Earlier today, ESPN college football writers Ted Miller and Mark Schlabach took a look at the issue of uniform scheduling the Power 5 conferences. Or, more accurately, the lack thereof.
It's worth checking out for the rationale that shaped their opinions, but, in brief, Miller thinks it should be in place; Schlabach is fine with how things are.
Over the past two weeks, I polled nine head coaches in the Pac-12 to get a sense of where they stand on the issue. Their viewpoints wavered slightly -- and it mattered more to some than others -- but all nine agreed that uniformity is what's best for the game. Whether that means eight- or nine-game conference schedules isn't the crux of the issue. As the coaches see it, it's about creating a system in which the Power 5 teams can be most accurately measured against one another.
The following opinions best encapsulate the general view:
Sonny Dykes, Cal: "I don't see how you can have [different scheduling formats]. That would be like the NFL saying in the NFC East we'll let you play two Canadian teams. Those will count as two NFL teams and these teams over here will play a regular NFL schedule and we're going to seed you guys the same way. It doesn't make any sense. To me, it needs to be a standard formula and if the formula is eight conferences games, great, let's play eight conference games. Every league needs to play the same amount of conference games. They need to play the same amount of out of conference competition. Every league needs to have the same format for a championship game and that way when we get to the College Football Playoff, everybody has gone through the exact same test and has been measured consistently. It makes no sense from my standpoint for a team to not do that and be considered because you can't judge them the way they need to be judged. I just think whatever it is, it needs to be consistent. I don't have a preference."
Kyle Whittingham, Utah: "First of all, the nine-game schedule is dictated by TV. I'm not sure there's any flexibility there. I don't think we have any latitude with that. I, for one, would like to see the Power 5 conferences get on the same format as far as the same number of conference games, conference championship game, all that stuff, standardized. To me, that makes a lot of sense.
"I don't really have a preference for which way it goes, whether it's nine or eight, as long as it's standard. I don't think there is an advantage or disadvantage to either one if everyone is doing it. It seems to make sense how we do it."
Gary Andersen, Oregon State: "I've been in a conference that discussed nine games, but played eight games and play a crossover game with another conference. There's a lot of ways to look at it. To me, it just comes down to the conference you're in. I don't know if it's necessarily a strategically advantage for eight or nine. It really depends on who you're playing nonconference and how your season goes.
"I'd like to see them do the same thing in all the big conferences. Just make a decision and let us know what it is. If we did that, I'd be good with it, but when it's mixed it can cause issues. I'm not going to make that decision, so hopefully when they make that decision they let me know."