TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Seemingly more than most sports, the format of College Football is under constant attack from coaches and commentators who think they can fix the perceived inequalities in the system. The advent of the College Football Playoff has alleviated many criticisms regarding the fairness of the game, but questions still remain regarding the equity of scheduling.
Nick Saban, the five-time national champion coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, has an idea to make college football more uniform. During his run through the ESPN Car Wash yesterday, Saban proposed eliminating non-power five opponents from power-five team schedules.
“We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” Saban said on SportsCenter this 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.”
Saban compared the current situation in college football to what goes on the NFL. In College football, Saban noted, there are few opportunities for apples-to-apples comparisons of teams in different conferences. In the NFL, teams play all of their games against each other, rather than playing a game or two against a CFL team.
According to Saban, a system absent of “cupcake” games would be better for everyone involved. “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,” he said. “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.”
Alabama starts its season against another college football juggernaut: Florida State. Every year since 2008, the Crimson Tide have opened up their season with a major non-conference opponent. Saban said that there is a method to the madness.
“I would rather play Florida State,” Saban told ESPN. “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.”
Alabama and Florida State face off in the season opener on September 2. The game will be aired on ABC at 7 p.m. CST. Tickets for the showdown have already sold out.