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Cal Football Schedule Roundtable: 8 Or 9 Pac-12 Games?

Would you prefer an eight or nine game Pac-12 schedule?

Harry How

Kodiak: Like norcalnick said in the comments, I'd prefer an 11 game Pac-12 schedule. Let's play everyone and let the best team win. It'll really make that conference title count for something. It's a calculated gamble, however. We'll be at a theoretical disadvantage to all the other conferences who load their schedule with cupcakes. But, that's really no different from how it is now. The power conferences are already gaming the system. We either sink down to their level, or go all in the other way. Going half or part way really doesn't help us. So, damn the torpedoes. Let's set a new standard. And if we shame the rest of the country into playing real ball, so be it.

LEastCoastBears: 9 game Pac-12 schedule just to keep all the conference rivalries fresher.

ragnarok: Given that the extra game will inevitably be filled with a school like Northern Illinois or Portland State instead of an Arizona or a Colorado, I'm against going back to an eight game schedule.

Berkelium97: I wouldn't mind playing Northern Illinois, although they would have wiped the floor with us the past few years. Still, I agree with what ragnarok is saying. If we drop a conference game, we're more likely than not to fill the slot with Little Sisters of the Poor or some other bottom dweller. Sonny Dykes has stated that he would rather play low-grade opponents to boost the team's winning percentage and offset the difficult conference schedule. I would much rather maintain a fuller conference schedule, Kodiak's idea is intriguing, however. It would be great to go back to the days when we had a true round robin schedule.

atomsareenough: I'd prefer an 8 game conference schedule. Now that it's no longer a round robin due to having 12 teams, what's the point of the extra game? Having nine games puts us at a disadvantage relative to other conferences, and sticking with 9 for the sake of tradition while other conferences dominate the polls is like unilateral disarmament. If every conference moved to 9 games it would be great, but that's not happening anytime soon. Besides, how many of us really care about extra games with Arizona State or Utah?

Unclesam22: If you could promise me that the extra out of conference game would be against another FBS school like Maryland or Minnesota of years past, or even Fresno State, I'd be all for the 8 game schedule. But since I think that it will be more Portland State and San Diego State instead, I'm against it. I like Kod's suggestion that we just go all in and see if we can tip the scales in the opposite direction. Playing all these cupcakes, which I feel like we've rehashed time and time again here, has little to no upside (When you're already bowl-eligible) and all kinds of downside. So I'm on board with a 9 to 11 game conference sked, not an 8.

Ohio Bear: When the 9-game conference schedule was first implemented, I liked it because of the true round robin aspect of it (when it was still the Pac-10). I thought that it made the conference unique and, since there was no conference championship game at the time, guaranteed that the Pac-10 would crown a true champion each year (i.e., without having to resort to tiebreakers for teams that did play one another in a given year).

Now that the conference has expanded to 12 and has a title game at the end, the aforementioned rationale is undercut somewhat. And I admit, I've gone back and forth in my own mind as to whether I like maintaining the 9-game schedule in the new Pac-12 (well, not so new anymore). I suppose if I lean one way, it is toward maintaining the 9-game schedule. It may not be a true round robin anymore, but it still helps maintain cohesiveness as a conference knowing you only miss two teams in the other division every year. I would also worry about the competitive aspect of reducing to 8 games, which would take away an inter-divisional conference game. Wouldn't that increase the chances of an unequal strength of schedule in a given year for teams battling for a division title?