Daily Archives: May 24, 2007

Bernie, Bernie, Bernie…

Bernie Machen is about to take his traveling playoff medicine show to the SEC presidents’ meeting in Destin.

I’ve got to say that he has an interesting sales pitch for his peers.

Machen also sees a playoff bringing a more equitable split of postseason revenue, which last season total­ed almost $218 million. Of that, 86 percent pocketed by schools in six conferences — Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pacific-10 and SEC — and Notre Dame.

Less money for the conference. Sure, that ought to work.

Of course, Bernie would like everyone to believe the pie will expand so much with a playoff that the SEC won’t notice it’s getting a lesser share.

“The big (unknown) is: ‘Is there a lot of money that’s not on the table?’ ” he said. “It could be sizable. More than $100 million more than is on the table now.”

The technical term for such an argument is bullshit. He has no idea if there’s anything like that kind of money sitting out there.

And he’s got other issues to worry about. Or, at least, others are already worried about:

How Machen’s pitch will be re­ceived is uncertain, says 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.”

“The logistics are difficult.” In simple English: “we ain’t playing a 17-game season, we ain’t giving up a championship game that generates millions in revenue for the conference and we ain’t taking a smaller share of the post-season bucks to help out the Mountain West Conference. Other than that, we’d be happy to listen to your proposals. Oh yeah, don’t piss off the bowls, either.”

Unfortunately, I still believe that much of that is negotiable, especially over time. Just check out the quote at the end of the article from the ACC Commissioner:

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 rather than the more extreme playoff model.”

In the short run, they’ll blow Machen off. Over time, though, I still feel a playoff is in college football’s future, for better or worse. Given the players involved in the decision making, it’s likely to be the latter.

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UPDATE: Big 12 to Bernie: Drop dead.

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