Nick’s for nine.

There were rumors that last week in Destin Nick Saban was strongly pushing the SEC to adopt a nine-game conference schedule.  Today, he came out of the closet about that.

But for the first time publicly Wednesday, Saban indicated that he would like to see the league go to a nine-game schedule, even if it means Alabama backing away from nonconference games such as the Sept. 1 opener against Michigan in the Dallas area.

“I’m satisified with what everybody determined, but in all honesty, I was for playing more games,” Saban said …

He was fair enough to acknowledge that some schools, unlike Alabama, have in state rivals from other conferences, but it’s hard to argue with his logic about expanding the conference schedule:  “When you increase the size of the league by 15 percent, you’ve almost got to play more games to get a true indication of who’s the best team in the league…”

If the choice is between bolstering conference identity or polishing up the resume for the postseason, I know which side I’m choosing.  Too bad the ADs and the coaches see it differently.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Nick’s for nine.

  1. cube

    If he really wanted to see it happen, he would have said that he’d still play the Michigan type games. That way, the Florida-FSU, SC-Clemson, and UGA-GT excuses don’t mean much.

    Typical Saban double-speak. He wants it to happen but he doesn’t want it to happen.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Exactly. The line, “even if it means Alabama backing away from nonconference games such as the Sept. 1 opener against Michigan in the Dallas area” is a problem. There’s no reason that a nine game SEC schedule would have to mean that at all. It would just mean you have to back away from one nonconference game a year… it’s your business if you turn down Michigan or if you turn down Utah State.

      I know that UGA got a home game payday for the Boise State neutral game, so it’s not like schools would lose money trading in a home game for a neutral site tlt. Because of the almighty dollar, that might have to become the most common method of getting top-flight nonconference matchups if the SEC went to nine games, but it’s certainly doable.

      If someone wants to make the argument that a nine game league schedule either requires cancelling tough nonconference games or hurts your ability to win a title, then my response is: LSU 2011. The Tigers played one of the most rugged schedules I’ve ever seen, and they ran the table up until the BCS Championship Game, which itself was a game that I felt was lost by the coaching staff. If you’re good enough to be the national champion, you’re going to win games much more often than not. LSU has titles from years when they lost games, of course, and Alabama won the title with a hard-fought loss last year. Florida’s titles have all featured regular season losses. You can get there if you have a loss, and it certainly seems like that sort of thing is going to be even easier if we’re going to start “deciding it on the field” with a four-team playoff. So sack up. In my opinion, the 2002 Georgia Bulldogs remain the best UGA team that I’ve had the pleasure to see in person (born in 1980). That team lost a heartbreaker in Jacksonville, one that they could have just as easily won. I will always feel that they would have beaten any team in the SEC that year on any field on any day, including Florida, more often than not. I also feel that if we’d had this four-team playoff back then, that team would have won a national championship. It wouldn’t have mattered if the 2002 ‘Dawgs had to play an extra game. So let’s just go play the extra damn game and stop whining.

      • Cojones

        Cheez, you worried me getting to the last sentence. I agree. If the lack of playing 9 SEC games was coach driven, why do we have a coach stating the obvious?

        I flat-out agree with Saban’s stated reasoning. The College Football Game that I’m used to had coaches who all agreed with Saban’s words. Not to espouse that reasoning shows a politically motivated backbone toward the NC. I just don’t want one of those chrystal balls that you could never wash the smell off.

      • Slaw Dawg

        I’m a little late on this, but “just play the extra damn game and stop whining” rates multiple +1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1 from me. Right the hell on, m’man!

  2. reipar

    I love how he wanted the 9 game schedule last year, but now his logic is based on the fact we have increased the size of the conference.

    Basically he wants another conference game, but will keep the same number of cupcakes (bye bye PSU, Mich, Etc.)

  3. I wanna red cup

    I agree with Nick. Let’s play nine, the Yaller Jackits, one directional, and one good BCS team. The alternative is suck ass home schedules like 2012

  4. DCB Dawg

    Man, it’s getting harder and harder to laud a sport whose so-called best teams are afraid to play tough games.

  5. Doug

    Say what you will about Saban, but lately he’s been on the side of the angels (or at least the fans) when it comes to quite a lot of things — playoff formats, SEC scheduling, etc.

    I mean, I don’t think for a minute he’d be for any of this stuff if he didn’t somehow think it served his own best interests, but he’s still keeping the faith a lot better than Mike Slive (or even Greg McGarity) is at the moment.

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Cupcakes allow your starters to rest. Cupcakes allow you to play your 2nd and 3rd string extensively in game situations. Cupcakes allow people who normally do not get to see their favorite SEC team in person actually get into the stadium. All my games as a kid were cupcakes – we couldn’t afford the tickets to the big games.

    I think of CFB as two different seasons – the performance season and the developmental season. Given NCAA restrictions on practice time and off-season work, the developmental part of the season is not a throw-away concern.

    I agree, too many cupcakes stink. But 2 or 3 a year are necessary, IMO.

  7. Bryant Denny

    I happen to disagree with Coach Saban about playing nine conference games. My guess is he’s using some top-level Jedi mind trick to work you all over. Can’t you see what’s happening? You all are agreeing with Nick Saban. :)

    Senator, your last paragraph was the first time I have heard this issue stated as such and I like how you describe it. From my perspective, though, as an obnoxious Alabama fan, it’s never been about bolstering the SEC or it’s identity. It’s been about winning – whether it’s 1973, 2003 or 2013.

    Have a good evening,

    BD