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Saban has idea to change season schedule

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WFE12    603

Nick Saban envisions changing regular-season schedule, College Football Playoff

6:16 PM CT
 
Heather Dinich ESPN Senior Writer 

Alabama coach Nick Saban has a theory for the College Football Playoff that he thinks is "so far out" that nobody will listen to him.

"We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences," Saban said Wednesday. "If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament -- not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff."

Nick Saban would like to see schools only play other Power 5 conference teams. He says that would bolster interest in the regular season while possibly leading to an expansion of the College Football Playoff. 

Saban, whose program has been in all three CFP semifinals and won a national championship in 2016, said the biggest issue in scheduling is the six-win threshold for bowl eligibility -- a standard he said "holds the game down, quality-wise."

"You eliminate the six wins to get in a bowl game and now you can have a different kind of scheduling that is more fan interest, more good games, bring out the better quality team," he said, "and whether you expand the playoff or have a system where it's like now -- we take the top 12 teams and decide what bowl game they go to -- just take them all.

"In this scenario, there would be more opportunity to play more teams in your league, as well as to have more games that people would be interested in. We all play three or four games a year now that nobody's really interested in. We'd have more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV."

Saban suggested a 10-game SEC schedule, for example, plus two Power 5 nonconference opponents during the regular season. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher on Tuesday expressed similar thoughts to ESPN about nonconference scheduling in the playoff era.

"There's not enough games of interconference play to help judge how you're rating each league," Fisher said. "We get caught up in 'that league's the best league this year.' For instance, last year it was Big Ten, Big Ten. All of a sudden the ACC spanks them to death in bowl games, major games, big games. But maybe during that time of the year, [the Big Ten] was better. I think they do have a hard job because of only picking four teams."

Florida State and Alabama will open the season at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 2 in Atlanta -- the same site as this season's national championship game on Jan. 8.

"One of us gets a huge leg up and the other almost has to be perfect the rest of the year," Fisher said. "If you want these big opening games, are you going to reward them if it doesn't turn out right and it's still a very competitive football game, making it worthwhile for you to do it?"

Saban said regardless of how the CFP selection committee feels about it, he would prefer to play FSU or another big-time Power 5 program than cruise through a weaker nonconference lineup.

"I would rather play Florida State," Saban said. "Not just Florida State but a good team in the beginning of the season because I think it does a lot for your team and your team's chances of being successful. First of all, you have a better offseason when the players have a big challenge in the first game. It really tells you regardless of the result where your team is, legitimately.

"And if you play a really weak team and you win the game 45-7, you still don't really know for sure if your team is really good or not good. You know exactly what you have to work on to get better, where your strengths, where your weaknesses are, maybe some changes you need to make. And I think it really helps you when you go play big games in your conference, especially on the road down the road."

Saban said he realizes it's also a gamble when it comes to the playoff.

"If we lose two games this year and still win the SEC and don't get in the playoff, I understand how it works," he said. "There will probably be more teams that lost one game or no games, who will have a better opportunity to get in than we will. I'm not saying I'm going to be happy about that, but I understand that. I get that. But if it goes based on strength of schedule and how many good teams you beat, then that is the best way to pick the teams to be in the playoff."

Saban also said there is too much time between the conference championship games and the playoff.

"It's very hard for players to go 27 days without playing a game and then go into playoffs," he said. "Really hard."

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triangletiger    352

Not a bad idea in general, but determining who had the strongest schedule for a playoff berth would still be somewhat subjective.  But I guess there's no way to get away from subjectivity in college football with any system when there are so many teams:

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lionheartkc    3,769

Two huge problems. First, the teams in the quality conferences would have players dropping like flies from injury. Second, the non-power 5 schools would not survive. They live off of their power 5 schedule paychecks.

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AUsince72    853

I preface this by first admitting that I'm one of those backwards old fools who loves Tradition and cannot understand why there is such an aversion to it by "younger" generations.  I grew up on college football and I loved it so much for what it was, what it meant and, again, the "tradition" of it.  But no....as we move forward the P'sTB always got to change things to "make them better" to the point of making the things I love almost unrecognizable and something completely different and turning them into the things I "used to love".  CFB is feeling more and more like the NFL every year and, well, I stopped giving a crap about the NFL years ago..... but who gives a flying doughnut what I think?

With that being said, and understanding that they ARE going to continue to change things in the name of "growth" I actually threw-up in my mouth a little as I read l'il general's comments and mostly agree with him.  The NCAA er, um... ESPN has completely changed the college football landscape by adding 3.2 million bowl games and completely watering down what it meant to actually BE in a bowl.  I mean, wasn't there actually a team or two in bowls last year with LOSING records?  Anyway, point being, bowl games are pretty much garbage now and only reality TV for espn so they might as well just expand the playoffs and get rid of the bowls altogether.

 

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AUsince72    853
8 hours ago, lionheartkc said:

Two huge problems. First, the teams in the quality conferences would have players dropping like flies from injury. Second, the non-power 5 schools would not survive. They live off of their power 5 schedule paychecks.

I don't understand the injury comment.  Do players not get injured in "non-power 5" games?

As for non-power 5 schools not surviving... 90+% of them don't have any real chance of competing for meaningful bowl games or the CFP anyway.  Just make the power 5 another "division" of football a-la the old D1-A and D1-AA days.  There's already a de facto 1A and 1AA anyway, so just cherry pick the teams that have a realistic shot YEAR IN/YEAR OUT like the Boise States of the world and send the rest of them back to 1AA or create their own division and let them have at it with bowl games.  Then if they need a few million dollars injected maybe allow the Power 5 conference teams 1 game a year (homecoming) to schedule them.

I'm sure there's die-hard "I watch ALL college games ALL the time" out there but let's face it...the only people watching Tennessee play Western Ky are UT fans and WKU fans.

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lionheartkc    3,769
51 minutes ago, AUsince72 said:

I don't understand the injury comment.  Do players not get injured in "non-power 5" games?

Sometimes, but the non-power 5 games are used to give the players a bit of a rest.  They don't have to go full out against massively overmatched teams.  If you did what Saban was suggesting, they would have to play 12 games full out, with one week of rest in the entire season.  Just the fatigue from that would massively increase the number of injuries.  And before you say that the NFL plays more games than that, the NFL players don't have to go to class. They can focus 100% on their physical well-being and game prep.

53 minutes ago, AUsince72 said:

As for non-power 5 schools not surviving... 90+% of them don't have any real chance of competing for meaningful bowl games or the CFP anyway.  Just make the power 5 another "division" of football a-la the old D1-A and D1-AA days.  There's already a de facto 1A and 1AA anyway, so just cherry pick the teams that have a realistic shot YEAR IN/YEAR OUT like the Boise States of the world and send the rest of them back to 1AA or create their own division and let them have at it with bowl games.  Then if they need a few million dollars injected maybe allow the Power 5 conference teams 1 game a year (homecoming) to schedule them.

I'm sure there's die-hard "I watch ALL college games ALL the time" out there but let's face it...the only people watching Tennessee play Western Ky are UT fans and WKU fans.

It's not about the fans, 72, it's about the schools. These schools NEED the money they get from getting curb stomped multiple times a season. If they just played each other, there would be no money and the schools would suffer. That something very important that football fans need to wrap their heads around... Just because you don't care about a school, or it's not in the picture competition wise, doesn't mean it has no value in the big picture. Millions of students attend these schools and they count on football money to pay the bills. Of course Saban and his bat s**t crazy paycheck could care less about that. All he cares about is proving that he's the greatest of all time.

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AU64    1,715

This would change the nature of college football....and  not just schedules.

As Lion notes, the FCS and down would be decimated by the loss of "money bowl" games ...and by the loss of TV money. 

And not mentioned is the fact that from top to bottom, Power 5 schools are very unequal in financial capability...and most of them would have no prayer of competing effectively against the top tier teams which would likely kill their fan support.  Half the teams in the SEC would be fortunate to win 5 games a year if they had to play all Power 5 schools which in the case of the SEC would likely mean that they would have to play 10 SEC opponent and two OOC.  

We've discussed this issue numerous times, but IMO, the only way for something like this to work, is for the top 32 or what ever number you like, to form their own junior NFL league and go their own way.    Those left behind could form up whatever kind of associations they can muster and use FCS scholarship and recruiting rules and go from there...fewer scholarships and lower operating costs and regional leagues to cut down on travel costs.

JMO but this is mostly about MONEY....the more money the teams bring in ...the more money the successful coaches get paid.

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WarEagle1983    519
10 hours ago, lionheartkc said:

Two huge problems. First, the teams in the quality conferences would have players dropping like flies from injury. Second, the non-power 5 schools would not survive. They live off of their power 5 schedule paychecks.

Agree 100%. You stated my biggest 2 points with his suggestion. Smaller schools depend on that big paycheck. Look at a school like Troy who took on the big schools. It's resulted in them having better athletic facilities. I see nothing wrong with a couple "cupcake" games especially considering how tough in conference games are. It's not the NFL. I think there are plenty of quality games each week in CFB. 

 

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lkeel75    364

Agree 100% with @WarEagle1983 & @lionheartkc.  Exactly what I was thinking when reading the article.

The other thing here is it sounds like Little Nicky is making some excuses so his team can still make a playoff after AU spanks that ass this year.   :wareagle:

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AUsince72    853
5 hours ago, lionheartkc said:

Sometimes, but the non-power 5 games are used to give the players a bit of a rest.  They don't have to go full out against massively overmatched teams.  If you did what Saban was suggesting, they would have to play 12 games full out, with one week of rest in the entire season.  Just the fatigue from that would massively increase the number of injuries.  And before you say that the NFL plays more games than that, the NFL players don't have to go to class. They can focus 100% on their physical well-being and game prep.

It's not about the fans, 72, it's about the schools. These schools NEED the money they get from getting curb stomped multiple times a season. If they just played each other, there would be no money and the schools would suffer. That something very important that football fans need to wrap their heads around... Just because you don't care about a school, or it's not in the picture competition wise, doesn't mean it has no value in the big picture. Millions of students attend these schools and they count on football money to pay the bills. Of course Saban and his bat s**t crazy paycheck could care less about that. All he cares about is proving that he's the greatest of all time.

Ah, the charity angle.  Well, I guess the "haves" could simply pony up and pay a "L'il School with L'il Program Tax" every year to keep them going.

I'm sorry but if a program needs to be curb stomped so they stay out of the red every year then maybe they should drop down to Div. II.

But hey, I get it.  $$$$$ and mo $$$$$!!!

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lionheartkc    3,769
53 minutes ago, AUsince72 said:

Ah, the charity angle.  Well, I guess the "haves" could simply pony up and pay a "L'il School with L'il Program Tax" every year to keep them going.

I'm sorry but if a program needs to be curb stomped so they stay out of the red every year then maybe they should drop down to Div. II.

But hey, I get it.  $$$$$ and mo $$$$$!!!

You're not getting what I'm saying, 72... it's not the programs that need the money, it's the colleges. The system exists and everyone is plugged into it. These schools based their overall budgets on the knowledge that they are going to get some serious paydays for helping the big schools make the big money by boosting their win-loss records. If you take the system away, many of those who benefit from it are going to fail. If all the big schools take their balls and go home, what will happen is that the rich will become infinitely richer and a lot of the poor will cease to exist, not as football teams, but as institutions of higher learning, and why??? so some people are "better" entertained? That's pretty messed up.

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AUsince72    853
3 hours ago, lionheartkc said:

You're not getting what I'm saying, 72... it's not the programs that need the money, it's the colleges. The system exists and everyone is plugged into it. These schools based their overall budgets on the knowledge that they are going to get some serious paydays for helping the big schools make the big money by boosting their win-loss records. If you take the system away, many of those who benefit from it are going to fail. If all the big schools take their balls and go home, what will happen is that the rich will become infinitely richer and a lot of the poor will cease to exist, not as football teams, but as institutions of higher learning, and why??? so some people are "better" entertained? That's pretty messed up.

No, I get what you're saying.  I just completely disagree with the "needs" they have (both the schools & the students).  Colleges & Universities are Businesses first and foremast...yes, even our beloved Auburn University.  Look at the cost of tuition.  They ain't there to do the kids any favors.  They budget silly astronomical amounts of money because they can.  If they can't I'm sure they can figure that out too.  And if not?  Well, in a capitalist society businesses fail all the time.

And, as for poor/middle class/non-rich kids who can't get "higher learning" without a football team?  Sorry, but if a kid can't go to Arky State because they won't send their football team to get pummeled by Brute U then he can do like me and thousands (maybe millions) of other kids did/do and first go to a school they CAN afford (we used to call it Living Within One's Means) like Strictly-for-Education U or a Tech School that doesn't field football yet gives the same opportunity to get drunk & high & go protest Conservative ideals.  There's a heckuva lot more schools without "big time" football as with it, so schools CAN survive within their means as well.

Let's not forget.  Higher Education may be seen as a Right by many, but in truth it's a privilege.  And football?  Don't see that anywhere in The Constitution. Of course, that's another issue with this subject.  We're not even talking about football now....

Edited by AUsince72

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lionheartkc    3,769
2 hours ago, AUsince72 said:

No, I get what you're saying.  I just completely disagree with the "needs" they have (both the schools & the students).  Colleges & Universities are Businesses first and foremast...yes, even our beloved Auburn University.  Look at the cost of tuition.  They ain't there to do the kids any favors.  They budget silly astronomical amounts of money because they can.  If they can't I'm sure they can figure that out too.  And if not?  Well, in a capitalist society businesses fail all the time.

And, as for poor/middle class/non-rich kids who can't get "higher learning" without a football team?  Sorry, but if a kid can't go to Arky State because they won't send their football team to get pummeled by Brute U then he can do like me and thousands (maybe millions) of other kids did/do and first go to a school they CAN afford (we used to call it Living Within One's Means) like Strictly-for-Education U or a Tech School that doesn't field football yet gives the same opportunity to get drunk & high & go protest Conservative ideals.  There's a heckuva lot more schools without "big time" football as with it, so schools CAN survive within their means as well.

Let's not forget.  Higher Education may be seen as a Right by many, but in truth it's a privilege.  And football?  Don't see that anywhere in The Constitution. Of course, that's another issue with this subject.  We're not even talking about football now....

Believe what you want, brother, but my wife works in higher education as a director in administration, and the cost of the education side has outpaced the ability of the schools to raise money. Tuition doesn't even scratch the surface, and the amount coming in from the state keeps shrinking. The money schools can bring in from athletics is vital to many of them. What you do if you take it away is eliminate the schools that some can afford, and limit higher education to those who can afford Power 5 tuition. Keep in mind that most of the strictly for education Us come with a pretty hefty price tag. It's the South Alabamas that the kids who can't afford Auburn end up at.

I honestly can't believe anyone would argue that the Power 5 should hoard the football money just so their spoiled fans didn't have to watch cupcake games. That is shockingly elitist. You never seemed the type to be that way.

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AUFlyer99    97

I'd hate to lose those games with the smaller schools/programs.  They are excellent chances to take the family to a game, not break the bank, and have an almost guaranteed shot at rolling Toomer's Corner.  My son and I try to hit at least one per year.  Spending large money on taking him to a conference game is a non-starter until he gets older.  Generally by the start of Q2 he's ready to get some lemonade and go to the hotel.  

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augolf1716    2,809
17 hours ago, AUFlyer99 said:

I'd hate to lose those games with the smaller schools/programs.  They are excellent chances to take the family to a game, not break the bank, and have an almost guaranteed shot at rolling Toomer's Corner.  My son and I try to hit at least one per year.  Spending large money on taking him to a conference game is a non-starter until he gets older.  Generally by the start of Q2 he's ready to get some lemonade and go to the hotel.  

good point

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WarEagle1983    519
17 hours ago, AUFlyer99 said:

I'd hate to lose those games with the smaller schools/programs.  They are excellent chances to take the family to a game, not break the bank, and have an almost guaranteed shot at rolling Toomer's Corner.  My son and I try to hit at least one per year.  Spending large money on taking him to a conference game is a non-starter until he gets older.  Generally by the start of Q2 he's ready to get some lemonade and go to the hotel.  

Agree. Plus, it's a chance for 2-3 players at the smaller schools to possibly gain NFL attention. If they're able to make some plays against the bigger schools it helps them. 

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gr82be    612

I completely agree with him saying there is too much time between the conference championships and the playoffs. I miss the time when New Year's Day was THE day to be in front of the television watching all of the big bowls. It's been said that the golden age of sports is everyone's childhood. As I get older I see more truth in those words each year. 

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boisnumber1    339

Weeman talks big because he knows he can always pay more players to have the most 5 stars. Give him what everybody else has, and he will be begging to play fcs schools every chance he gets. Idk why so many give a rats @$$ what he has to say about anything. I couldnt care less.

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Randman5000    395

It's not a bad idea. Expand the playoff to more of a Ncaa basketball version. They should be similar. 

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Tigerbelle    361

I don't give a damn what the nickatator would like. He has already damaged college football beyond repair as it is. I wish he'd retire and shut the hell up. >:(

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Tigerbelle    361
15 hours ago, 3rdgeneration said:

Scrolled through this whole thread just to see what @Tigerbelle would have to say. :Sing:

Knowing what I know about about that scurvy little garden gnome and UAT......it sickens me to see people fawning over his every word like he has some kind of eternal wisdom that we lesser people couldn't possibly understand. In reality he's just your average old cheater/scammer in a beneficial environment.

Edited by Tigerbelle
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3rdgeneration    410

@Tigerbelle, you crack me up. Can't say I disagree with you. I do not like that man. And I didn't want to read through a whole page of his opinion. When I saw you posted, I just wanted to read what you had to say!!!

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Tigerbelle    361
1 minute ago, 3rdgeneration said:

@Tigerbelle, you crack me up. Can't say I disagree with you. I do not like that man. And I didn't want to read through a whole page of his opinion. When I saw you posted, I just wanted to read what you had to say!!!

I certainly don't hold back.......:laugh:      

Good to see you on the board. Now that the season is almost here I hope we see more of the old crowd!

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3rdgeneration    410

Thank you.  Took a break for a while, but checked in from time to time. Glad to have had a very boring off-season! I am really starting to get excited about this season. I think it will be a fun one!

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