Nick Saban Discusses Playoff at SEC Spring Meetings


Nick Saban rarely has a problem with speaking about what is on his mind. Whether he is calling out rogue agents as “pimps” or just talking about the general landscape of college football, his opinion is usually delivered bluntly.

He delivered more of the same on Tuesday at the annual SEC Spring Meeting in Destin, Florida when he got on the topic of the impending four-team playoff in college football.

Ever since it was announced that college football was going to have some sort of four-team playoff starting in 2014, there has been plenty of debate about what the format would be like. Some people want to see a conference champion-only playoff to avoid a National Championship Game like we saw last season between two SEC teams, Alabama and LSU. Others are in favor of letting the four best teams settle it on the field in a playoff.

Saban, along with the other SEC coaches, obviously favors the four best teams playing for the National Championship regardless of conference affiliation.

Saban, apologizing for being so blunt, had this to say earlier today: “ It’s self-absorbed people who are worried about how it affects their circumstance or their league rather than what’s best for college football who would want to do that.”

Obviously conferences outside of the SEC would want a conference champion-only playoff to avoid the likelihood of more than one team from the conference being selected for the playoff. That’s a stance that would likely change if say, USC and Oregon in the Pac-12 were both ranked in the top four after the conclusion of the season, but only USC was selected to play in the playoff because they won the conference.

“People want to see the best four teams play in a playoff,” said Saban. He further elaborated the point by saying if the No. 1, No. 3, No. 7 and No. 11 teams end up in a playoff that there would be a “mutiny on the ship.”

Last season, we would have seen No. 1 LSU, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Oregon and No. 10 Wisconsin in the playoff. That would have left out No. 2 Alabama; you know, the team that mauled top-ranked LSU in the BCS National Championship Game, as well as No. 4 Stanford along with a cluster of other teams ranked higher than Wisconsin, who did not win their conference championship. Sounds fair, right?

That also would have meant two teams with multiple losses (Oregon and Wisconsin) getting into the playoff over two teams with just one loss (Alabama and Stanford). You could talk me into Oregon getting into the playoff over Stanford, since the Ducks won the head-to-head meeting between the two. But Wisconsin getting in over Alabama? Keep dreaming. Even fans from outside of the SEC would be in an uproar over that.

I think college football is the greatest sport on the planet, and I am very excited about a four-team playoff starting in 2014. But if the playoff is anything other than the four best teams playing for the National Championship, then college football will be in a worse position to crown a champion than it is now.

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