Saban’s way

Offers direction for college football

<div class="article_viewer_container"><div class="this_article"><div id="articleViewerPopup_articleViewer" class="article_viewer ArticleViewer text use-3d ltr" data-olive-control="ArticleViewer"><div class="animation-wrapper"><div class="align-wrapper offset-wrapper"><div class="zoom-wrapper"><div class="article" lang="en" xml_lang="en" data-view-mode="text"><div class="Content">

When Alabama’s Nick Saban speaks, people tend to listen.

<p class="indent">Six national championships gives him a powerful podium.

<p class="indent">And if he had his way, teams in the Southeastern Conference and the other Power Five conferences would play games only among themselves.

<p class="indent">The SEC would also play nine conference games instead of eight.

<p class="indent">More?

<p class="indent">He worries that any expansion of the four-team College Football Playoff would further diminish the bowl games.

<p class="indent">The observations came Wednesday when Saban addressed SEC Media Days in Atlanta, which is always the highlight of the event.

<p class="indent">His desire for schools to play nine conference games, which the Big 12 and Pac-12 already do, was in direct opposition to what SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said two days earlier was the preference of the schools.

<p class="indent">“But I’ve always been an advocate of playing nine or 10 SEC games and a couple other games against some other good opponents that everybody would be happy to watch,” Saban said.

<p class="indent">Preferably the “other” games would be against other Power Five conference schools, he said.

<p class="indent">His point was that the fans and players deserve it.

<p class="indent">“We (can) have more really, really good games on TV for the players,” he said. “We can’t have fans who pay a lot of money for tickets and boxes and logos, who support our programs, to pay for games that no one is interested in watching.”

<p class="indent">Alabama will open the season Sept. 1 against Louisville in Orlando, Florida. The neutral-site games have become quite a trend, particularly among high-profile teams. LSU will open on Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas, against Miami, the seventh time in nine years the Tigers have played their opener at a neutral site.

<p class="indent">“Neutral-site games really launched our program in Alabama when we first came there,” Saban said. “But I think philosophically we’re sort of changing our thoughts on that and our future scheduling and trying to get into more home and homes.”

<p class="indent">Again, he said, he thought fans paying top dollar deserved better for their true home games.

<p class="indent">All, in his mind, should be against other Power Five schools.

<p class="indent">“I think it would help us determine who should be in the playoffs,” Saban said. “And you might not have to go undefeated to get into the playoffs, because there would be more games against high-quality opponents, which would help determine who the best teams are.”

<p class="indent">It might not solve the mild controversy of last year, when a one-loss Tide team won the national championship without even winning its conference division title.

<p class="indent">Central Florida didn’t make the playoffs despite an undefeated regular season. UCF was ridiculed in some circles for claiming a national championship to the point of making up a trophy.

<p class="indent">“I have tremendous amount of compassion for UCF and what they accomplished this year going undefeated,” Saban said. “I’m not responsible for the system that determines who gets in the playoffs. But I think they did a good job of determining who got in the playoffs, and we can have another discussion about the future of the playoffs and how many teams should get in the playoffs.”

<p class="indent">Expanding it, however, isn’t the answer, he said.

<p class="indent">“You’re going to minimize the effect of bowl games, which I stood up here 10 years ago and said, as soon as we do this (start playoffs), it’s going to diminish bowl games, the importance of bowl games,” Saban said. “Everybody would just be interested in the playoffs.

<p class="indent">“Well, that’s where we are right now. I mean, we have players choosing not to play in bowl games because it’s not important because they’re going to save themselves for the draft. All of these things are not good for college football.”

</div></div></div></div></div></div></div><div class="odn-icon close_button"> </div></div><div class="status_bar articleView"><div class="breadcrumbs_ctrl Breadcrumbs" data-olive-control="odn.BreadcrumbsControl"><div class="sections_container"><div class="selected_section">Sports</div></div></div></div>

<strong>‘I’ve always been an advocate of playing nine or 10 SEC games and a couple other games against some other good opponents that everybody would be happy to watch.’</strong>

<strong>Nick Saban</strong>

Alabama coach on keeping college football competitive and interesting

””<p>NCAA college football head coach Nick Saban of Alabama speaks during the Southeastern Conference Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/John Amis)</p>John Amis

Crime

Sulphur High student arrested after threat made

Crime

Sheriff: Escapee shot after firing at officers

Local News

Governor optimistic about federal hurricane aid for SW La.

Local News

Eastbound lane of I-10 bridge remains closed after fiery crash

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Finally, a feel-good movie

Business News

$21M rice mill should be complete by next harvest

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting

Crime Brief

Lake Arthur man loses hunting privileges

Local News

Higgins says he will vote against raising debt limit

Local News

Field of education plays major role in Broussard household

Local News

Driver, passenger killed in collision with 18-wheeler

Local News

Colo. man struck, killed in Calcasieu

Local News

The Last Island Hurricane of 1856: Killer storm wiped out a pre-Civil War resort island

Local News

Volunteer of Week: Stanford dedicates life to city

Local News

Slow rebuild: Local officials say recovery still a ways off