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Larry Scott: The Pac-12’s deadbeat dad

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Thank heavens he’ll be out of our lives soon!

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Southern California vs Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, and Happy Father’s Day to all you dads - both old and new - out there. I went above and beyond for my old man this year, as I bought a bunch of beer and arranged to have it delivered to his house. The caveat is that he just gets to look at it until I show up in August and drink every last one of the beers I ordered. What a magnificent son I am. I’ve always held the belief that dads are like kid names. There are no “good” fathers. There are fathers, and there are bad fathers. It’s like Chris Rock said (I’m paraphrasing) when guys brag about taking care of their kids, “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO!”

Anyway, speaking of bad fathers, Pac-12 biological dad Larry Scott was at it again this week. First, the four-man CFP Working Group (Bob Bowlsby, Jack Swarbrick, Craig Thompson and Greg Sankey) presented their 12-team CFP recommendation to the College Football Playoff management committee (11 conference commissioners plus a Notre Dame rep). At the conclusion of those proceedings, Scott issued a statement on behalf of the conference. You’ll see that further down, but first, let’s take a look at Scott’s comments from fewer than two years ago.

Here’s a portion of what Scott told the San Jose Mercury News in 2019:

“The first thing I’d say,” Scott said, “is that we have to do better in football. We have to have elite teams break through.”

“People are laser focused on getting better at football because we’re not satisfied with where we’re at. And if we are (focused), I think the rest kind of takes care of itself, whatever system you’re in.

“I don’t care if it’s four teams, six teams, eight teams or 12 teams, if we’re not elite and winning regularly, I don’t think that really changes fundamentally the overall, because we’ll be compared to our peers, and we need to do better compared to our peers.”

“We’ve taken some hits by not being in it, but if I take a step back as a steward of college football and the College Football Playoff, I think it’s helped elevate the popularity and interest (of the game). It’s been a positive.

“But what’s more important than the format, is that we just have to get better.”

Fast forward to this week, when Larry’s tune changed from “we need to earn it” to “let us in because reasons.”

So two years ago, Champagne Larry was focused on the conference’s programs raising their level of play, in order to meet the standard. Now that the CFP is TRIPLING the number of teams, Larry wants a free pass. Which makes sense, seeing as how Larry has always sought out comps, be it Vegas hotel suites or interest-free loans.

And of course resident Pac-12 stooge Jon Wilner agrees with this.

Dan Wetzel (who co-hosts the best college sports podcast anywhere and is actually a credible journalist) naturally has the much more intelligent take than our friend Jon.

Dan wasn’t done.

Look, Larry, I know you shot for the moon when you assumed the dad role for the Pac-12. You tried to lure superstar sons like Texas and Oklahoma into your brood, but instead had to settle for glue-eating also-ran Utah. You failed, and you continued to fail upward for the better part of a decade, raking in millions of dollars while presiding over a dumpster fire of a network and cutting staff during a pandemic. The least you could’ve done was exit quietly and avoid bringing more embarrassment to a once-proud conference. But no.

Like many other fans of a team in the Pac-12, I am counting the days until biological dad Larry is out of the picture, and newly-adopted, Vegas-hanging, casino-running stepdad steps into the void. 11 days to go. I’m not naive enough to think that Kliavkoff had nothing to do with the Pac-12’s statement asking for a free pass, but I am hopeful that his stance moves once he sits in the commissioner’s seat. The last thing this conference needs is more mockery, and that’s what statements like the one above invite.

Then again, maybe this seems overly harsh. In fairness to Larry, let’s list all of the other conference commissioners who are pushing for the same thing:

College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff: Inside the making of 12 team expansion - Sports Illustrated
If Bowlsby’s notes could talk, they’d tell you that the working group of three commissioners—Bowlsby, Greg Sankey (SEC) and Craig Thompson (Mountain West)—and one athletic director, Jack Swarbrick (Notre Dame), examined nearly 100 playoff models, one of which even included a 24-team bracket.

College Football Playoff's revamped 12-team format has one big problem
First-round games, featuring teams seeded 5-12, will be played on the campus of the higher-seeded team. Awesome. After that though, it’s neutral-site bowl games — increasing the bowl involvement from its current three games to seven. If you finish 1-4, you don’t get to host.

Recruiting

Keep on lying to yourself that stars don’t matter.

Blue-Chip Ratio 2021: The 16 teams who can win a national title
Put simply, to win the national championship, college football teams need to sign more four- and five-star recruits (AKA “Blue Chips”) than two- and three-star players over the previous four recruiting classes.

This Week in Parenting

This week clinched the nine year-old’s status as the lone family member on non-vaccinated island, as the 12-year got his second dose of 2020’s scientific miracle. Shortly afterward, mom took the boys to the pool for an afternoon of swimming in the (finally) sunny weather. Said pool contained a high dive, which they wore the heck out. In a surprise to nobody, all that activity after the second shot took a toll on the oldest, as he was down for the count the next day. All is well now, though, and hopefully the youngest gets his crack at the needle soon.

They also told me they’d be cleaning up the house this week, and results were predictably mixed, to put it kindly. The 12 year-old is fine with cleaning up, so long as it involves organizing his Lego and little else. The nine year-old also loves to (watch everyone else) clean up while he wastes time doing as little as he can. Mom reported that he finally committed to cleaning his art desk, while singing as loudly as possible in order to annoy older brother. Some things never change.

Finally, the boys were locked in on Father’s Day, like they are with everything else that doesn’t involve Disney+ or food.

At least he was honest.

Non-Sports

Clarion Ledger reporter Lee Sanderlin spent 15 hours in a Waffle House
I’m going to do my fair share of moaning here. Mainly about how cold it was in the Waffle House, how cold waffles feel like you’re chewing on wet cement, how badly my gastrointestinal tract was screaming to me for help.

Inside Amazon's Employment Machine - The New York Times
Amid the pandemic, Amazon’s system burned through workers, resulted in inadvertent firings and stalled benefits, and impeded communication, casting a shadow over a business success story for the ages.

The terrific triviality of Twitter - Noahpinion
Twitter strikes fear into the heart of millions. But how much real power does it have?