SEC Coaches Agree They Want Rankings To Decide Football Playoff Participants

by The Associated Press  on Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 8:37 am  

This story is from the archives of

DESTIN, Fla. — The Southeastern Conference is looking out for No. 1.

Maybe even No. 2.

Football coaches from the powerhouse and recently expanded league were in unison Tuesday that they want a proposed four-team playoff to include the best teams in the country - and not be tied to conference champions.

Their solidarity came as no surprise considering the league has won six consecutive national championships, with the latest coming when Alabama knocked off LSU after failing to win its division or make the league title game.

"I think it needs to be the four best teams in the country," Florida Coach Will Muschamp said. "I don't think it needs to be the conference champions because in our league we might have four of the best teams in the country."

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has been a driving force behind a proposed playoff for years, and remains as committed as anyone to getting it done this summer.

The playoff system could debut as early as the 2014 season, replacing a current No.1 vs. No. 2 BCS championship matchup that has rotated among the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose Bowl sites.

Slive expects the four-team model to be discussed by coaches, athletic directors and school presidents/chancellors, and an official league decision is expected to be announced Friday.

"Our league has been consistent that if you're going to have a four-team playoff that the best four teams ought to be selected to play for the national championship," Slive said. "If the issue is how teams are selected, then let's go and talk about the selection process and make the selection process more palatable to everybody rather than try to gerrymander who the top four teams are.

"I'm very open to looking at any and all ways to make changes in the actual selection process itself."

Slive said the league also will settle on a format for football following the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, with teams likely to play six division games, maintain one cross-division rival and alternate an eighth conference game among the other six teams from the opposing division.

The designated rivalries are expected to be finalized, too. All indications are Missouri and Arkansas will be deemed cross-division rivals, leaving South Carolina to pair with Texas A&M.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.