It’s the offseason, which means it’s time for the annual discussion on whether or not to expand the College Football Playoff. Nobody’s voice carries more weight in the college football world than Nick Saban — head coach of the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The legendary coach has won seven national championships, including six since taking over the Tide prior to the 2008 season.
Saban joined Bryant McFadden and Patrick Petersen on the “All Things Covered” podcast this week to discuss the future of the college football postseason.
“I’ve always been one that bowl games and playoffs are going to have a tough time coexisting together,” he said. “Bowl games have always been a positive thing for college football players because a lot of people get a lot of self-gratification for having a good season. Maybe you didn’t win a championship or whatever, but you get a chance to go to a good bowl game and have some fun. It’s a really good, positive reinforcement for college football players.
“When we had a two-team playoff, if we made a four team playoff, that’s going to take away from the bowl games and all the people are going to talk about is the playoff. My issue is not with expanding the playoff, it’s the more you expand the playoff, the less important bowl games become. Nobody talks about bowl games now. All they talk about is who’s in the playoffs and who are the four teams. That’s it.”
It’s hard to argue Saban’s point. Since the playoff was expanded prior to the 2014 season, we’ve seen star players begin to opt out of playing in non-CFP bowl games in favor of preparing for their futures in the NFL. That has left teams struggling to change their depth charts and reinforced a mindset in fans that these games don’t matter as much as they used to. Saban has a way to bring back the allure of old-school bowl games while still providing the option to expand beyond four teams.
“You don’t even hear about the other games and all that stuff,” he said. “That’s always been my issue with the playoff is that bowl games sort of get put on the back shelf. If we want to expand the playoffs, that’s OK. I don’t think you can have bowl games and do that as well. I’ve always been one that, if we are going to have playoffs, why don’t we make the bowl games a part of that.”
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