2017 has been the year of the scheduling sorrows.
Ask any Pac-12 fan and they’ll tell you the same thing: The conference’s night games are costing its best teams national exposure, and in the age of the College Football Playoff, that means a lot. Well, it did, until the conference’s best offering lost last weekend, all but ending the Pac-12’s chances of sending a team to the playoff.
That’s not where the scheduling gripes end, though. USC — a team ravaged by injuries early and throughout the season — didn’t get a bye week this season, an oddity in its scheduling. Luckily for the Trojans, they’ve secured a bye week by locking up the Pac-12 South and a bid in the conference’s championship game.
Now that it’s secured, it’s good enough for coach Clay Helton.
“We could’ve used a bye about halfway through the season, probably right after Washington State with the injuries we had,” Helton said, via the Los Angeles Times’ Zach Helfand. “But like I said earlier in the year and in the beginning, I’m a glass half-full guy. And I said that if we got our job done, then our bye would come after the 12th game, and with good fortune we’ve been able to do our job, and now we get it.”
But what about those unusual contests that have felled many of the conference’s top teams? Those ones on — gulp — Friday night?
Should the Pac-12 consider removing them, seeing as USC, Washington State and Washington (the conference’s three best candidates for the CFP) all suffered defeats on those nights?
“That’s somebody else’s job. That’s not mine,” he said. “A lot smarter men than me make those decisions.”
Got it. Moral of the story: When you aren’t given one, earn your bye week. Or something like that.