SEC says no thanks to Playoff

DESTIN, FL – It's official: a playoff in Division I-A college football is dead.

"A playoff is not in the cards," Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive said Friday.

The 12 presidents of the Southeastern Conference discussed exploring a playoff here on the final day of the league's annual meetings, but ended a morning meeting in agreement that the Bowl Championship Series is here to stay. Florida president Bernie Machen entered the discussion hoping to convince his colleagues that a playoff was the best bet for college football. He left defeated but not very upset to be so.

"My colleagues are persuaded, and I am now persuaded, that the best way to proceed is to try to work within the BCS structure to try and make some changes to make it better," Machen said. "That seems to me to be a very good way to go."

The Big 12, Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences also have no interest in a playoff, according to Slive and South Carolina president Andrew Sorenson, the current president of the SEC. The SEC presidents will spend the three years between now and the end of the current BCS television contract in 2010 trying to determine how to make the system better No changes will be made prior to 2010, Slive said.

"There is not one person of the 12 of us who sits around the table and says, ‘Hey, it ain't broke, don't fix it. The BCS is just perfect. I can't imagine a better scenario,'" Sorenson said.

The options for tweaking the BCS include making more than the top two teams in the final rankings eligible for the national title, Slive said, meaning a model could be adopted that would match the top two teams in the country after the current bowl games.

There is very little incentive for the SEC to switch to a playoff considering how well the current system is working for its bank account. The league's teams split a record $122 million on Friday.

The organizers of the BCS met with a consultant before the system was renegotiated most recently to determine how much money could be made from a playoff, but money is not the overriding factor in the debate, Slive said.

"I don't think it has ever been a question of money," he said. "If it were a question of money, we would have had a different format a long time ago."

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