Playoff finds increasing support in SEC

Updated: March 28, 2007, 3:05 PM ET
By Joe Schad | Special to ESPN.com

Florida president Bernie Machen said Wednesday that he is gaining increased support among leaders of Southeastern Conference schools in his push for a playoff for college football in the former Division I-A.

Machen said he proposed his ideas to SEC presidents at a meeting in March in Atlanta and that the topic will be on the official agenda of the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., in April.

"I will make my formal presentation," Machen said. "This is a big step. I didn't think they'd allow me to be a part of the agenda. But I will have my day in court."

Machen said the SEC needs to lead the way and that time is a factor.

"We need to have these considerations now," Machen said. "Fox wants now to extend our existing BCS deal and if we do that, we're going to be stuck in the same place for the next six to eight years, with a system that could obviously be better."

Machen takes his stand, of course, even though Florida won the national championship under the existing BCS format, which pits the two highest-rated teams in the BCS formula. Machen said movement towards a plus-one format (adding an extra game), a Final Four or eight-team format is not as important as getting a majority opinion among the SEC leaders that a change is beneficial.

"It will take a conference like ours to get this moving in the right direction," Machen said. "We've got to make this a deal with great revenue for league and bowls. Right now, I have more SEC presidents on board than I thought I would. And the majority are willing to listen, which is more than ever before."

Machen said he's spoken to about a half-dozen presidents outside the SEC to gauge their opinions. And that he has talked to leaders at two BCS bowls who say they "want to be at the table to discuss this, too."

The Big Ten and the Pac-10, with a strong Rose Bowl tie-in, figure to be the conferences least eager to rally support for a college football playoff.

Joe Schad is ESPN TV's national college football reporter.

Joe Schad

College Football