When Nick Saban talks, the college football world usually listens.
That was the case on Wednesday as he spent time at ESPN. The Alabama head coach was asked what he would change about regular season scheduling, and as always, he had his strong opinion.
“We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” Saban said. “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’s Crimson Tide teams have been a major part of the first three years of the College Football Playoff, reaching each season and winning one national championship. His idea, which includes a 10-game conference schedule, may seem a bit out there for some, but the competition, along with TV ratings, would rise.
“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. 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 hasn’t been shy about playing major non-conference opponents, including this season as the Crimson Tide battles Florida State in the season opener at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Saban wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I would rather play Florida State,” Saban said. “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.
If Saban has his way, each and every week will be full of games that mattered when it comes to a playoff. No more cupcake opponents, which the five-time national championship winning coach said teaches you nothing of your team.
“And if you play a really weak team and you win the game 45-7, you still don’t really know for sure if your team is really good or not good. You know exactly what you have to work on to get better, where your strengths, where your weaknesses are, maybe some changes you need to make. And I think it really helps you when you go play big games in your conference, especially on the road down the road.”
The more epic matchups, the better the college football season becomes. Saban just might not be on the wrong track.