Bernie Did It First

UF President Bernie Machen inspires many different feelings. As a student, I never understood his campaign against alcohol when there were other more pressing safety issues he could control (night lighting, bike and pedestrian safety). He's paid extremely well despite UF facing a huge budget deficit before Summer semester and he isn't Mr. Personality. He looks like The Grinch too.

That all said, he is hell bent on making UF a top-10 university and he knows the school needs to move into the future, focusing on medicine and technology. (Often at the expense of UF's old standbys; agriculture and liberal arts.) It's hard to hate the guy who lured Urban Meyer to Gainesville after they were together in Utah. Adding to his vision of the future, it was Bernie not UGA President Michael Adams, who first proposed a playoff to the SEC presidents.

Machen made a proposal in Destin last June to the SEC presidents to consider moving forward with a playoff idea. One of the presidents who blew off the idea?

Michael Adams.

"Michael and (former Vanderbilt chancellor) Gordon Gee really were the ones who got on me," Machen said Thursday. "Maybe he got religion."

Not only did Bernie have the idea, but Adams blew him off? And now Adams wants a playoff? To Adams credit, he didn't come up with this plan at 12:01 on January 8th.

"He's deadly serious," Machen said. "He called me after the bowl selections. He wanted to do it then. I told him it would be best to wait awhile. He didn't wait long enough. To come out with that on a day that belonged to LSU was unfortunate."

(By the way, the whirlwind created by the Sugar Bowl and Adams' proposal has Bulldogs snapping at anything that moves. They even took a shot at me. This season has completely taken the goodwill I had towards Athens out of me.)

Machen goes on to say that he doesn't think Adams will inspire any change. The NCAA does not want to get involved and Adams' 8-team plan will not get support from three camps; no playoff, 4-team supporters, and 16-team supporters. Machen does think a Plus-One could work, but that brings up another issue; who's team two? USC or UGA? What about West Virginia or Mizzou or Kansas? The easy way is to have a Final Four, which is easier to fathom if you ignore the outings by Va Tech and Oklahoma (teams 3 & 4) this season. In a four team system, the voting would change, just like every one threw LSU to 2 after the SEC title. Maybe Va Tech (who played LSU this season) is replaced by UGA or USC.

I do believe that the money needs to be huge for presidents to accept the idea. The thing that sucks is that if the NCAA stays out, then the football conferences have to negotiate with the bowls. The whole point of a playoff system is to keep bowls out of this. (The Orange Bowl goes from The Orange Bowl to National Semifinal One.)

As much as I want to see some soft of finality, I've moved on from hoping the college presidents will change the system. Colleges increasingly bend to the will of corporations. They want donations and grants to pay for bonuses and new professors. That means huge corporations like ESPN, CBS, and Fox are going to have to step up and propose a system.

Just remember when you're watching USF and Georgia Tech in the 2012 College Football Finals (after beating USC and Florida) that a Gator first proposed it. Actually, if those two teams ever play for a national championship, maybe we shouldn't have a playoff.

And let's make this the last time we discuss a playoff. SEC basketball is here and national signing day and baseball are coming up.

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