SEC's Slive favors four-team football playoff

Saturday, May 26, 2012 | 10:44 p.m. CDT

HOOVER, Ala. — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive is standing by a four-team playoff to settle college football's national championship, not a plus-one system.

Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott told The Wall Street Journal this week that the new bowl matchup between the Big 12 and SEC champions revives the possibility of a plus-one championship game following the bowls. Slive doesn't think so.

"It's interesting because clearly what we did created a lot of thinking by a lot of people," Slive said Saturday while taking in a game at the SEC baseball tournament. "I appreciate people thinking about that.

"I think what's in the best interest of college football is a four-team playoff. I think it's better for everyone involved in the game. The plus-one narrows the postseason in a way that's not necessarily in the best interest of all the conferences."

A new playoff format will be a hot topic next week when the SEC presidents, coaches and athletic directors convene for spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

Slive said he's "wide open" to considering ideas about how to select the four teams.

One that probably won't be among his favorites: Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has said the new format shouldn't include a team that doesn't win its conference division — a reference to national champion and SEC West runner-up Alabama.

"I'm very open to a thorough analysis and review of how teams are selected," said Slive, who didn't address Delany's comments directly. "It seems to me that if that is the issue, then we ought to address that and not compromise the national championship by gerrymandering who plays. I am very much open to a thorough analysis of the selection process, and whatever changes people recommend that are worth looking at."

Slive doesn't expect much opposition to a playoff within the league that has won the past six BCS national titles.

"I've been talking about it for a long time," he said, "and no one's criticized me for talking about wanting a four-team playoff."

Slive said the issue of safety and concussions is also on the agenda for the meetings starting Tuesday in Florida.

He said the SEC will propose a task force chaired by someone with a medical background to develop information. He said league officials met several weeks ago with trainers, doctors and others "and are beginning to restructure how they function so that they can play a significant role in this analysis."

"There's no doubt in my mind that that task force will be appointed and be operational very quickly," he said.

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