Nick Saban: "So when you start saying 'this league champion should be in it against this league champion,' we don’t have that kind of parity (in college football). This is not the NFL." (Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A)
Some of college football’s biggest names endorsed the impending four-team playoff system to determine future national champions on Tuesday.
“My opinion is people want to see the best four teams play,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said after playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge celebrity golf tournament in Greensboro, Ga.
“I don’t think we need to be watering it down with ‘You need to win a [conference] championship’ … they want to see the best four teams play.”
Quick recap: Last week, conference commissioners huddled with Notre Dame’s athletic director and other college officials to make changes to the current BCS system. The group left the meeting with several proposals – all involving four-team formats – to discuss with their conference’s coaches, athletic directors and school presidents.
The group is scheduled to meet again in June to possibly finalize a plan which would take effect for the 2014 season. There are many issues to be resolved, such as the process on how to select four teams and when and where the semifinals and championship game would take place.
“I have always been for a plus-one, but I think it’s important to keep the integrity of the bowls because I think they provide a lot of positive self-gratification for the kids in college,” Saban said. “I’d like to see [the playoffs] incorporated into the bowl system some kind of way.
“Why don’t we play [the semifinals] in the those Jan. 1 bowls? And on Jan. 9 play the next game? It’s not as complicated as we’re trying to make. It’s one game.”
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has some reservations about playoffs, but conceded that he hasn’t followed it closely enough yet to formulate a true opinion.
“Here’s my experience: We had two real nice runs [at Florida] when we played for national championships,” Meyer said. “And if I had told our team that we had to play one more game, I’m not sure we could’ve gotten another game out of them.
“I always think about those darn students, or student-athletes. Can we play 15 games? That would be a 15-game season now. I don’t know the whole story. Do they give us a few more scholarships because we’re going to deal with injuries? There’s a lot of planning involved.
“You say 15 games. Imagine that year we beat Alabama that was No. 1, and then we beat Oklahoma that was No. 1. Then it’s like ‘OK, by the way, you’ve got one more.’ You’re down to nothing left.”
Meyer was in the minority. Here’s what others had to say:
- Clemson’s Dabo Swinney: “I’ve always kind of been on record for the plus-one model … I think it would work well, and salvage the bowl system the way it is. And also maybe give a little bit more definitive answer to who the national champion is, and satisfy that side of the ledge. But we’ll see what happens.”
- Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher: “I have no problem with [playoffs]. I just want to make sure we don’t change for change, we have a good plan on how we’re going to do it, and everybody is on equal footing. You know what I mean? I think that’s what we’ve got to be careful of … I think it has got to be the four best teams. You can’t get into conference champions. I think the best four football teams need to be in if you’re going to try to find the true champion.” What’s the best way to get to four teams? “You’ve got ratings and things. But like I say, it doesn’t matter what you do. When you have [four] teams, No. 5 is going to get mad now, too. If you go to eight or 16 teams, somebody is going to be mad … But it can’t be about conference champions. It’s got to be the best football teams.”
Surprisingly, FSU's Jimbo Fisher is against conference champions getting automatic bids to college football's Final Four (Chick-fil-A)
- Tennessee’s Derek Dooley: “This is something that has been talked about for over 20 years. I’ve always been in favor of the plus-one model. I think it’s a great way to preserve the one thing that makes college football special, and that’s the regular season, but still polish up the postseason to get that national championship right. I think it will be a good thing.” What’s the best way to get to four teams? “I don’t know. I’d just like to be there one day.”
- More Nick Saban: How to select four teams? “I don’t think the way we selected and ranked teams was far off. But when there are three teams, somebody gets left out. Like when I was at LSU, Southern Cal got left out. Auburn didn’t get in one year when they were 13-0. So that would eliminate that. I think everybody wants to see the four best teams. There’s not parity in leagues. So when you start saying this league champion should be in it against this league champion, we don’t have that kind of parity [in college football]. This is not the NFL.” Should the SEC have more input on the selection process than other leagues? “I don’t know about that … I think the four best teams ought to play.”
- More Urban Meyer: What did the Big Ten commissioner tell coaches about the playoff proposal? “He just wanted our opinions, from a lot of coaches. You know, you don’t really understand the landscape. We’re just worried about our team. A big concern I’ve got to think about … Texas isn’t playing Texas A&M any more. Where is this headed? I’m a traditionalist about college football, so I love it. But I understand something has to change. When things like that start to happen … What in the world? [Are we doing it] for more money? Why are we doing this?” Have you heard about having the semifinals before Christmas and the championship after? “I think that’s what they are talking about. Two games after Christmas? Good luck.”
Again, the committee will meet again in June.
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