Alabama’s Nick Saban: Consider this before moving on to SEC’s 9-game football schedule


MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. — Nick Saban’s stance hasn’t changed on playing more conference games, but the Alabama football coach thinks SEC coaches and administrators should consider a few things. factors before voting on a potential nine-game league schedule.

A vote could be on the table this week at the SEC’s Spring Meetings. With Oklahoma and Texas joining in 2025, the league must adjust its scheduling format to accommodate 16 teams.

A change could have been due to frustration with the SEC’s current divisional system anyway, in which teams face the same seven opponents each season plus a rotating cross-divisional opponent. In this configuration, a number of SEC programs only see each other once every six years.

“I’ve always been in favor of playing more conference games,” Saban said Tuesday, emphasizing the need to weed out games that fans don’t care about.

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“I think the nine-game format is a start in that direction, but what’s the best model?” he said. “I think that’s the problem. What’s the best model? It’s No. 1. And No. 2 is: Are other conferences doing the same thing? Are they going to play more conference games Are they going to have the same kind of And when you have conferences making all the decisions, sometimes you lose a bit of that.”

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At an inflection point for college football when SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey publicly said the conference was considering an SEC-only playoff, Saban’s comments reflect a counter-perspective to the everyone-for-alls approach. se on the table in the spring of the SEC. meetings. Saban said that when considering new schedule models, everyone should consider how an added conference game would affect the CVs of SEC college football playoff teams compared to other leagues.

“If we’re going to play nine conference games and we’re going to end up playing at least five top-15 teams in the country – and I’m talking about all of us, not just our team – how does that compare to other conferences?” Saban said. “We could have a great team and lose two games in our conference, and someone else will get the playoffs because they went undefeated, but they didn’t have the same opportunity. to play with so many good teams.”

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Among the options that would be considered are two eight-team divisions; four four-team pods (although this loses traction); and a no-split structure in which teams have three annual rivalry opponents plus a rotating cast of five or six SEC teams to increase variety.

“It’s a tough act for the conference to try to get it to where it’s even,” Saban said, “in terms of three, six, whatever the pattern is.”

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama football: What Nick Saban said about the SEC’s nine-game schedule


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