium

Craig Strobeck

The Pac-12 Championship banner hangs from Levis Stadium

“The commissioners have been really clear with the committee that we want to value strength of schedule, want to value being a conference champion, want to value head-to-head as determining factors with winning your conference championship being the most important,” Scott said.

The reason for Oregon’s success has been their understanding of what is expected of them and their ability to deliver the goods on demand. By taking care of business and doing it the right way, both the Pac-12 and the Oregon Ducks have never been more popular, both with winning reputations and philosophies centered around elite competition.

Top photo from video

Larry Scott interview quotes provided courtesy of the Pac-12

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Jordan Ingram

Jordan Ingram

My name is Jordan Ingram and I am currently a student at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism. I am a proud Oregonian with an insatiable thirst for Oregon athletics. I am in hot pursuit of my dream career as beat writer for anything that goes “Quack.” Follow me on Twitter : @jpingram3

  • MarcTheDuck

    Couple of thoughts…

    I really like Larry Scott as Pac12 commissioner. For years we had weak leadership at the conference level. I’d just like to throw out a kudo to Larry Scott for the work he has done in leading and representing the conference.

    Also… after years of Notre Dame getting special treatment, I think it’s time to put them on equal footing with all the other teams. I realize there is a large (TV) following for them and that separates them from a lot of other programs. But they have ended up getting unequal (preferential) treatment in a number of ways and they have never failed to exploit that. In my opinion, no more special treatment for them at the conference leadership table (they can, of course, work whatever TV deals they want). If they want representation, join a conference. Otherwise just accept what you get. It makes no sense that they had a preferential deal back with the old BCS framework and it makes no sense that the CFP committee works with the “…nine FBS commissioners and the Notre Dame AD”. I mean why not work with the nine FBS commissioners and the Oregon AD? What’s the basis of one school getting more say so or an easier route to the playoffs than any other school in the country. Join a conference. They are perennially overrated, get into a bowl that is better than they deserve and then get their fannies kicked. Like back with Oregon State did it to them when they played in the Fiesta Bowl last decade. End of rant… but it needs to be End of Special Treatment for any one school.

    • hokieduck

      Notre dame is in the ACC for football only beginning next year.

      IMO the answer to several problems with the “system” would be for the Big 12 to invite Boise State (who has earned an invite to the Power5 Party) and Colorado State (which would be the closest regionally). Then they could have a Championship Game. All conferences should also play the same number of conference games, not like the SEC which, in effect, gets an extra late season bye week by ;paying a fourth OOC cupcake.