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MIKE SLIVE...Puppet Master of College Football
Posted by TIM'S CORNER on Friday March 02 2012 @ 10:56AM CST
[ 2011 Season ]
Who is the most powerful individual in College Football today? No, it's not Nick Saban, our dear commissioner Mike Slive holds that honor.

In 2007 Slive was the leading advocate of the Plus One Format in which at the end of the football season, the top four teams would play. The top ranked team would play the fourth ranked team and the second and third teams would play, with the winners of each game playing for the national championship. The Big 10, Big 12 and the Pac 10 all lined up against this proposal fearing the an all SEC National Championship game would occur. Their fears were realized this year, making Mike Slive the visionary of college athletics. Slive has also proved to be a magician as well. With one wave of his magic wand, probation that seemed a certainty for the Auburn Football program disappeared.

One can envision a back room filled the stench of cigar smoke at Denneys or Shoneys with a table encircled with several well dressed men doing their best to be very low key. Among the attendees are the president of the NCAA, Mark Emrick, Mike Slive, Gene Chizeck and of course Pat Dye.

Anyone who follows college football knows the end result. Cam Newton was declared ineligible for a few hours and then reinstated within hours.The NCAA continued its probe into the Auburn scandal for appearance sake. There was no way that the NCAA would admit it had made the blunder that allowed Auburn to win the National Championship. After that fateful meeting arranged by Mike Slive, it was a done deal. One very smart thing Slive did after the meeting broke, was to meet with Paul Finebaum and give Paul the company line. Paul used this meeting as a good faith gesture and proceeded to hail Slive, Cam Newton and Auburn clean as the driven snow. This shows the brilliance of Mike Slive, mission accomplished.

Mike Slive has the earmark of a modern day P.T. Barnum. As an astute business man, he recognizes how the SEC Championship game has revolutionized college football. In 2008 and 2009, the championship games between the Crimson Tide and Florida set the standard by which championship games are measured. The 2009 SEC Championship Game WAS the National Championship Game for all intent and purpose. The actual National Championship between Texas and Alabama was almost anticlimactic in comparison to the SEC Championship. The frenzy and intensity that the 2009 SEC Championship Game generated hasn't been duplicated.

The 2010 SEC Championship between Auburn and South Carolina paled in comparison. The game quickly turned into a blowout. Fans responded by switching their T.V. sets to Days of our Lives or some such. These teams met in the regular season then met in the championship game...sound familiar.

This years SEC Game featured a two loss Georgia team against the undefeated and top ranked LSU Tigers. Excitement and fervor were missing from this game also. The regular season match-up between LSU and Alabama was the WOW factor. Georgia's schedule was less than impressive this year. They did not play LSU, Alabama nor Arkansas in the regular season. Keep this in mind.

Coming into this year, Georgia appeared to be the team to beat in the east division of the SEC. How can a team's won-loss record be improved without playing a game? By the arrangement of their schedule. For the second year in a row, Georgia will not play LSU, Alabama or Arkansas. Mike Slive recognizes if he delivers two undefeated teams in the 2012 SEC Championship Game, he may recapture the magic of 2009. To accomplish this, he has in effect, hand picked Georgia from the East to play the winner from the West. Slive has orchestrated this upcoming SEC Championship Game to be the marquee game of the day, and possibly the year.

Georgia has been anointed the chosen one by the commissioner no less, and it is quite an honor for Mark Richt and his Bulldogs. Georgia has the easiest schedule in the a wide margin for the second year in a row. Will the puppet master's grand plan succeed to elevate the SEC Championship Game to its rightful place as being the best game of the year? Will Slive's prearranged opponent for the West recapture the excitement and thrills of 2008 and 2009. I wouldn't bet against him.

< Shane and the Crimson Tide | Taking The Hog[s] For A Ride >

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