SEC leaders discuss playoff, scheduling formats
The Kansas City Star
On Thursday, the next-to-last day of the Southeastern Conference’s spring meetings, Florida president Bernie Machen stood in a lobby of the Sandestin Hilton, offering up hope that college football fans will get the playoff they’ve been wanting for years.
“What we really hope is that by the end of the summer, we will resolve the playoffs, how it’s going to be structured and how it unfolds,” said Machen, the chairman of the SEC’s presidents and chancellors committee.
But getting there, it seems, won’t necessarily be easy. Conferences leaders have announced their desire to agree on some sort of playoff format by the end of the month, and to do so, Machen predicted some compromise will be necessary.
“If you get everyone else saying we’ll do this and everyone else saying we’re not going to do this,” Machen said, “then I don’t know what the next step is.”
But when it comes to the method of choosing said teams to make the playoff – the SEC prefers choosing the top four while other conferences prefer other models, including picking conference champions only and a plus-1 — well, let’s just say his tone was vastly different.
“We won’t compromise on that,” Machen said.
Machen’s stance offers a hint at some of the news that should come out of the final day of the spring meetings today. The presidents of the schools are expected to come to a unified stance on several topics, including its preferred postseason format and football and basketball conference scheduling format.
While the basketball format seems set — reports leaked out Wednesday that league officials had come to an agreement on that — some football coaches have asked the league’s athletic directors and presidents to reconsider the 6-1-1 format. That plan entered the week “as the leader in the clubhouse,” according to commissioner Mike Slive, and called for six games against division opponents and one each against a permanent rival and rotating opponent.
However, with some coaches calling for the abolition of permanent rivals — most notably Les Miles of LSU — a number of potential solutions have been thrown out, including shifting from an eight-game conference schedule to a nine-game schedule, or some sort of format that would allow some of the most longstanding rivalries between teams in separate divisions to remain, while other schools get two rotating opponents.
And after Thursday’s meetings, at least one president, South Carolina’s Harris Pastides, indicated that the issue remains somewhat up in the air, though he entered the week as a proponent of the 6-1-1 format.
“That was my original preference, to have more SEC teams from the western division come into Columbia once in a while,” Pastides said. “But I’m not really sure where the presidents are on that.”
Deaton misses meeting
Missouri spokesman Chad Moller said school chancellor Brady Deaton was forced to miss Thursday’s meeting between SEC presidents to a campus-related matter back in Columbia.
Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said that SEC officials, including Machen, were notified of his absence and that the matter is not related to athletics.
Pinkel talks Big 12
When Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was asked Tuesday how much the move to the SEC helped the Tigers secure the commitment of five-star receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, he downplayed the move somewhat.
“A little bit,” Pinkel said.
However, Pinkel did say the move had a bigger effect on other players in the Class of 2012, most of whom had already committed to play for the Tigers under the belief they were playing the Big 12.
“It was more the players that had been committed, (who were) going to go play in the Big 12 and now all of a sudden, we’re switching leagues,” Pinkel said. “When would that ever happen to anybody in their career?”
A beat passed, and Pinkel just couldn’t help himself.
“For the Big 12, it happens about every other year,” Pinkel said, eliciting a heap of laughs from the media contingent.