You don’t know me, Nick. You just think you know me.

Nick Saban, bless his heart, is trying very hard to make me love him.

Big Ten Conference schools have talked about not scheduling any more football games against teams from the FCS.

That, of course, is the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA. That would mean no more games against teams such as Northern Iowa in Big Ten country and Western Carolina in the South.

What would Nick Saban think of the Southeastern Conference going in that direction?

“I’m for five conferences – everybody playing everybody in those five conferences,” the Alabama coach said Thursday night before speaking at a Crimson Caravan stop. “That’s what I’m for, so it might be 70 teams, and everybody’s got to play ’em. …”

Saban reiterated his desire for the SEC to expand from eight conference games to nine per year for each team.

“For the guys who whine about their fixed rivalries, we have games until 2017 with opening games, so we’re going to play somebody else,” Saban said. “I mean, strength of schedule is important, but also, how about the fans? Don’t they want to see good games and all that?

And then he had to go and spoil it all by saying something stupid.

“And the better the games – maybe you don’t have to win every game to be in the championship game. You know? The Giants won the Super Bowl, and what did they lose? Six or seven games a couple years ago? It’s called competition.”

Coach, if I wanted that sort of competition, I’d just go buy Falcons tickets.


Filed under College Football, Nick Saban Rules

27 responses to “You don’t know me, Nick. You just think you know me.

  1. Pyc dawg

    Nick makes good points, BUT they do not have an in state OOC BCS team they play every year either.

    That makes their decisions much different than UGA, UF & Carolina.


    • The984

      If every team were required to play 12 games against power conference teams, it wouldn’t matter much then. We would have our one OOC game against Tech then would have to find two or three more, depending on how many games the SEC has.


  2. reipar

    Pretty sure he just suggested five super conferences and a 16 team playoff. smh


  3. JasonC

    Gave you blue balls, did he?

    If we knew that was what would happen, I’d be all for dumping Mizzou, Tamu and Kentucky or vandy for FSU, tech and Clemson to keep tradition alive.


  4. uglydawg

    Senator, you really dated yourself (and me) with that Sinatra song reference. That had to be 67 or 68.


    • Dog in Fla

      Learn something new every day. I thought that was Springer, early-’90’s. For stealing the Chairman’s lines, Jerry’s lucky he didn’t have an episode like Machine Gun Jack McGurn’s attempted hit on Joe E. Lewis by throat-slash later immortalized in the movie ‘The Joker Is Wild’ (1957), with Sinatra


  5. mdcgtp

    He is dead on. I have no idea what the actual numbers are, but in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, an out of conference schedule had fewer mid major games of today’s ilk where the outcome is almost preordained. The 70s equivalents of FAU, Buffalo, and GSU were Cal, UVA, Wake Forest, with the occasional Richmond/VMI/Temple. I view the Clemson/SC series that were continuous as largely equivalent to the 7th and 8th conference game we got on expansion. That said, we also occasionally scheduled programs like Pitt, Baylor, BYU, and UCLA that offered an interesting matchup, While they may have been bottom feeder (4-7/3-8) programs relative to football tradition or their conferences, it was not as much of a joke as bringing Tennesse Tech or Coastal Carolina in for a day. Why do we play those games today?

    We play those games for money from attendance of having another home game.

    My point is a simple one. I have a hard time squaring that fact with opposition to an expanded playoff on the basis of money. It is intellectually dishonest to say that what’s special about college football is “every game counts” if there are on average 2-3 of these one EVERY major college teams schedule.

    When was the last time you went to one of those games and walked out thinking, “wow, what a great day to be Dawgs fan. that was really worth the money seeing Brandon Harton get a chance to score a meaningless TD to take a 56-7 lead.” Please spare the “reward the walkon” speech because if that TD is how he values his experience at UGA, he probably does not understand his contribution to the team and his experience with UGA football in that manner)

    There are 124 teams in Div 1-A, which is up from 114 in 2000. Why has that number increased? Because they can collect better paychecks to play these games. Is that a system worth preserving? Do ANY of those 10 teams have a legit shot at a national title? Of course, not.

    One can impugn his motives by saying he has the deepest team that is best suited to handle a more rigorous schedule. Alternatively, one can evaluate the validity of what he is saying that we should require teams that expect to compete for a national title to play other teams that theoretically could compete for that same title. Further, the fans enjoy those games more.

    I am sure this will meet with staunch opposition from some, and its not intended to ruffle feathers, but it is intended to suggest that the logic that the argument against Nick Saban’s comments rest upon seems flawed.


    • My point is a simple one. I have a hard time squaring that fact with opposition to an expanded playoff on the basis of money. It is intellectually dishonest to say that what’s special about college football is “every game counts” if there are on average 2-3 of these one EVERY major college teams schedule.

      Ask Michigan if the Appy State game counted.


      • mdcgtp

        Did Michigan contend for the national title that year? No.

        Would beating ASU have proven Michigan to be a “battle tested” team that would have buttressed their case had they been national title contenders? No.

        So either way…its still meaningless. ASU’s win over Michigan did NOTHING but bring embarrassment to Michigan in exchange for MONEY. Plain and simple. michigan’s scheduled the game for MONEY not the spirit of competition.

        Was ASU 2007 indicative of the average cupcake/payout game that I am referring to? Obviously not

        Does the fact that on rare occasions cupcakes like this have beaten higher profile programs from BCS conferences justify the other 95% of games which you believe “count”? Of course not. in almost every case, those teams that lost to cupcakes probably got swallowed up by conference play.

        So to be clear are you suggesting that this relatively rare the exception to the rule to supports the notion that “every game counts”?

        Answer this, when you analyze a match up between two college football teams, do you assign any weight to “destroying” some patsy?

        Just want to understand the logic flow here….


        • Michigan was ranked fifth going into that game. The reason the Wolverines didn’t contend for the national title was because they lost to Appy State.

          “Every game counts” means just that. Lose the right regular season game or games and you won’t play for all the marbles. With an extended playoff, the margin for error grows significantly, as Saban acknowledges in his comments.


          • mdcgtp

            So you Michigan was worthy as a national championship/playoff contender because they were ranked number 5 on Labor day weekend? Really? I was not aware of a league that selects its playoff teams based upon preseason prognostications. Are you sure the 39-7 drubbing they took the following week from Oregon the losses to Wisconsin and Ohio state later in year did not eliminate.

            Again, so winning games over cupcakes “counts” in your book. In fact a win over a cupcake in your book counts more than a quality loss in a hard fought game. So we are CRYSTAL clear. I want to understand something. by your logic, UGA’s win over Buffalo counts MORE for playing for “all the marbles” in your book than our loss to Alabama in the Championship game. Is that what you are saying? Because if it is, your entire argument rests on a deeply deeply flawed premise.

            I am just curious when Tulane went 11-0 in 1998, were you lobbying for them to play in the national championship game because every game they played counted and the teams that lost should have been eliminated, and your absolutely sure that TCU and Boise State’s unbeaten seasons of late prove that “every game counts”.

            Yes by having a playoff the margin for error does in fact grow, but I am not sure how “significantly” it grows. It grows in a similar fashion to our ability to have played in the SEC championship game after having lost to Carolina the past two seasons. If anything, those losses heightened the fact that we had no margin for error from there on out. Was our loss “invalidated” by the fact that we go to Atlanta? is there a SINGLE UGA fan that does not look at those two losses to Carolina with anything other than anger or frustration?

            In a 12 team tourney a team with 2 losses will in fact make it, but in a world where you eliminate 3 cupcakes games, have a 2 loss season will mean something. Hence, you actually offset some of the “margin for error” with a higher standard.


            • Again, so winning games over cupcakes “counts” in your book. In fact a win over a cupcake in your book counts more than a quality loss in a hard fought game. So we are CRYSTAL clear. I want to understand something. by your logic, UGA’s win over Buffalo counts MORE for playing for “all the marbles” in your book than our loss to Alabama in the Championship game.

              Thanks for putting words in my mouth.


              • mdcgtp

                I did not put a single word in your mouth. You omitted the next sentence which asked if my understanding of your view was correct. Is my view that you value wins over cupcakes tells you more than losses to elite teams correct?

                You wrote:

                “Every game counts” means just that. Lose the right regular season game or games and you won’t play for all the marbles. With an extended playoff, the margin for error grows significantly, as Saban acknowledges in his comments.

                Does “every” game count or just the “right” ones? By your Michigan example did you mean to imply losses to cupcakes are “right” losses that eliminate a team from consideration but losses to elite teams like Bama do not?

                That prompts more questions. Given that you believe some margin for error is appropriate (i.e., “right” losses), how do you calibrate that? is it zero losses against a schedule of bottom feeders? is it one loss against a modest schedule? is it 2 losses against a schedule that features several elite teams?

                More broadly, why is a regular season with 25% of the games against generally vastly inferior competition totally sacrosanct?


  6. Derek

    He couldn’t cut it in the league so he’s trying to bring the nfl to college. Of course in the NFL everyone pretty much stands on equal footing making it very hard to be good for any extended period of time.

    In college he has ALL of the personnel advantages making competing in a NFL-style league very attractive to him. I hope the rest of college football sees how self-serving this asshole is and that following his lead will ultimately ruin all that is good about college football.


    • Dog in Fla

      In today’s episode of Hold Nick Back:

      “I’ve got more important things to do than sit around and read what Bob Stoops has to say about anything.”

      And normtide says May 10, 2013 10:26 AM:

      “Nick Saban then dropped the Mic and walked off the stage.”


  7. Slaw Dawg

    To the extent he’s suggesting all FBS schools be required to play only other FBS schools, count me in. Same with 9 conf games. To the extent he’s suggesting we follow that up with an extended playoff system, count me out.

    My guess (and really, I don’t consider myself a cynic): within 10-15 years, 16-20 SEC schools will play 9 or 10 conf games in a 4 division set up; most will still have 1-2 cupcake games (at least); and there will be a 16 team playoff. Big bucks for all concerned. There will still be empty reg season seats, because it’ll be all about making the playoffs. Bowl games will be the CFB version of the NIT. The rivalry games will mean less and less to newer fans.

    Don’t like it, but it’s where I think it’s heading.


    • mdcgtp

      Ironically, the likely manner in which those games cease being schedule is the existence of a playoff.

      The biggest argument against a playoff is the fact that its unclear that we can get to a logical standard with a transparent process for selecting the 8 or 12 teams that might qualify. Are we looking for the best record? the best overall “body of work”? the best performances against the “toughest opponents”?

      Dan Wetzel did an investigative article on the flaws with the BCS computers as well as their lack of transparency. We have to define the priorities in selecting these teams. Every single one of the computer bowls almost always has one or two teams ranked dramatically different than the polls. Sometimes they are prescient in that view, but most of the time they are data anomalies that really call the veracity of the analysis in question.

      is comparing how we would expect two different teams would fare with eachother’s schedule a right measure? Perhaps. There is no doubt in my mind that Notre Dame and Ohio State were two GLARING examples of teams that clearly could NOT have gone through any of “top 6” of the SEC’s schedule and claimed they would have been “unbeaten”. that said, that really exacerbates the conference wars that exist today that produce non-sense like Bob Stoopes comments.

      Is it through the analytics like those of Bill Connelly and Brian Fremau, which while instructive each have their own idiosyncrasies? I DEEPLY respect what both are trying to accomplish but there are some flaws in each that I REALLY don’t like.

      I am pretty sure a LOT of the standard measures that get cited wins over ranked teams, opponents winning percentage, etc. have their flaws.

      That said, I don’t really fear devaluing the regular season by so much that its would not be MORE than offset by the benefit of a GREAT post season. if its 12 (4 teams get buys, 8 teams play in) out of 70 teams that is still MUCH MUCH less the 12 out of 32 that qualify for the NFL’s post season. Even going to 16 does not change that.

      I am not suggesting that I have confidence these issues are easily solved, but to say that the regular season is sacrosanct (when its not) or the existing BCS (or even the worse old school bowl system) is sufficient such that a playoff system just seems to rest on very little logic.

      What makes the NFL “more boring” is the sameness to it. That sameness is a function of the fact that its the “NATIONAL” Football league. Teams can’t recruit nor can they gain much advantage in attracting players based upon their region. they hold a draft with the same number of “base” picks assigned per year that teams can choose to use or trade. while some franchises are more valuable and have better economics, for the most part the money is pretty similar as they all operate under the same cap. Hence, the strategies tend to converge. I fail to see how implementing a playoff system in college would cause those conditions to exist in college football.


      • Derek

        Your are very far off in your guess as to why some of us hate an expanded (or in my case any) playoff format. It isn’t about who’s picking the teams or what decisions they wil make. What we are afraid we will lose is the consequential nature of each Saturdays game. I don’t want to be watching the wlocp one day knowing that the only that gets decided that day is tourney seeding. There is a reason it’s called the No Fun League and one of them is because 8-8 might get you in the playoffs. For 30 plus years I’ve followed college football and how the fans begged for a better more objective way to pick a champion and I’ve always wondered why the few times there has been real controversy in that span were enough to turn everything upside down. I can only think of 4 years in 35 that were really controversial. The other thing that annoys the hell out of me is that the sec conference championship game will be an elimination game and the team that finished 2nd in the division of the losing side will almost always be in the playoff. That is just stupid and senseless but it will happen. The other thing you’ll see is that a deserving team will be kept out simply because it will set up a rematch. If we had a 4 team playoff last year the objective seeding would have put bama(1) vs. uga (4) and nd(2) vs ore.(3). However, we would have fallen to fifth to avoid the rematch and UF would have played bama. So what did UF get for losing to us? A chance at another natty. Stupid, stupid, stupid.


        • mdcgtp

          do you really believe an 8-4 (let alone 6-6 team) is going to make a 12 team tourney?

          there have been more than 4 split national titles in the last 35 years. I think you are overestimating the number of times the champion has been clear because you are not counting the number of years where more than 2 times had reasonable claims to playing for the title. for example, Miami may have destroyed nebraska in 2001, but Oregon was passed over. How do you correct for that in your estimation?

          i started following in 1976. off the top of my head, 1977, 1978, 1983 (recall auburn got passed over by miami), 1984 (byu), 1989 (split title), 1990 (split), 1991, 1993, 1997 (split), 1998, 2001, 2003 (split), 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011.

          In a 12 team field, the loser of the SEC championship game might not be eliminated from competition. In a 12 team field, rematches are inevitable and will not factor into who gets selected.

          UF was a bit of an odd duck last year. I can’t remember a team in recent history that won as a high a percentage of games over elite teams that really was not “great”. they BARELY avoided losing to Mizzou and had several other unimpressive performances. While not playing an SEC championship game would have allowed UF into 4 team tourney, they certainly stood a greater chance of winning a national championship in a system where they only had to win 1 or 2 games as opposed to a playoff that required them to win 3 games.

          The more games you play. the less random who wins becomes. Certainly, there is risk that a “hot” team prevails over a team that appeared to be the best for 12 weeks, but a “hot” team has to win 3 (or more) times, which tends to reduce the possibility of an “unworthy” team winning.


          • Slaw Dawg

            Why is it so important to have some allegedly purer process for getting a CFB national champion? Was there something broken in the bowl system? Did fans hate the sport? Were the TV sets off when the Sooners played the Huskers or the Dawgs played the Gators? What exactly are we trying to fix with a play off system?

            The regular season of CFB is the best time an American (certainly this American) can have as a sports spectator. That was true in 1973, that was true in ’83, ’93 and hopefully will be this year. It’s more fun than the NFL, which has a playoff system. It stirs more passion and tradition than the passion and tradition proud MLB, which has a playoff system. It is more popular by far than the NBA or the NHL, which have endless playoff seasons. It fills more seats than NCAA basketball, which has a friggin tournament.

            So why exactly is there a need to make it more like sports that are less popular, less fun, less fan-passionate?


          • Derek

            How do you correct it? How about being ok without a correction? Do I know that the 1984 byu team would have lost to half the teams in the top 25? No. Might have though. My point is: so what? What was the harm in the mythical national champion? Did it ruin any lives? No. What we knew was that if you won all your games it would almost always take care of itself. Other than auburn 2003 is there any other team that won them all and got shafted? With that exception in our lifetime every big time program that ran the table got a pretty trophy saying they were the best. It really wasn’t broke so it didn’t need fixing and we definitely don’t need “fixes” that ruin the importance of regular season games that have heretofore meant everything.


  8. AusDawg85

    Another conversation about getting CFB to be like the NFL. For the proponents of playoffs who liked the NFL model, you’ll get your wish (yeah…a .500 team can win it all!). For those who wanted a playoff but did not think things would become like the NFL…you’ve been sooo misguided. And for those of us who thought the playoffs would lead to the death of CFB as we know it…we’ll soon see how right that is.

    And get off my lawn!


  9. Rebar

    Look, the best you can hope for is that the SEC keeps the recruiting edge. We keep putting kids in the NFL from all the conference, we should not be denied. They want a playoff? Be ready to have at LEAST 2 of our teams there.