Nick Saban wouldn’t say if it was necessarily a bad thing, but the Alabama coach did make one point clear in a recent interview with ESPN — the College Football Playoff has made the other bowl games less important.
Only two bowls get to be part of the CFP semifinals — this year, the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl — before the two winners meet in the national championship game. For teams not in that top four, their bowl game will have less at stake.
“We kind of created this trend,” Saban told ESPN on Wednesday. “I said as soon as we had a playoff, we were going to minimize the importance of all the other bowl games. I’m not saying whether it’s good or bad, it kind of is what it is.
“I don’t know where all this is going, but I don’t think it’s going to change. Is it good? Probably not. But you can’t blame the kids. It’s a product of what we created.”
It hasn’t been an issue for Saban’s team, as the Crimson Tide have made the College Football Playoff in each of the system’s first three seasons. They were the No. 1 seed in 2014, but lost to Ohio State in a semifinal bowl. In 2015, they were the top seed and won the national title.
This year, Alabama is again the top seed, and it will play Washington in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.
There has also been criticism that the playoff system needs to be expanded to eight teams — especially after conference champions Penn State and Oklahoma were left out this season. If that happens, then what will Saban’s opinion be on the even-lesser bowls after that? Perhaps we’ll find out soon enough.