This was supposed to be our day. The MAC media day was held at one of the holiest sites in American Football, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was a great event, with a nice speech from the commissioner. The coaches held court as they regaled the media with tales of seasons gone by and optimism for the future. The player’s eyes lit up with each question, as they realized what they love most about playing football, actually playing football, was close at hand.
Yet here I am, feeling a need to write a post about Nick Saban and the college football playoff. At the Q&A session at the end of Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher’s speech, someone asked about the chances of a MAC team making the playoffs. He paused, gave a little smile, and replied, “I hope so!”
I felt the same optimism as Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re saying there’s a chance!”
Any sane person knows that it’s far-fetched, to say the least. Sure, I could probably come up with a scenario where it’s possible, but it’s not worth discussing. Currently there is a lot of talk of expanding the playoffs, and possibly including the best G5 team. Some are even advocating for a separate G5 playoffs that puts the winner in the actual playoffs.
And then along comes Nick Saban, with literally the worst idea I have ever heard in regards to college football. According to this article on ESPN, he thinks the “power 5” should only play other “power 5” teams. There have been wiser words of wisdom uttered after the phrase, “hold my beer!” than this gem.
One, he thinks that somehow more people will tune in to watch Bama destroy Purdue than they do to watch them destroy Kent State. He is wrong. No one cares about a blowout, period.
Second, he thinks that by eliminating needing 6 wins to make a bowl game, this will somehow enhance viewership.
Per the article, this was Saban’s quote,
"You eliminate the six wins to get in a bowl game and now you can have a different kind of scheduling that is more fan interest, more good games, bring out the better quality team," he said, "and whether you expand the playoff or have a system where it's like now -- we take the top 12 teams and decide what bowl game they go to -- just take them all.
It wont. A 3-9 Indiana fan base doesn’t travel to their own stadium, they certainly aren’t going to be flocking to a bowl game. It wont matter if the 9 losses are to “better” competition.
We already know what happens with participation trophies, i.e. the giant college basketball tournament. The regular season is a snooze fest. There are absolutely zero great story lines in major college basketball until the one and done NCAA tournament. How do you get every single media member discussing whether or not a player kicking someone was intentional, for months? By making the regular season virtually meaningless. Let’s not do this to college football.
This arrogant idea completely acknowledges the fact that there is a gap between the best of the best in the P5 vs. the best of the best of the G5, which there usually is. However, it completely ignores the fact that good G5 teams are much better than bad P5 teams.
He should know first hand, he lost to a Sunbelt team while at Bama. His complete disregard for the tier of schools that he both played at, and gave him his first head coaching gig, is aggravating. What is even more aggravating is that he is hardly alone in his sentiments.
College football should go in the opposite direction, especially at bowl time. I want to see more G5 vs. P5 bowl games. It makes the most sense. Sure, I don’t think the very best G5 schools belong in the playoffs most seasons but I love the David vs. Goliath story line. They should match the best of the G5 vs. the second tier P5 schools, and that’s where the fireworks would happen. I enjoyed watching the Wisconsin Badgers take on our Western Michigan Broncos, didn’t you?
Just as exciting, match the 9-3 type G5 schools against the 6 and 7 win P5 schools. While they didn’t win 9 games, Miami was certainly playing like a team that could have by the end of the season. Their bowl game against Mississippi State was fantastic.
I would make the argument that Nick Saban is the greatest college coach of all time. He is winning titles in an era where it’s the most difficult to do so. That doesn’t mean that his idea for the future is good, or even tolerable. It’s not, it’s terrible.