tampabay.com

UF's Machen to lobby SEC for playoff

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published December 3, 2006


ATLANTA - Florida president Bernie Machen said Saturday he believes the time has come to have a college football playoff system, and he plans to lobby fellow SEC presidents to support the idea.

Machen, the former president at Utah, said his decision isn't based solely on the fact that Florida could be left out of the national title game, despite UCLA's upset of Southern Cal Saturday afternoon.

"If you recall, Utah was one of the agitators to get from the four (BCS games) to the five, and I was part of that," he said. "I just don't feel it's fair the way it's set up. I think it's worse now (than three years ago) because it's structured such that we get incentive to play teams like Western Carolina, which we shouldn't be playing. If the playoff was in place, we wouldn't have to worry about playing teams like that. We could play anybody we wanted and play in through our league schedule. So there are a lot of reasons we need to think about a playoff. And I think the public wants it; it's just the university presidents that aren't there yet."

Machen joins Florida State president T.K. Weatherell, who said recently he is in favor of a playoff system. Machen will try to get it on the agenda at either the March or summer SEC meetings.

What it will take to get a playoff system in place?

"It's all about the money," he said. "Look in our conference. Several of us will go to the BCS, but every school in the conference will get the same amount of money. So there are a lot of people sitting at home that are going to get their BCS shares and they are the ones saying why should I change to a playoff when I might get less? So it's going to ultimately mean we're going to have to come up with a deal that includes the bowl, but puts the money in a different place. We've done it in basketball, we can do it in football."

BLOCK THAT KICK: Tampa native Jarred Fayson's blocked punt with 9:28 remaining in the second quarter led to the Gators' first touchdown. It was the eighth blocked kick of the season for the Gators, a school record.

BONUS TIME: The SEC championship game was all about pride and a return to glory for the Florida program, but it also netted coach Urban Meyer a little extra holiday cash.

Meyer picked up $175,000 for winning the Gators' seventh SEC title. His contract called for bonuses of $75,000 for winning the SEC title and $100,000 for reaching a BCS game.

In addition, Meyer is entitled to a $250,000 retention bonus - more than his base salary of $231,750 this season - for remaining UF's coach at the end of the 2006 regular season. He is scheduled to receive a $500,000 bonus after the 2007 regular season, $250,000 after the 2008 regular season, $500,000 after the 2009 regular season and $600,000 at the end of the 2011 regular season.