But he means well.

When Saban’s right, Saban’s right.

“I’ve always said, ‘Let’s play all Power 5 games,'” Saban told ESPN on Friday. “I was in the NFL where we played all the games against NFL teams. But let’s play at least 10 Power 5 games. It would be better for the players, better for the fans, and I think you wouldn’t have to worry that if you lost a game that you wouldn’t have as much of a chance to still be in [the College Football Playoff]. They talk about strength of schedule now, but how do you really evaluate that?”

With growing concern about declining college football attendance numbers, Saban said it’s time the sport starts thinking more about the fans.

“We have to have a good show if we want people to come,” Saban said.

Saban said the model Alabama is discussing would be to play one nonconference Power 5 game annually as part of a home-and-home series and another at a neutral site. That’s as long as the SEC sticks with just eight conference games. The ACC and SEC are the only Power 5 leagues that play eight regular-season conference games, while the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 each play nine.

Saban has previously said he would be in favor of playing nine conference games in the SEC.

Of course, there’s the little matter of practicing what you preach…

This season, of Alabama’s four nonconference games, only the neutral-site season opener against Duke is against a Power 5 school. The others are at home against FBS independent New Mexico State, Southern Miss of Conference USA and FCS school Western Carolina.

But ‘Bama, perhaps goaded by Georgia’s aggressive scheduling moves, is seeking to remedy that going forward.  In any event, add this to Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne’s earlier comments about schedule upgrading as a means of giving fans incentive to attend games gives me faint hope, but hope nevertheless, that we may be in store for some substantive discussion on the subject from schools.

I can’t believe I just typed that.


Filed under College Football, Nick Saban Rules

25 responses to “But he means well.

  1. Schedule upgrades have zero to do with the people who attend and everything to do with those who stroke the checks … The Eye and Mickey Mouse. TV will pay for more compelling matchups … the attending fan gets the benefit.

    I’m certainly not complaining. I love the idea of 8 conference games plus 2 Power 5 games. The benefit Nick has that we don’t is that he has scheduling flexibility with the 2 that we don’t have with Old Fashioned Hate.


  2. Bright Idea

    I agree with upgrading nonconference schedules in the SEC but it takes two to tango. Some ACC and Big Ten schools who aren’t powerhouses will have to agree to come south to ultimately make it all work and how many of them want their stadiums overrun by SEC fans in their own stadiums? Just askin’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gaskilldawg

      It isn’t just SEC fans overrunning away stadiums. Part of the problem is, with some conferences playing OP conference games and only 3 available ooc Saturdays available, it can be a challenge for, say, Ohio State, to find a lot of available teams from other conferences that are available the Saturdays OSU is available.
      Add to that a team with an open date the same day OSU has an open date may have strategic reasons to not play a power 5 that day. For example, we know we have an open Saturday the week before Florida but we aren’t going to schedule OSU or Oklahoma the week before Florida.
      Also, since we do not know our SEC schedule years in advance, imagine if in 2020 we had scheduled to play at Oklahoma the 2nd week then learned we would also play at Alabama a week later!
      We can schedule 2 power 5 opponents a year but sometimes it is hard to schedule the opponents we. and everyone else, want the most.


  3. Bob

    Bama has played 4 away non conference games this CENTURY. Georgia has played that many over the past few years, not even counting Tech. Bama has more excuses than Carter has liver pills. They have talked about scheduling up, but never have acted…UNTIL now. Absolutely they are following in Georgia’s footsteps. Notice after Georgia has home and home games with Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma and FSU, Bama now follows suit.


  4. Greg

    Easy for him to say, not many have the talent on roster that he does. If he was…..say at a Vandy or Duke, he would not be saying this.

    Hell, you may have even more empty stadiums…..cause, some will be losing early (season over). What is good for him, may not be good for CFB.


  5. siskey

    Who are the Power 5 schools lining up to play in Alabama with no return game at their stadium?


  6. FlyingPeakDawg

    9 conference games is a negotiating chip for contract talks with CBS. If SEC goes to another network, say FOX, then they probably get the money they want and the schools will still be on their own to schedule OOC games.


  7. Macallanlover

    I find little fault with any of Nick’s public stated positions about CFB, and what is needed. Upgrading schedules isn’t just happening now from him as it getting trendy, he has consistently voiced support for 9 conference games and gotten no other SEC coach to stand with him. That should be the first step, and it should begin now. Then add one other Power 5 game per year, while eliminating games FCS schools and we are there. Would cost very little to get this going.

    Everyone can diss him all they want, but he is right in these positions. It would be good for attending fans, and would improve CFB all over. I know that the SEC plays more quality games than any other conference, it isn’t about the SOS argument to me, this conference plays a tougher schedule than all the others just because of conference strength alone It is about the lack of competitive contests 3-4 weeks out of every season. Who really wants to waste 25% of each season on this silliness?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bob

      He is absolutely right. But he is also a hypocrite. He could easily have scheduled a second OOC Power 5 team on a home and home basis. He could easily NOT have cancelled the home and home with Michigan State. He could have set the example about a 9 game schedule instead of hiding behind the rhetoric.

      Georgia, not Bama has been the trend setter here. We have had 16 12 game seasons this decade. In 14 of those seasons, Georgia has played 2 power 5 out of conference teams. I am counting Boise State since most people consider them better than 75% of the power 5 anyway. In one season, Georgia played 3 power 5 out of conference opponents.

      Alabama played Oklahoma and UCLA home and home before Nick got there. Since he has been there, they have played Duke in Durham and Penn State at State College. That is it. Lost count of all the cupcakes Bama has played over that time. And 90% of his so called neutral site games have been a far cry from being neutral.

      Yep, Nick is right. He is 100% right. What he says carries a lot of weight. And if he had shown a little leadership, he could have forced this issue. And now, that Kirby and company have gone out and scheduled all these games, Bama has finally decided to put their toe in the water.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tony Barnfart

    Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Clemson and Louisville welcome y’all to the 9 permanent games club. Thank you, but we (8 of the 28 teams between the 2 conferences) don’t need another conference game unless you wanna murder 4 Thanksgiving rivalries. Which would mean you hate America and are racist.


  9. Tony Barnfart

    The worst GD thing that ever happened was adding Missouri and Texas A&M.


  10. I think Saban has recently claimed that it’s hard for Bama to get OOC Power 5 teams to be willing to play them. I have no idea if that’s true or an excuse


  11. CB

    This is a big jump from berating students for leaving blowouts against FCs schools. Saban might be coming around to the idea that he works for the fans not the other way around.