Pac Tracks: Tying up loose ends, lost causes and Monster Truck races

The Pac 12 woke up Monday as close, in terms of the playoff, to the American Athletic Conference as the Southeastern.


They almost had to rename the five major leagues the Power 4 1\2.

USC finished No. 8 in the final College Football Playoff ranking, four spots removed from the playoff and four spots removed from Central Florida, the AAC champion.

The news, though, wasn’t all Debbie Duck Downer unless Willie Taggart is coaching Florida State by the time you are reading this.

Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott, in a powerful rebuke that reminded some of Khrushchev slamming down his shoe at the United Nations, vowed he would work day and night to make sure no Pac 12 game would ever again get knocked to the Fox Business channel because of a Monster Truck Show.

“I was very, very disappointed in what happened and raised it with the president of FOX,” Scott said before Friday’s Pac 12 title game at Levi’s Stadium. “I don’t think a Pac 12 football game should ever be delayed for a truck race.”

Scott, on Friday, was adamant that his league would get a fair shake by the selection committee.

What he got was hit and miss. The new system, this year, officially became the BCS again with this difference: instead of debating whether the SEC deserved two teams in a two-team playoff, like we did in 2011, we are debating whether it deserved two teams in a four-team playoff.

Conclusion: it DID!

Scott insisted two-loss USC was in the mix for a final playoff spot.

“They’re in the discussion that matters,” Scott said, referring to the committee.

Turns out USC was not even in the three-loss mix. Auburn (9-3) finished No. 7, one spot ahead of USC.

"No More Monster Truck Races!!!!!"

But enough of that—how about the good news?

Larry’s League got nine of its 12 teams into bowl games, which is very SEC-esque.

The Pac advanced USC and Washington to New Year’s Six bowls, a rare double-dip made so common by the Big Ten and SEC (which, of course, each got three schools in).

Washington’s entry, against Penn State in the Fiesta, is a big deal. It means $8 million to a league that can divide it 12 ways.

This game was originally slotted for the Cotton until Ohio State got bounced out of the playoff it was never in.

USC vs. Ohio State in the Fiesta got moved to the Cotton for one simple season. Ohio State fans are tired of going to the Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes have been there the last two seasons and six times since 2003. It got so bad that the marching band, one year, thought about dotting the (i) with a Tostitos and calling it “Chip Ohio.”

Here are my thoughts on the rest of the Pac 12 bowl lineup:[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

--Alamo: Stanford vs. TCU.

Can’t wait to see Bryce Love, on a rested ankle, against Gary Patterson’s defense.

--Holiday: Washington State vs. Michigan State.

Prediction: If he’s not the head coach at Arkansas by then, Mike Leach’s game-week tweets will be funnier than Mark Dantonio’s.

--Foster Farms: Arizona vs. Purdue.

Lucky chickens: Arizona QB Khalil Tate, from here, could mount his 2018 Heisman game.

--Sun: Arizona State vs. North Carolina State

Arizona State's press release on the hiring of Herm Edwards has to be read to be believed so here is a link to it.

There is little to add to this remarkable piece of other-worldly disillusion. Tennessee football is sending a team to Tempe to see if the Vols can pick up any pointers to further their legendary dysfunction.

--Las Vegas: Oregon vs. Boise State

I’ve got two names for the Ducks if Willie Taggart bolts for Florida State the Ducks: Lane Kiffin (ok ok). Jeff Tedford?

--Cactus: UCLA vs. Kansas State

Tough to see the careers of Josh Rosen and Bill Snyder (maybe?) end like this.

--Heart of Dallas: Utah vs. West Virginia

Good for Utah, but my heart’s not in it.[/membership]