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Expect to see UK, UofLon TV

Question asked most frequently in college sports today: Will football ever have a playoff system to rival basketball’s Big Dance?

Answer: Not if, but when. And When scored a first down last week. University of Florida president Bernie Machen, whose national championship football program (and basketball twice) must have worker bees pushing money around with a steam shovel these days, tendered the most colossal understatement since AAA warned “American drivers are in for a price hike at the gas pump.”

Machen told USA Today the big unknown about a football playoff system is: “Is there a lot of money that’s not on the table?” The guess was $100 million. If CBS’s contract with the NCAA basketball is worth a billion, then 100 million for football playoff feels like a starting point.

So, a playoff $y$tem? Money says, not if, but when.

UK’s Two Drum Beats

Curious, how the University of Kentucky marches so skillfully to cadences of two drums at the same time. UK policymakers seem frugal with budgets and spending as Dr. Lee Todd leads the lobby for more alumni donations in pursuit of a noble goal – make UK one of the next great universities.

Across the street meanwhile, UK Athletics is a land of Oz where salaries are like global warming. Up. Beyond the comprehension of a sizable majority of ticket and licensed gear buyers who fuel the Big Blue monolith so faithfully. In a single year we guess the men’s basketball coach is paid more than the president, his director of athletics and a dozen professors combined. Yes, we know about the independent UK Athletics Association. Nice support group. Too bad Todd doesn’t have one like it.

We question priorities and message when administrators on one side of campus canvass for donations while a basketball coach is voted a $30,000 stipend to offset having his text message toy taken away. And, UK Trustees opened discussion on buying an airplane to support recruiting. The UK-UMass contract payoff? We wonder how the new coach was able to wag the dog so soon, so easily? Where was Todd in this decision to toss UMass a $50,000 bone instead of, “Wait a minute. This isn’t right. Call UMass back, Mr. Barnhart. The game is on. Call a press conference and don’t send out a spinner. You go.” And “tell Billy Clyde, ‘get your team ready to play UMass Nov. 24. We will honor a signed contract.’ ”

Barnhart’s decision was a blunder, but a savvy stroke too. When UK gets past this public relations black eye, and specter of Barnhart looking like Billy Clyde’s poodle, Kentucky’s AD knows one telephone call will recoup 50 grand, add a home game, and void an expensive trip to Boston.

On the political side Barnhart knew he could breech a contract with UMass and Travis Ford would make only token noise, i.e. “this is disappointing for our fans.” Barnhart knows Ford knows he must maintain political correctness with UK administration if he hopes to be a candidate for Gillispie’s job one day.

Louisville, UK & TV

Seventeen Saturdays away, the Louisville-Kentucky football game and there is hand-wringing across the Commonwealth. Since the game is three weekends into the season, what about live teevee?

September 15 is a marquee Saturday in college football, including Tennessee at Florida and Arkansas at Alabama, but logic tells us there is solid regional interest and entertainment value in this Governor’s Cup match, too. The rivalry, lots of forward passes, UofLwill be top 10 ranked, Kentucky could be Votes Received, both should arrive 2- 0, and each has a Heisman Trophy caliber quarterback.

Unless an SEC rule prohibits the telecast, we’re betting the game will be aired live.

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