Kevin Price: ESPN's agenda could force hand in college football playoffs

It would appear we are headed to a standoff in regards to the format for who gets in to the four-team college fotball playoff.

The Southeastern Conference formally announced Friday that it would like to see the top four teams be invited to the playoff.

"I think the fans would expect us to provide the four best teams in the country -- one, two, three, four," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Friday. "That is our current position."

The Big 12 agrees with the SEC.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 have said they want a system where conference champions are given preference. The Pac-12 has taken it a step further and said any playoff participant must be a division winner -- an obvious slap at Alabama, which won the national championship last season despite not winning the SEC's Western Division.

This is obviously in fear that the SEC will get multiple teams into the playoff, while the Big Ten or Pac-12 gets shut out.

For the most part, those four conferences will be the ones who decide the format for the playoff.

As of now, the ACC, the Big East and other conferences are just bit players in this drama. That is why you see schools such as Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami shopping themselves to any conference that will listen.

But one other entity will have a big say-so in deciding

the format for the college football playoff: ESPN.

There are a lot of people out there who believe that ESPN will decide its position on a particular subject, then tell its on-air talent to push that agenda.

I am not sure I buy into that, but it will be interesting to see the stance that Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit take in the coming days and weeks.

ESPN is likely to want a system that will produce a game with the best ratings. And with the fact that last season's Alabama-LSU game garnered the worst ratings for any of the 14 BCS national championship games, you can imagine that ESPN will want to see the conference champions model be adopted.

Lil Combs

In the world we live in today, there is no telling from day to day what is going to be a hot topic. With Facebook, Twitter and talk radio, people are able to share their opinions at a moment's notice, and that opinion can be seen or heard by hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people.

This past week, one of the hot topics was that Justin Dior Combs, son of rap music superstar Sean Combs, had accepted a football scholarship to UCLA.

The controversy surrounded the fact that Combs is worth about $550 million, according to Forbes magazine.

People came out of the woodwork to say that Justin Combs should turn down the scholarship because his dad could easily pay for his education.

The people who are saying that are missing the point of a football scholarship. It is earned. UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. awarded him that scholarship because he believes Combs can play football at a level that can help the Bruins win games.

On top of that, football scholarships at UCLA are given from a fund that includes private donations, ticket sales, etc. There is no taxpayer money given as part of football scholarships.

Now, if Combs wants to give the scholarship back and have his dad pay for his education, that is fine.

But don't criticize the younger Combs. He earned the scholarship.

Kevin Price,, 706-320-4493.

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