David Shaw, other Pac-12 coaches talk SEC on spring teleconference
The Pac-12 coaches weighed in on the SEC's decision to stick with an eight-game conference schedule instead of moving to a nine-game slate.
The Pac-12 held its spring coaches teleconference on Thursday afternoon, and thanks to the recent debate on conference schedules the SEC became a topic of conversation.
The SEC announced on Sunday its decision to stick with an eight game conference schedule, turning down the option to join the Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten with a nine-game conference schedule. After the Big Ten makes the jump in 2016 it will just be the SEC and ACC, who has Notre Dame as a partial member playing five ACC teams per year, left at eight.
"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. "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."
The four-team playoff guarantees at least one of the five power conferences will be left out, so expect plenty of conference-against-conference comparisons in these first few years of the College Football Playoff era.
"There's no taking away anything that LSU and Alabama and Auburn recently have accomplished," Shaw said. "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?'
"You can't color it. You can't try to explain it away. You're not doing what the rest of us are doing it. We're doing it. The Big Ten is doing it. The Big 12 is doing it. Everybody is pushing toward a nine-game conference schedule."
This is not the first time Shaw has come after the topic of the SEC's schedule. He made a point of it to CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler after the Cardinal overpowered Oregon in a 26-20 win on Nov. 7, 2013.
He really doesn't like the SEC comparison, he reminds.
There's no tougher conference schedule to navigate than the Pac-12's, Shaw says, in part because of the SEC's November "cupcake" nonconference games such as FCS opponents.
"You can write that -- cupcakes," Shaw told CBSSports.com. "It's hard from here on out in our conference."
We've included a round-up of the SEC schedule talk from a few other Pac-12 coaches from Thursday's teleconference, via ESPN.com.
UCLA's Jim Mora:
"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," UCLA coach Jim 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's Mark Helfrich:
"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."
Washington State's Mike Leach was complimentary:
"Until that is required, I think they are elevating their conference and I think they are fairly clever to do it," he said.
And Arizona's Rich Rodriguez reminds us this is all kind of crazy to be talking about:
"I think it would make it more fair," Rodriguez said. "But I'm not worried about that. Hell, I'm just trying to get a first down right now."
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