Nick Saban explains why he is against College Football Playoff expansion
Nick Saban is against an expansion of the College Football Playoff format and has his reasons.
The Alabama Crimson Tide head coach was a guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show” on Tuesday and reiterated his belief that an expansion would further detract from the significance of the bowl system.
"I think there's only so many games in these guys. They're student-athletes. They're not just football players."
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) April 27, 2021
“I think the playoff, as I said many years ago when we had just two teams in the playoff and expanded to four, that the more playoffs we have, the less significant bowl games are going to be,” Saban told Finebaum, via 247 Sports. “So it’s really not for me, and I don’t think I’m capable of judging how significant the positive self-gratification that players, programs, and coaches get from being able to go to a bowl game. Now, everything has shifted to the four teams in the playoffs, and the bowls seem to be pretty insignificant. So, I think if we expand the playoff, you’re going to see a continuation of that trend, where the bowl games become less and less significant. Maybe these things can’t coexist. But if they’re going to coexist, maybe we should try to leave them pretty much the same.”
“I know there is a lot of interest in the playoff, but the other thing I would be concerned with is how many games do we need to play?” Saban said. “The SEC Championship Game, if you look at it, most of the years we played in those games were playoff games. We were playing somebody in the top five. It had an impact on who got in the playoff or championship game. So, you’re going to eliminate that so you can have more playoff games? Are we going to play less games in the regular season so we can have more playoff games? I think there’s only so many games in these guys. They’re student-athletes. They’re not just football players. I think some of that has to be taken into consideration as well.”
Saban probably is not wrong. The more the playoffs expand, the less important bowls will be. But bowls were already diminishing in importance when more and more bowls were added.
The 69-year-old Alabama coach expressed his opposition to an expanded playoff not too long ago. Expanding the CFP could also cheapen the regular season because it would allow for teams with more losses to get a chance at the national title.
Saban won’t say it, but he’s probably most against expansion of the playoff because it would give more teams an opportunity to upset his Crimson Tide, similar to the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball.