Friday, May 25, 2007


$eeing the po$$ible fi$cal $ucce$$ of a po$t$ea$on playoff, the $EC i$ $et to di$cu$$ the po$$ibility, thank$ to the e$teemed pre$ident of the Univer$ity of Florida, Bernie Machen.

"The big (unknown) is: 'Is there a lot of money that's not on the table?' " he says. "It could be sizable. More than $100 million more than is on the table now."
It's one plank in an argument he'll make to presidents of the 11 other schools in the Southeastern Conference next Friday during meetings in Destin, Fla. Machen also sees a playoff bringing a more equitable split of postseason revenue, which last season totaled almost $218 million — 86% pocketed by schools in six conferences — Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pacific-10 and SEC — and Notre Dame. ...
How Machen's pitch will be received is uncertain, says (USC President Andrew) Sorenson, who himself is skeptical: "We've got the 12-game (regular) season. We've got the (32) bowls with the communities that sponsor them feeling passionate about maintaining them. And then we have in many conferences, including ours, a game to determine a conference champion. That's 14 games before you start a playoff, and that's a long season.
"You couldn't possibly add a national championship that wouldn't take at least three rounds. So now you're talking about a 17-game season that's interrupted by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. … The logistics are difficult."
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany already has made his conference's position clear, telling Machen by letter that it's not interested in discussing a playoff.

R schulz r smarter cuz of Hookd on Fonix. Sew no plae-offs fur us.

The Big 12 will broach the issue during meetings, and Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford discussed it with officials in his league last week.
"My sense," Swofford says, "is that if it were to change, it would be more toward a plus-one model (having the two highest-rated winners of the BCS' Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls move on to a national championship game) rather than the more extreme playoff model."

This, it seems to C&F, is the most noxious argument playoff advocates make. It's defensible to argue that a playoff is fairer -- though C&F will argue the point with you. It's defensible to say a playoff would make the championship more about merit and less about computers and opinion -- though C&F will argue that point with you.

But to say that a sport that is already over-professionalized and money-driven, despite the fact that the main cogs in the engine -- players -- are not compensated and the sport is purportedly amateur, isn't a respectable argument. (Not to say that the current system isn't awash and/or based on money. Arguing for more money-making, though, is to say we should further skew the sport in that direction.)

That said, Sorenson's argument doesn't add up, either. C&F can't possibly imagine a team would play a bowl and be in the playoffs; that just doesn't make sense. It would be like playing in the NIT and the NCAA tournament.

Not that he would mind.

C&F has previously said that a "plus-one" model wouldn't cause him too much heartburn, though he would prefer a 1-4, 2-3 format for two of the BCS bowls followed by a championship game if we're going to go ahead and do something approaching a playoff.

But the argument should be about the spirit of competition and how best to crown a champion. Not money.

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