Blog Entry

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:13 pm
 

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Few individuals -- if any -- will have as large a say in the construction of the impending college football "plus-one" as SEC commissioner Mike Slive. And as of Wednesday, the construction Slive has in mind is one that won't be exclusive to conference champions.

Speaking to the Birmingham News, Slive said that he was "willing to have a conversation" about restricting the field to champions only, but that it wasn't his preference--no surprise, considering it was his conference that wedged its teams into both slots in the 2011 national title game.

"[I]f you were going to ask me today, that would not be the way I want to go," Slive said. "It really is early in the discussions, notwithstanding what some commissioners say publicly. There's still a lot of information that needs to be generated."

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott previously stated his support for admitting conference champions only, though we're not sure that veiled "some commissioners" jibe from Slive is a shot across Scott's bow or not.

What we are sure of is that Slive is more open to Jim Delany's proposal for on-campus semifinals than Scott's regarding league champions. While stopping well short of endorsing the Big Ten-backed suggestion, Slive also noted some of its benefits and kept the door well open to its consideration.

"There are plusses and minuses to that concept," Slive said. "One is that you're playing a couple games to determine the national champion and to make it a home game for somebody has always been perceived as a competitive advantage ... You have to look at that. The other side is there would be the question of fan travel and the ability to travel to one or more games. You guarantee good attendance (on campus) -- for one team.

"It needs to be looked at carefully. It's on the table and it should be on the table."

Slive also again declined to reveal details on the SEC' 2013-and-beyond scheduling arrangements and said the league wasn't interested in expanding beyond its current 14 teams. Of more interest was his comments on the league's ongoing television negotiations, reopened since the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri.

"They know who we are and what we have," Slive said. "None of our schools will be hurt financially (in 2012-13). But that's just today. It's tomorrow that's the real issue. The discussions are very important. They're longterm. We'll leave it at that."

Knowing that Slive's entire willingness to entertain expansion was -- very likely -- motivated first-and-foremost by a desire to rework the league's (mostly) static 15-year TV deal for something closer to the Big Ten and Pac-12's rapidly expanding, league network-driven contracts, could his emphasis on the "very important" "longterm" be commissioner-speak for a push for an SEC Network? 

We'd be stunned, frankly, if it means anything different. Slive's opinions and preferences on the plus-one matter a great deal where the rest of college football is concerned--but when it comes to the distant future of his own conference, those negotiations may be even more critical.

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Comments

Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:27 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

By prefering conference champions you lessen the impact voter bias towards one conference over others. Maybe they will decide on a selection committee instead of the current polls, I don't care as long as multiple conferences are represented every year. Perhaps the SEC is the strongest conference, but that is only an opinion until they prove it by beating other conference champions.

With 2011 the exception, we usually are dogging other conferences and indepedents every year from getting into the national championship game.  Why all the attention now? The format hasn't changed since it's creation in 1998.

A small sample but:

2003 - SEC/LSU
2004 - SEC/Auburn, Utah, Boise State
2007 - ACC/Virginia Tech, Big12 Oklahoma/Missouri Pac12 Southern Cal, Arizona State
2008 - Utah, Big12/Texas Pac12/Southern Cal B1G/Penn State
2009 - Big East/Cincinnati, TCU, Boise State
2010 - TCU, Pac12/Stanford, B1G, Ohio State

Where's your bleeding heart for these schools/conferences?  Why didn't they get a shot at a NCG?

It's funny how the SEC was the first to try to change the BCS and was struck down by the other conferences.  Now you have everyone screaming for a change when the SEC has had a massive amount of success.



Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:13 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

And my point was not to rag on Alabama's OOC, I was just using them as an example. It is hard to schedule big games early in the season because these are college kids after all, it takes a few games for teams to meld. Nobody wants to lose a shot at the title by scheduling Alabama as their first game. But by prefering conference champions in the playoff, you get strong meaningful cross-conference games at the end of the season where it counts. Who in the Big 12 can argue against Alabama being the National Champ if they beat the Big 12 champ at the end of the season ? Same for the PAC-12 or Big 10.



Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

Ok so the lets say the best team in the country was Oregon because of sCam Newton getting his $180k from them.  He was injured for 3 games and they lost.  He comes back and they beat everyone by 50 pts.  Now they are the best team in the country but do they deserve a shot in the NC game with 3 losses and lets say the SEC, B12 and B10 champs are undefeated.  Like Bama with the "eye test", we can "eye test" Oregon and know they are the best, but do they get a shot over the others? 

Or does the regular season matter at all?

You are explaining a scenario that would NEVER happen so why discuss it?

In the current format/game schedule... NO one would vote a 3 loss team into the top two spots... nor would the BCS computer ranking system would forgive 3 losses (which teams did they lose to?  if it was Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas... the BCS would still have them at 10-12 or something)

but if you make your scenario a little more realistic... it all ready HAS happen. 2005

Georgia was 10-2 and beat an LSU team that was 10-1.  Guess who went to the NCG? Texas and Southern Cal and it was well deserved.  If LSU would have beat Georgia... the NCG still would still have probably been Texas and Southern Cal.



Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:06 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

There are 11 conferences, 4 independents, and we are restricted to only 4 teams in the playoffs, so yes somehow you have to pick 4. By prefering conference champions you lessen the impact voter bias towards one conference over others. Maybe they will decide on a selection committee instead of the current polls, I don't care as long as multiple conferences are represented every year. Perhaps the SEC is the strongest conference, but that is only an opinion until they prove it by beating other conference champions.



Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:05 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

Louisiana Lafayette, Arizona and Tulsa isn't exactly a murderers row either.  The fact is, very few schools can rave about their OOC as most suck.  As for barely passable Penn State, you cannot complain about them not being stellar since Bama has little control over their opponent's shortcomings.  And, until the last weekend Penn State led their division of the B1G, so they were a bit more than passable. 

Okie State should have gone.  No doubt in my mind at all.  But once we go past 2 teams playing for the title, there will be times when non-champs are going to deserve the shot before teams like UCONN (10), Clemson (11) etc.  And there ought to be a way to make that happen, while still rewarding deserving Conference Champs. 



Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:01 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

You are missing a huge and crucial point.  The way the system is designed now... you aren't trying to find the best country.  It's trying to find the TWO best teams in the country.  It just so happens it was decided Alabama was the #2 team in the country.  There wasn't as much as a firestorm when Oklahoma played for the NCG in 2003 despite losing their conference and losing to Kansas State 35-7.

Ok so the lets say the best team in the country was Oregon because of sCam Newton getting his $180k from them.  He was injured for 3 games and they lost.  He comes back and they beat everyone by 50 pts.  Now they are the best team in the country but do they deserve a shot in the NC game with 3 losses and lets say the SEC, B12 and B10 champs are undefeated.  Like Bama with the "eye test", we can "eye test" Oregon and know they are the best, but do they get a shot over the others? 

Or does the regular season matter at all?




Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:58 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

You do have to still have some sort of ranking system to pick the top conference champs, and possibly one wildcard, but the voters cannot load up on one conference based purely on their opinion.


So you are telling me that you don't agree with choosing the top 4 teams by a ranking system yet you want to use a ranking system to decide which conference champs get the four spots?

 How would you SEC homers feel if the top 4 ranked teams were all in the Big 12 and the SEC champ was excluded ?

We've all ready had a dose of that in 2004 when Auburn was snubbed. So we know exactly how 'we' feel.  Slive suggested a +1 format and EVERY other conference shot it down except for the ACC.  Wow, what's changed since then? Why is the B1G and others jumping on the bandwagon now?

You do have to still have some sort of ranking system to pick the top conference champs, and possibly one wildcard, but the voters cannot load up on one conference based purely on their opinion.


Here's the funny thing, you say the voters are loading up on the SEC... but given the bowl season overall, time and time again, the voters are proving right on ranking a lot of the SEC teams so high.  The SEC didn't get the benefit of the doubt in 2004... but guess what? We do now and it is WELL deserved.

Football schools rise and fall and the SEC will be no different.  The SEC has dominated the BCS era but it's foolish to think that trend can continue in the long run. 

Summary, you can whine and complain all you want about this supposed SEC/media bias and talk trash about the BCS/end year polls... but no matter what solution you come up with, you are always going to have a human element to decide who gets the shots... and who doesn't.  Don't hide behind your statements beating your chess and shouting about SEC homers and media opinion when you show your colors at the same time as being a SEC hater homer and agree that some type of poll will always be needed.




Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:38 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

Let's see who Alabama beat outside the SEC to earn the title of "National Champion", the powerhouses of Kent State, North Texas, and Georgia Southern, with a semi-passable Penn State thrown in. By prefering conference champions you spread the field outside of one region and force teams like Alabama to play a strong non-conference team at the end of the season when both teams should be at their peak. How would you SEC homers feel if the top 4 ranked teams were all in the Big 12 and the SEC champ was excluded ? And yes, Oklahoma was NOT the best team in the Big 12 that year, or they would have won the conference championship game. You do have to still have some sort of ranking system to pick the top conference champs, and possibly one wildcard, but the voters cannot load up on one conference based purely on their opinion.



Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:08 pm
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

If you go with the top-ranked conference champions, at least you know you have the best teams from those conferences and regular season play counts for something.

So Oklahoma wasn't the best team in the Big12 in 2003? If South Carolina would have beat Auburn in 2010 for the SECCG, are you going to tell me South Carolina would have been the best team in the SEC?  Do you think Clempson belonged anywhere NEAR the NCG in 2011?

It's a lot easier to rationalize the top 4 teams playing instead of the top 2.

Everyone is all about this 'conference champion only' but you are shooting yourself in the foot.  For the +1, how are you going to solve WHICH conference champs get to go?
SEC, Pac12, B1G, Big12, ACC, Big East, Indepedents?

All I hear is a bunch of politicians saying No, No, No, it can't be this way.... without giving a solution to their "No".



Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:35 am
 

Slive: plus-one shouldn't be champions-only

If all you do is throw the top 4 ranked teams into a playoff, you give way too much power to the same stupid voters that screw up the polls every year. That is the same mess we have now with just 2 more teams added. If you go with the top-ranked conference champions, at least you know you have the best teams from those conferences and regular season play counts for something. If you want to add ONE wildcard if they are ranked in the top 4, then that would give the independents a shot, and also allow a strong conference like the SEC to have 2 teams in but not totally fill the brackets and make a mockery of the term "National Champion".


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