Could Pac-12 make a College Football Playoff push?

College Football Analyst for FOX Sports Joel Klatt believes a few Pac-12 teams have a real shot at making a run at a CFP bid this season. The conference has been closed since 2016.

That could change this year, as five Pac-12 programs have been included in this week’s initial rankings. Four of them landed in the top 14: one-loss Oregon (No. 8), USC (No. 9) and UCLA (No. 10), and two-loss Utah (No. 12).

“My initial thought about this conference was [that] they don’t get any respect,” Klatt said on a recent episode of “The Joel Klatt Show.” “But then, I just kept looking at it, and there’s a stealth path to the Pac-12. …

“It’s going to take some help, but right now there’s a pretty clear path for the Pac-12. They’ve got to avoid what inevitably happens in this conference, which is they beat each other up.”

The CFP remains under a four-team model, moving to 12 teams as soon as the 2024 season. For now, teams are still competing for those four coveted spots.

“Oregon at No. 8 – [the committee] respects them USC at No. 9 – Highly respected. I would have UCLA higher, but I get it. At [No.] 12, that’s not bad here. The only thing I thought they didn’t respect, if you will, is Utah, particularly with LSU ranking.

“Yes [Oregon] if they win, you can see a scenario where they’d go to the College Football Playoff,” Klatt continued. “In that scenario, they better hope Georgia wins, too, but then USC is sitting there. If they win out, they could make a very strong case to go to the College Football Playoff, particularly if TCU were to lose… [or] if Alabama lost another game.”

The SEC leads the way with 10 appearances and 14 total wins and the CFP, followed by the ACC with eight appearances and six total wins. The Big Ten (six appearances) and Big 12 (four appearances) are ahead of the Pac-12, which has made just two appearances in CFP history and has yet to win it all.

The only time a Pac-12 team reached the championship game was the inaugural year of the CFP following the 2014 season, when the Ducks lost to the Buckeyes 42-20.

Could things be shaken up this time?

“I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m not saying they control their own destiny,” Klatt said of the Pac-12. “But … there’s a good case for the Pac-12 going to this playoff.”

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