Football smarts needed for playoffs
Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:00 pm
By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Mike Slive wants knowledgeable football people choosing who plays for the national championship.
Whatever the selection committee’s makeup, the Southeastern Conference commissioner is aiming for a process the fans will buy into when the new system takes effect in two seasons.
“We want football expertise,” Slive said on Monday. “We want integrity, and we want transparency, because this is our opportunity to make sure that not only are we comfortable but you’re (the media) comfortable and all the fans are comfortable that this process is the way it should be. It’s not going to be easy.”
Slive isn’t predicting when that final, big piece of the playoff puzzle will be put in place but is hoping it will be in the next several months.
Speaking at the Associated Press Sports Editors Southeast regional meeting across from the SEC’s downtown headquarters, Slive spoke on the playoff system and the potentially stabilized conference alignment among other issues.
The Atlantic Coast Conference last week joined the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 when its members agreed to a grant of rights handing over their television rights to the league. The legally binding deal runs through 2027 and makes conference-jumping nearly impossible. Slive and ESPN are expected to announce a new SEC Network today in Atlanta — minus the grant of rights.
“Looking at it from the outside looking in, it looks like it may create some stability,” Slive said. “And I do think that at this stage of where we are stability will be constructive so we can move ahead in some other ways.”
As for the playoffs, the commissioners decided last week that Cowboys Stadium will host the first championship game in the new postseason system. The Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A bowls joined the Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls in the semifinal rotation.
The next hurdle is settling on a committee that Slive expects to include from 14 to 20 members, plus the criteria for picking the four semifinal teams.
Slive has some experience on selection committees since he is a former chair of the panel that picks the NCAA men’s basketball tournament field.
“You’re there to represent football and what’s in the best interest of football, what’s in the best interest of the playoffs,” Slive said. “There’s a foundational culture from which we can work.”
Published in The Messenger 5.2.13