Pac-12’s Chance Of Missing College Football Playoff Is Real

    The Pac-12's chance of missing the College Football Playoff is very real. Both Stanford and Utah need outside help to make the final four.

    November 7, 2015

    On Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff selection committee revealed its first rankings of the 2015 season.

    There were some real surprises, including Alabama in the top four and one-loss Notre Dame ranked fifth, both ahead of several undefeated teams — to name a couple.

    One thing that was not surprising was the Pac-12’s absence from the committee’s initial top 10, making it the only Power 5 conference left out.

    This doesn’t mean the conference is the worst of the Power 5. No, not by a long shot.

    The problem? The Pac-12 hasn’t had a breakaway team establish itself. The conference’s two best teams — Stanford and Utah — came in at 11 and 12, respectively. The standings of both teams shouldn’t catch anyone off guard, as they have each suffered head-scratching losses that have really hurt their case for a higher ranking. Stanford lost its season-opener to Northwestern, scoring just 6 points. Utah lost in a blowout to USC, who was just 3-3 at the time.

    Before the season began, Oregon and USC — two teams now long gone from the Top 25 — cracked most top ten preseason polls. But with USC’s coaching fiasco and Oregon struggling to fill Marcus Mariota’s shoes, the Pac-12’s two most recent powerhouses failed to give the conference a candidate for national supremacy.

    Some of the fault for this lies with how Stanford and Utah lost. But regardless of what led up to the rankings, each team has to play the hand the committee dealt them. And for Stanford and Utah, it’s a tough hand.

    Neither team is likely to be in a position to control its fate for the playoff, regardless of how well they play the rest of the year. Stanford and Utah are at the mercy of the performance of the teams ahead of them.

    Florida has a much stronger case than either team with its one loss coming to No. 2 LSU on the road by a touchdown.

    One slot above Florida is Iowa. The Hawkeyes have a very manageable schedule the rest of the way, and could navigate to the Big Ten Championship Game unbeaten.

    While a few current top ten teams are guaranteed to lose, with both TCU-Baylor and Ohio State-Michigan State slated to face off in the next month, it shouldn’t have much of an impact on the Pac-12’s top two teams. Regardless of who loses, their loss will be more impressive than Stanford or Utah’s.

    Bearing this all in mind, there’s a real chance the conference will be on the outside looking in come December 6 when the committee announces the final four.

    MORE: Pac-12 Football Picks For Week 10

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