Nick Saban thinks the entire bowl selection system should be changed
For many, the institution of the College Football Playoff in 2014 is a welcome change to the landscape of college football. At the same time, there are people out there who think the sport’s postseason needs further changes. One of those people is Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
On Tuesday’s stop in Montgomery of the Crimson Caravan, Saban was asked about the SEC’s decision to stay away from a nine-game conference schedule. His response went beyond the issue of conference schedules.
“I think we have to change the whole system,” Saban said, per Al.com. “I understand everybody’s point of view on this. Everybody wants to be bowl eligible; they look at it like if we have another conference game, that’s seven more losses of everyone which would minimize the number of teams that could get in bowl games.
“Well I think on the other end of it, the committee that’s going to pick the top four teams for the playoff are really picking the top 12 teams for all six sort of championship bowl games, whatever they call it now. Well, why don’t we do it like basketball and let them pick all the teams for all the bowl games. Then it doesn’t matter what your record is.”
The College Football Playoff selection committee already chooses the teams who participate in the six bowl games (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Peach) tied with the Playoff, so Saban believes it could decide the participants in the other bowls as well.
Additionally, Saban thinks the qualifications for bowl eligibility should be reevaluated as well.
“I mean, who’s to say having six wins and having a 6-6 season is what qualifies to go to a bowl game,” Saban said. “If you play in a tough league and you play a tough schedule and you win a couple big games – RPI or whatever you want to call it – and even though you may lose to some very good teams you should still have an opportunity to go to a bowl game because your team may be better than another team who played a lesser schedule.
“If we do that, then more people would not be so concerned about the type of schedule they played and the number of wins that they got.”
Saban makes an interesting point here. Using a system similar to college basketball’s, where a committee picks each bowl team with an emphasis on RPI, would be a fascinating approach.
While the six-win plateau is good for rebuilding programs who get a taste of bowl exposure, it can be argued that there are teams who may have a 5-7 record against top-level competition that get passed over for a bowl game when they have a clear advantage over a 6-6 or 7-5 team from a lesser conference.
Additionally, if the number of wins had no impact on a team’s bowl chances, teams would probably be less inclined to schedule weak opponents in the non-conference portion of the schedule.
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