'Dawgs' Adams gets Machen's point


Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

You wouldn't be able to blame University of Florida President Bernie Machen for chuckling when Georgia President Michael Adams came out with his proposal for an eight-team college football playoff the day after the season ended.

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University of Florida President Bernie Machen (left) and Georgia President Michael Adams.

The Gainesville Sun

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."

Adams made his proposal in a story that ran in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Tuesday. He called for an eight-team playoff incorporating the bowls in conjunction with the NCAA.

The impetus for Adams was the feeling that Georgia was slighted in the bowl selection process, playing in the Sugar Bowl instead of the BCS National Championship Game or the Rose Bowl.

"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."

SEC commissioner Mike Slive was also critical of Adams' timing. It was Slive who emerged from the meetings in Destin and declared Machen's proposal defeated and the idea of a playoff dead.

Machen said there was never a vote on his proposal to explore a playoff concept, but he believed he "probably could have gotten four votes" in favor of the idea.

But he doesn't believe college football is any closer to a true playoff than it was last summer, despite Adams' claim that about half of the presidents would be in favor of it.

"I think Michael is misreading the landscape to say there is more support than there was a year ago," Machen said. "I don't think he's going to get any traction. I warned him about getting the NCAA involved. I've been told to keep it out of their hands. And I warned him about being too specific. If you come out with an eight-team scenario, the guy who wants a four-team and the guy who wants a 16-team aren't going to support it.

"I've talked to people all over the country, and when the TV revenues come in, they are going to be very high. I think the only way this could happen is if they went the other way."

Machen does believe that there is momentum for the Plus-One game that Slive and new BCS coordinator John Swofford of the ACC are exploring. A Plus-One game would add a championship game to the end of the bowl season with the top two teams after the bowls playing for the championship.

"I think what Mike is talking about has a chance," Machen said. "I think if we're careful, we can pull a Plus-One out."

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or dooleyp@gvillesun.com.

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