SEC meeting notebook: League expected to soldifiy stance on playoff preference

DESTIN, Fla. — The Southeastern Conference is expected to hammer out details of its position on the structure of the college football playoff it will support when the league’s spring meetings wrap up today.

Florida president Bernie Machen made clear Thursday that while there may be compromises to get a new four-team postseason structure in place for the 2014 season, he insisted the SEC won’t back down on wanting the best four teams.

“We won’t compromise on that,” said Machen, head of the SEC executive committee. “I think the public wants the top four. I think almost, almost everybody wants the top four.”

The SEC and Big 12 are on the same page wanting the four best teams. The Big Ten and Pac-12 want conference champions to get a seat at the table. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has again even brought up a plus-one format — choosing two teams to play for the national title after the bowls.

The SEC presidents and chancellors met on Thursday afternoon but didn’t discuss the playoffs. That will come this morning.

“I’d be amazed if it wasn’t a four-team playoffs, a semifinal in the bowl system and the final championship game bid out separately,” Machen told reporters before the presidents met at the Sandestin Hilton.

“He may have polled the delegation more than I have if he’s saying that,” Georgia president Michael Adams said afterwards. “We haven’t had that discussion yet. I expect that discussion (today).”

Machen is one of 12 presidents on a BCS oversight committee that will meet in Washington on June 26 after two commissioners meetings earlier in the month.

He doesn’t expect that meeting will resolve how teams are selected for a playoff but that a “basic structure” for the postseason will be known.

The SEC supports picking the best four teams, regardless of conference.

“I think everybody else is going to have to come to us on that,” he said.

The presidents also today are expected to vote on the football schedule for 2013 and beyond for 14 teams.

The 6-1-1 model — six games against division opponents, one permanent cross-division game and one rotating game — would keep the Georgia-Auburn rivalry playing on an annual basis. That model was the “leader in the clubhouse,” commissioner Mike Slive said even after there was no consensus among football coaches.

“I don’t see any groundswell for change right now,” Adams said.

Said Machen: “You could draw up other scenarios, but I’d say for right now that (6-1-1) works fine.”

Champions Bowl sparks interest

The recently announced bowl game pitting the SEC and Big 12 champions — or another team from the conferences if the champion is in the proposed playoffs — has attracted “overwhelming” interest from cities wanting to host the game, Slive said.

Joked Florida coach Will Muschamp: “I think Jacksonville would be a wonderful area.”

Slive said the final decision on where the game will be played will be made after the BCS plays out.

“Yeah … New Orleans,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “I think it’s the best place in the country.”

Machen said the bowl could be in the BCS model or it could be outside the BCS model.

Bowls are jockeying for position in the new bowl structure

“Is that why there is a higher number of bowl reps here than at any time I’ve been here?” Machen said. “They are interested in what it’s going to be. … And I would be, too. It looks like there are going to be tiers: the ones in the playoff and everybody else.”

SEC sees slowing revenue growth

The SEC will announce another record revenue-distribution from the past fiscal year, which Adams said is about six percent over last year, when the figure was $220 million.

Adams said the growth has slowed some.

“Part of that is the economy, part of it is that the media deals are in place and paying at a rate of increase, but not a double-digit rate of increase,” Adams said. “Until and unless there’s a different kind of revenue stream, we’re looking at more limited growth in the next few years than what we now have.”

$100K donation to Summitt fund made

Legendary former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, arrived here Thursday as the league announced the SEC and its member schools will donate $100,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund to aid in its fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Summitt, who has early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, is now the Lady Vols’ head coach emeritus. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House this week,

This and that

Former Georgia receiver Hines Ward was hired by NBC on Thursday. Ward said last month that he met with NBC, CBS and ESPN about a broadcast role. Ward, the former Super Bowl MVP with the Steelers, spent time this spring shadowing offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to gauge his own interest in coaching. Ward will work on the Sunday night broadcast team, on a college football studio show and will appear on the NBC Sports Network. … Georgia swim coach Jack Bauerle was on hand as former Georgia swimmer Wendy Trott was recognized for winning the H. Boyd McWhorter female scholar-athlete of the year award at a Thursday night banquet. “We’ve had six all together out of our one program,” Bauerle said. The last time was in 2001 for Kim Black, he said. “They’ve added a few hotels,” he said of Sandestin.

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