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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Citing work still to be done, SEC commish Slive staying put; UGA football places four more on watch lists; Bulldogs' first three games to all be televised

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive poses at SEC headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., after announcing he was staying at the position he's held for 10 years. The SEC welcomes new members Texas A&M and Missouri into football competition this year.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive poses at SEC headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., after announcing he was staying at the position he's held for 10 years. The SEC welcomes new members Texas A&M and Missouri into football competition this year.

Georgia football team’s first three game of season to be shown on TV

ATHENS — The first three games of the 2012 Georgia football season will be televised by the SEC Network, ESPN2 and CSS, according to a league-wide scheduled released Monday by the Southeastern Conference office.

The schedule for the first three weeks of the season will feature the Bulldogs playing in the Sept. 1 opener against Buffalo on the SEC Network at 12:21 p.m., Sept. 8 at Missouri on ESPN2 at 7:45 p.m. and Sept. 15 against Florida Atlantic at 7:30 p.m. on CSS.

The Oct. 27 game with Florida in Jacksonville has already been scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS. Other games will be determined on the usual 12-days-in-advance procedure.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has unfinished business and he isn’t leaving what has lately become college football’s penthouse anytime soon.

With two new members, six straight football national titles and a four-team playoff to determine future champions, Slive said Monday he has agreed to run the powerhouse SEC for “at least a couple more years,” continuing his decade-long tenure.

His contract was set to expire July 31, five days after he turned 72.

Slive is negotiating new TV deals that figure once again to be the most lucrative in college athletics. The exact method of choosing the four-team playoff field each season must be hammered out, and the SEC is trying to assimilate Texas A&M and Missouri into the now-14-team league.

The commissioner discussed those issues — and his future — in an interview ahead of SEC Media Days, which begin today and run through Thursday in suburban Birmingham.

“I have agreed with the league that I will stay at least a couple of more years, and then we’ll sit down and decide what happens after that,” said Slive, who makes a little more than $1 million a year. “Don’t forget it takes two. It’s not just me making a unilateral decision. Both of us need to make that decision.”

Auburn’s Jay Jacobs, chairman of the league’s athletic directors, noted that the SEC produced 42 Academic All-Americans, nine national team champions and seven runners-up in 2011-12.

“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Mike Slive is the best commissioner in the nation,” Jacobs said. “It’s not an accident that the dominance of the SEC in recent years coincides with his tenure as commissioner. We all know the SEC has won six straight BCS National Championships in football. His leadership transcends football and even all of athletics.”

The professorial Slive, who became a first-time grandfather this summer, has no shortage of projects before handing over the reins.

University presidents approved the switch to a four-team playoff model on June 26, similar to the one Slive proposed in 2008, three years into the SEC’s current run of dominance. It might have taken an all-SEC West showdown of Alabama vs. LSU in January to rally sufficient support from other commissioners, athletic directors and presidents.

Slive said conference commissioners will gather in September to work on details, like revenue distribution and a college basketball-style selection committee for the four semifinalists.

“We’ll have to sit down and talk about what would be an appropriate number” for the committee, said Slive, who chaired the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2008-09 season. “There have been different numbers floated around — 16, 20. We certainly want to have enough members of the committee so that when certain committee members have to recuse themselves, we still have a significant group of people considering all the data and evaluating the teams.

“I visualize it working not unlike the men’s basketball committee that I was on and chaired for a year. You have both data and statistics and information, and then you couple that with what you see.”

The SEC might have had even more shots at a national title under the four-team system. The league had at least one team ranked among the Top 4 in the final BCS standings in 11 of the 14 years the system has been used.

Using that formula, at least two teams would have made the cut in both 2006 (No. 2 Florida and No. 4 LSU) and 2008 (No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Alabama), as well as 2011. The first two times could have led to a rematch of the SEC title game in the finale.

Slive demurs when asked if the change is yet another win for the SEC.

“I think it’s a win for everybody,” he said. “It’s a win for college football in that all of us were able to come together in a collegial way and find a way to marry our own parochial interests as advocates for our leagues with our responsibility for what’s in the best interest of college football.”

Despite all that, the first order of business for the SEC is a likely return to the top of the heap in TV money. The league is renegotiating its pre-expansion 15-year, $2.25 billion TV deal with ESPN and a $55 million-a-year contract with CBS, both signed in 2008. The Pac-12 has a $3 billion TV deal.

Slive said “there is no fixed timetable” and he’s not sure if new deals will be in place before the SEC’s quest for national title No. 7 in a row begins.

“It’s hard to know because we have meetings scheduled throughout this summer,” Slive said. “Whether or not those meetings come to a conclusion, I can’t predict.”

SEC schools each got a $20.1 million share of the financial pie in 2011-12.

Texas A&M and Missouri both give the SEC a big presence into sizable new TV markets as part of a wave of conference realignment.

“We believe that the expansion has increased our value for the purpose of television,” Slive said. “It’s one of the many benefits that we believe we will derive, particularly in the long-term, from this expansion.”

Now, the SEC’s leadership also seems set for the near future. There could be at least two internal candidates for the top job when Slive leaves.

Mark Womack is executive associate commissioner while Greg Sankey was promoted in March to executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer. Sankey, formerly commissioner of the Southland Conference, is in charge of day-to-day operations.

“Mark Womack has been here a very long time and does a wonderful job for us,” Slive said. “He’s our chief fiscal officer and the AD liaison, he deals with bowls.

“We wanted to make sure we had someone else at the same level that could be responsible for the day-to-day operations here. Greg is a very talented young man. He certainly is already doing an excellent job for us.”


QB Murray, LB Jones and DLs Washington, Jenkins on watch lists

ATHENS — Four more Georgia football players were named to three national preseason watch lists Monday.

Junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was selected to represent the Bulldogs on both the 2012 Butkus Award list and the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award list. Jones was already on the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list.

In addition, senior defensive end Cornelius Washington was included on the Butkus list, and senior nose John Jenkins was one of the players selected to be on the Lombardi list.

Junior quarterback Aaron Murray was also one of 25 quarterbacks across the country named to the 2012 Manning Award Watch List.

A native of Columbus, Jones was a unanimous First Team All-American following the 2011 season after he led the SEC in both sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (19.5).

Washington, a native of Hephzibah, started six games and played in 12 last season. He registered 17 tackles, including five sacks and six tackles for loss. Washington is preparing to cross-train at defensive end in 2012 after recording three tackles, including a sack, against No. 1 LSU in the 2011 SEC title game.

Jones was a finalist for the 2011 Butkus Award after also earning the College Football Performance Awards Elite Linebacker Trophy last year. The Bulldogs have never had a Butkus Award winner since the first one was picked in 1985.

Jenkins, a native of Meriden, Conn., made an immediate impact for Georgia in 2011 during his first season in Athens. The 6-foot-3, 351-pound Jenkins played in all 14 games, including starting seven of the last nine, and tallied 28 tackles, three sacks and six tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had an interception from his spot in the middle of the Bulldog defensive line.

Jenkins is also on the 2012 Bednarik Award and Outland Trophy preseason lists.

A Tampa, Fla., native, Murray finished the 2011 season with a school record 35 touchdown passes. Murray is the SEC’s leading active player in total offensive yards (6,476), completions (447), touchdown responsibility (65), touchdown passes (59) and passing yards (6,198).

The Bulldogs open the season against Buffalo in Sanford Stadium on Sept. 1. Kickoff is at 12:21 p.m. and the SEC Network will televise the matchup. Georgia opens SEC play at Missouri on Sept. 8. The Bulldogs and the Tigers will play on ESPN2 at 7:45 p.m.