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Saban rips ‘self-absorbed people’, their playoff models

Allstate BCS National Championship Game - LSU v Alabama Getty Images

The battle between the SEC and Big Ten: it not’s just for on-field breakfast anymore.

Earlier this month, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, a powerful proponent of a four-team playoff model that would consist of at least three conference winners instead of the four top-ranked teams, appeared to take a shot at Alabama when asked about the future makeup of a college football playoff.

I don’t have a lot of regard for that team,” Delany said when asked about a non-divisional winner qualifying for what will become a revamped postseason in the sport.  While Delany didn’t specifically mention the Tide, and later claimed that he wasn’t anyway, there’s little way around the fact that he was, at least in part, getting a shot in at the Tide; following a 2011 season that saw them fail to win the SEC West let alone the conference, UA beat fellow SEC member LSU in January to claim its second BcS title in three years and the sixth straight overall for the conference.

The combination of that rematch, the overall dominance of the SEC the past several years and the desire to protect the Rose Bowl at all costs has led to a push by Delany and others to limit any four-team playoff to, essentially, only teams that have won their respective conferences — or even a bastardized “playoff” in the form of a plus-one in order to insulate the Granddaddy of Them All.

Such talk has apparently gotten to the head coach of last season’s non-division-winning, BcS-title-winning team.  In his most pointed comments to date, and while not mentioning Delany or the Big Ten/Pac-12 specifically, Nick Saban fired a shot directly across the bow of that rosy entity, ripping unnamed people for what he sees as an effort to do what’s best for themselves and not what’s best for the sport.

“It’s self-absorbed people who are worried about how it affects their circumstance or their league rather than what’s best for college football who would want to do that,” Saban said at the SEC’s annual Destin, Fla., meetings, responding to a question about a conference champs-only playoff. “It’s not what’s best for the fans because they’ve made it very clear what they want it to be.”

To the credit of the Big Ten/Pac-12, though, it seems as if they are willing to “compromise” on a playoff model, with conference champs qualifying for a four-team field only if they’re ranked in the top six, with the other spot or spots being filled by the highest-ranked non-conference-winning team or teams.

Saban specifically and the SEC in general, however, want to see a field that consists of the four highest-ranked teams, period.

“People want to see the best four teams play in a playoff,” he said. “The problem in college football is there’s not equal parity in the leagues. Some leagues are stronger than others in different years. It’s not always going to be where the SEC is stronger than another league. There’s going to be years when other leagues are stronger than the SEC. It’s not an SEC thing. History in recent years would say that, but that’s how it’s been all the way through.

“I think you’re going to get a lot of real complaining if we have a four-team playoff and we go through all this that we’re going through to try to implement this and execute it and, all of a sudden, next year we have the No. 1 team, the No. 3 team, the No. 7 team and the No. 11 team being the four teams in the playoffs. There’s going to be a mutiny on the ship, there’s no question about that.”

Last season, Big Ten champ Wisconsin was the No. 10 team in the final regular season BcS standings and would’ve qualified for a playoff berth — ahead of Alabama and others — if the conference champs-only model had been in place.

By the end of the SEC’s meetings this week, the conference is expected to have an official stance on its vision of what a college football postseason should look like.  Based on precedence, there’s little doubt that vision will consist of taking the four highest-ranked teams regardless of placement in their conference standings.

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82 Responses to “Saban rips ‘self-absorbed people’, their playoff models”
  1. joshuavkidd says: May 30, 2012 9:19 AM

    I think what the fans really want, if it was up to us, is an 8 team playoff with at least 1st round games on campus, if not 1st and 2nd round. No one ,outside of the southeast, wants to be flying to Orlando, Atlanta and New Orleans on consecutive weekends… Also i think its fair to say that most people could care less about the “bowls”. Capital One, Sugar, Alamo, Fiesta..Papa Johns blah blah blah who gives a damn! Give me top 10 teams facing off on campus with fans going crazy and I’ll pay to watch that!

  2. chmba says: May 30, 2012 9:20 AM

    Remember, Saban was at Michigan State and may have some old issue with Delaney and/or Big 10. That said, if the playoff no matter what form, does not pit the best teams against each other it will turn into another NCAA fiasco!

  3. chmba says: May 30, 2012 9:25 AM

    @ joshuavkidd:

    Amen…the bowls are nothing but chamber of commerce money pits with no real interest in welfare of college football and plenty of interest in self promotion and corruption a la Fiesta Bowl and all of the bowls and the free vacations and free football games for their “scouts” to look at teams.

  4. joshuavkidd says: May 30, 2012 9:33 AM

    i really don’t understand why schools haven’t looked up and realized how much more they could be pocketing by hosting these events on their own! And its not just the schools that get to pocket the cash, all these small towns and communities would get a huge influx of money from the media, fans, etc coming onto campus.

  5. cometkazie says: May 30, 2012 9:33 AM

    I think Nick has made some good points.

    If anything, the regular season needs to be cut back one game, but that means loss of income.

    Is it about the kids or about the school/conference/NCAA coffers?

    I love the college regular season and have very little interest in bowl games, opposite of the NFL, where the playoffs are so much more interesting to me, at least.

    YMMV, of course.

  6. joepa400 says: May 30, 2012 9:40 AM

    The reason the big ten teams don’t have top 5 rankings is because they beat each other up all season long, unlike the sec where Florida or Alabama dominate every year, except for the occassional Auburn or Lsu. Every year its Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconson. Thats why Conference winners need to play for the N.Championship

  7. nittanybluehen says: May 30, 2012 9:46 AM

    The SEC is definitely the best conference and would often get two teams into a four team playoff, so their preference for the ‘top four’ model is understandable.

    However, I’m not sure that continued SEC dominance is what’s best for college football, so a model that would help maintain it is probably not best for the sport as Saban suggests. Last year’s national championship succeeded in matching the top two teams in the country, but it was also one of the least anticipated and least watched championship game ever.

    College football stands a real risk of becoming a regional sport isolated to the southeast if the SEC ends up with three playoff teams every year. That is not good for the sport in the same way it wouldn’t be good for baseball if the Yankees won the world series nine out of every ten seasons.

  8. jimbo75025 says: May 30, 2012 9:53 AM

    Nick has a point. While I admit to being an SEC fan, the dominance of the last 6 years is not going to go on forever. When all the changes finally do go down, there is no guarantee that the SEC is still the top dog. It would be interesting to see what would happen to the thoughts of the Big 10 if Michigan or Ohio State were shut out of the playoffs due to the rules they are pushing for. Both schools are gonna be tough in the near future so could very well happen. For there to be any real viable playoff, you need at least a few wild cards there.

  9. joshuavkidd says: May 30, 2012 9:54 AM

    The only thing I care about is that BIGTEN teams traveled on average 800+ more miles to play in bowl games than their opponents, which means a huge chunk of their fan base was also forced to travel… try doing that in back to back weeks. thanks to mgoblog.

    Avg miles differential (how far a team had to travel, compared to their opponent: + = traveling further)
    Big 10: +812
    ACC: -15
    Big XII: -137
    SEC: -399
    Pac 10: -470

  10. drummerhoff says: May 30, 2012 9:58 AM

    Delany & Scott are hypocrites.

    All along they said they wanted to protect the sanctity of the regular season, but now want to privledge conference champions.

    Well, you can’t have it both ways! If a 3 loss Big10 team ‘gets hot’ and wins the “ledges” division and the conference championship game, according to Delany, that team should have access to the 4 team playoff OVER a one loss team that played in the same division as the #1 team in the country?
    How does the Delany/Scott model protect the regular season?

  11. overratedgators says: May 30, 2012 10:06 AM

    “The battle between the SEC and Big Ten: it not’s just for on-field breakfast anymore.”

    ————–

    OUCH. Well played, sir.

  12. rolltide510 says: May 30, 2012 10:42 AM

    “joepa400 says:
    May 30, 2012 9:40 AM
    The reason the big ten teams don’t have top 5 rankings is because they beat each other up all season long, unlike the sec where Florida or Alabama dominate every year, except for the occassional Auburn or Lsu. Every year its Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconson. Thats why Conference winners need to play for the N.Championship”

    ^^^ This is the classic Big 10 myth, that the conference is so tough it can’t produce undefeated teams because there’s no way any one team can possible win out with that murderer’s row schedule.

    It must be why teams like Michigan State can nearly run the table in 2010, then lose 49-7 against the third best team in the SEC, or Penn State can get mudholed by any SEC team early in the schedule, and then go on a seven game winning streak in their own conference. Mediocrity imo.

  13. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 10:51 AM

    The “top four” teams last year would have included Stanford, and not Oregon, even though Oregon beat Stanford and won the conference. Fix that first.

  14. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 10:53 AM

    When was the last time that, at the end of the regular season, you could point to more than four teams and say “they deserve a shot at the championship”?

  15. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 11:05 AM

    If travel places the Big Ten at such a disadvantage, why does Delaney & co. remain devoted to the Rose Bowl?

  16. joshuavkidd says: May 30, 2012 11:08 AM

    Because he doesn’t are about the fan experience.. All he cares about is saving the rose bowl.

  17. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 11:11 AM

    Don’t over-state the lunatic fringe. In the winter most mid-westerners either travel or stay indoors.

  18. BrownsTown (the 1st one, not the new guy using my name) says: May 30, 2012 11:29 AM

    jimbo75025,

    You make fair points. The Big Ten only needs to think back to 2006 and imagine if Michigan got shout out of a four team playoff.

    Or I could see the PAC 10 having two power teams with USC coming back (alongside Oregon).

    That said, I still say it should be conference winners. The risk with any playoff system is devaluing the regular season. I don’t think that is empty rhetoric when people cite that fear. Taking conference winners only would also allow teams to step up their non-conference scheduling knowing that they could absorb 1-2 losses and still get into a tournament of four. I don’t want to see sandbaggers making it in because they won 1-2 meaningful games. Everybody levies that charge against Boise St, but it increasingly can be used against many BCS powerhouses.

  19. alligatorsnapper says: May 30, 2012 11:41 AM

    Saban makes some very valid points, as he usually does. Self-absorption, or selfishness, is a characteristic of many who are offering post-season schemes.

    cometkazie: Even if the regular seasons are cut back one game, having the first or first and second game played on college campuses would much more than make up the loss of income from this loss of a regular season game. Details would need to be refined by those who are paid the high salaries, but generally, this or a similar scheme would be good for college football.

  20. kozbee says: May 30, 2012 12:00 PM

    SOS`Strength of schedule`has to play a part in all this regarding whose school is this or that.Thats why we try to get a playoff system working so we can get an almost perfect champion at season end.Those teams with easy schedules every season will surely be in the top 4 or 5 when its time for a playoff.This is why i feel we should have an 8 or even 16 team playoff so we can weed out those teams that play a weak schedule.Take some teams in the top 8 would play in the SEC sure would not be a 11 or 12 game winner at season end if they would be one of those weaker teams thats winning due to playing a weak schedule.NCAA yes a 4 game playoff is a start but will in no way give us a true champion till we get the true playoff system we need to get the top teams playing in a 16 game playoff to prove these weak teams have no business being there.To make my point look back at Georgia vs Hawaii a few years back.Hawaii had no business being raked even in the top 25.JMO.

  21. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 12:05 PM

    Don’t diminish the regular season. Sept. 1 – Dec. 1 is the best time of the year. Don’t do to the football season what’s been done to the college basketball regular season.

  22. burntorangehorn says: May 30, 2012 12:10 PM

    I think it’s pretty self-absorbed of him to think that the “best four teams” is anything than another version of the beauty contest that has everyone pissed off in the first place. Conference champions win their conferences by processes that don’t become beauty contests until really far into the tie-breaker contest, even in the Big 12 now. They’re champions. Let each conference send its top contender (e.g. champion) to vie for the national championship, with all others eliminated. Limit the number of conferences eligible in order to achieve the manageable playoff format of four, six, eight, or whatever number of teams. If a conference (or call them districts? regionals?) is deemed inadequate to participate in this process, adopt relegation as a team-by-team or conference-by-conference process, or just send it down to FCS entirely. No team should play in FBS that does not have at least a technical path to the national title, period. If North Texas goes undefeated, wins the Sun Belt conference, then wins out in the playoff rounds, they win the national championship. That’s highly unlikely, but really no more absurd than giving an 8 seed the chance to win the NCAA BB tournament championship.

    My second choice would be a selection committee that builds the four-team playoff each year from eligible conference champions, no at-larges. Yes, that means that a 12-1 Oklahoma with a loss to an 11-1 Texas could win a three-way-tie-breaker and go to the playoffs, leaving Texas to play in SEC/Big 12 bowl while a two- or three-loss conference champion from another conference makes it to the playoffs. I’d be frustrated that they missed the playoffs, and I’d probably argue that they’d likely beat that two-loss conference champ in the playoff. But I’d readily accept the format, because it’s a more legitimate process that maximizes each team’s control of its own destiny vis a vis the national title as much as anything short of a full playoff of conference champions. Yes, a four-team playoff of the most eligible conference champions still makes for a beauty contest between the teams on the bubble, but eliminating non-champs cuts out a lot of that problem.

  23. frug says: May 30, 2012 12:16 PM

    It’s not what’s best for the fans because they’ve made it very clear what they want it to be.

    Well based on the ratings for last seasons NCG I get the feeling that fans didn’t want to see Alabama in the title game…

  24. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 12:17 PM

    The SEC has more NFL prospects than the next three conferences combined. Kids from L.A./Miami/Texas would rather play near New Orleans than Cleveland. Moving a playoff to Chicago or Indianapolis isn’t going to change that.

  25. brewcrewfan54 says: May 30, 2012 12:19 PM

    Throughout sports history there’s been plenty of good teams that disn’t make the playoffs over less deserving teams because they didn’t win their division. The 1993 San Francisco Giants who won over 100 games comes to mind. Sometimes it happens. The only thing guaranteed with a playoff system is a champion will be determined. It isn’t always the best team. With there being 119 D1 football teams there will never be a perfect way to do it.

  26. Deb says: May 30, 2012 12:46 PM

    @cometkazie …

    When making a point about strength of schedule for the Big Four conferences, I compared the 2012 opponents of the highest-ranked team from each for 2011 (plus LSU). All five of those teams–Alabama, Wisconsin, Oregon, Oklahoma State, and LSU–have an FCS team on their schedules next season. Cut that FCS opponent and you’ve cut the regular season by one game … without losing anything relevant.

  27. Deb says: May 30, 2012 12:49 PM

    I support taking the top four (although I’d prefer the top eight) teams according to rank because the best teams should go to the playoffs regardless of conference. Based on the end-of-season BCS rankings, the 2011 playoff teams would have been:

    LSU
    Alabama
    Oklahoma State
    Stanford
    Oregon
    Arkansas
    Boise State
    Kansas State

    That list explains everything about Jim Delany and his motives.

  28. bertenheim says: May 30, 2012 12:54 PM

    Delaney’s plan calls for conference champs in the top six, then allows for wild-cards. His plan would have excluded the Big Ten champ (Wis) last year.
    He’s a doofus, but give credit where it’s due.

  29. cubano76 says: May 30, 2012 1:15 PM

    Did Nick Satan just call someone else, “self-absorbed?” Man, he’s got one heck of a sense of humor!!!!!!!

  30. randamonious says: May 30, 2012 1:31 PM

    It has to be conference champs plus highest ranked. Otherwise we have the selection committee scenario where a group of writers, coaches, etc pick the top eight teams instead of having those teams compete all year for it.

  31. blendedwhiskey says: May 30, 2012 1:36 PM

    I’m for an 8-team playoff. It shouldn’t make any difference which conference you play in or how much money you can generate. A conference championship is a fine thing with some great rivalries and bragging rights, but it shouldn’t be an automatic qualifier for the playoffs. Just put the top 8 teams on the field and let them fight it out! Let the computers pick the teams (this likely still needs some tweaking) and we can all enjoy some terrific match-ups for 3 weekends. No more waiting 4-5 weeks to play a bowl game either. If the major bowls still want to be somewhat relevant, let them work out their own deals with the best of the rest, and play those games on the same weekends as the playoff games. This is not rocket science, lets take the BS out of the BCS and have a true championship.

  32. Romulus says: May 30, 2012 2:00 PM

    @ joepa400

    I hate to agree with an alabama fan. But you know nothing of SEC football. All you know is championships [which comes from the SEC], you do not follow it week in and week out, if you did you would know that every game is a battle, nothing is taken for granted, and that the SEC beats up on each other every week trying to get to Atlanta. From recent history, it is only Ohio St and Wisconsin who is actually any good in the Big 10. Penn st is not even relevant to the big picture.

    WDE

  33. Deb says: May 30, 2012 2:01 PM

    @bertenheim …

    I can’t keep up with Delany’s various proposals, except that he keeps insisting on conference champs. If he’s willing to agree to playoffs without a guaranteed seat for the Big 10, I stand corrected. If …

    But I imagine these convoluted suggestions of his still have the ulterior motive of preventing any conference having multiple teams represented in the playoffs. And that’s short-sighted. Yes, the SEC would have been represented by three teams last year, and both the Pac 12 and Big 12 by two. But the pendulum never stops swinging. Next time the Big 10 might have three teams in the top eight. Would he still want the model he’s proposing now? I doubt it.

  34. olskool711 says: May 30, 2012 2:18 PM

    Is this the same Nick Saban who was scared sh#*less about having to play Boise State and did whatever “self absorbed” thing he could possibly do to belittle them and roundup his hillbilly nation
    to talk, talk, talk?

    There is a place for both Delaney and Saban. They will someday be neighbors. Better start patching things up now, boys.

  35. bradentonbuc says: May 30, 2012 2:21 PM

    The only thing I care about is that BIGTEN teams traveled on average 800+ more miles to play in bowl games than their opponents, which means a huge chunk of their fan base was also forced to travel… try doing that in back to back weeks. thanks to mgoblog.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Maybe you should move the Big 10 out of the frigid north to the warm weather. Bowls belong in warm weather. Get relevant again before you complain.

  36. jimbo75025 says: May 30, 2012 3:09 PM

    BrownsTown (the 1st one, not the new guy using my name) says:May 30, 2012 11:29 AM

    jimbo75025,

    You make fair points. The Big Ten only needs to think back to 2006 and imagine if Michigan got shout out of a four team playoff.

    Or I could see the PAC 10 having two power teams with USC coming back (alongside Oregon).

    That said, I still say it should be conference winners. The risk with any playoff system is devaluing the regular season. I don’t think that is empty rhetoric when people cite that fear. Taking conference winners only would also allow teams to step up their non-conference scheduling knowing that they could absorb 1-2 losses and still get into a tournament of four. I don’t want to see sandbaggers making it in because they won 1-2 meaningful games. Everybody levies that charge against Boise St, but it increasingly can be used against many BCS powerhouses.
    ______________

    Agreed. I remember the uproar when UF squeaked in vs a UM team that barely lost to Ohio State.

    My point is that the 4 team arrangement could only hinder strong OOC matchups or if they do take place then they would be very early in season. Nobody of any consequence OOC will want to play Ohio St, Mich etc in November. Even with 4 teams when you lose will still be as important as who you lose to.

    Face it, what is the last time a 2 loss team was in top 4 at end of November-maybe 4 or 5 years ago when all the dominoes had to fall LSU’s way and they did?

    To me it is not a problem if the 2 top teams are from the same conference. As I said earlier I am an SEC fan but to think the dominace of the last few years will go on forever is ludicrous.

    This also coming from someone who is stuck in Asia and is lucky to see one game a week if he is lucky. I really miss Sat afternoons there in the US.

  37. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 30, 2012 4:17 PM

    @jimbo75025….
    How about that an sec fan stuck in Asia and an Asian stuck in sec country (by choice of course).

  38. sabatimus says: May 30, 2012 4:24 PM

    I’m very disappointed that there aren’t any “pot meet kettle” jokes on this thread.

  39. burntorangehorn says: May 30, 2012 4:34 PM

    bradentonbuc says:
    May 30, 2012 2:21 PM
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Maybe you should move the Big 10 out of the frigid north to the warm weather. Bowls belong in warm weather. Get relevant again before you complain.
    ==================================
    Why do they belong in warm weather? Southern teams already have the enormous climatic advantage during the weeks of preparation leading up to bowl season; why should they have the home-field advantage too? Important games in cold weather are great. And if the question is of playoff locations, not bowl games, then the association of bowl games with warm weather is barely relevant. Playoff games are playoff games. Somehow NFL teams manage to make it up to Foxboro and Green Bay.

    Speaking of which, have you ever been to a football game that’s been below freezing? I’ve seen plenty in both warm and cold weather, and other than UT games, one of the games I enjoyed most was surprisingly when the Terps hosted BC in 2007. My then-wife and I, both military veterans at UMD (she as a student and employee, I as a researcher and instructor), were there for a Veterans Day observance. Matt Ryan and BC’s top-ranked rushing defense had been #2 in the BCS rankings before losing to FSU, and were still #8 going into this game. Maryland had been ravaged by injuries, not the least of which was their leading rusher, Keon Lattimore. I went back and found the kickoff temperature, which was 42, and it had dropped below freezing not too far into the game. But it was awesome huddling there, yelling in the frigid night as the unlikely upset unfolded. Yeah, it was only about 52K official attendance, but that’s a sellout at Byrd, and one of their largest crowds in history.

    Anyway, yeah, playoffs can and should take place in cold climates at least as often as they do in warm climates. Let’s just look at NFL and convertible MLB stadiums. Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC/NJ (Meadowlands and/or Yankee Stadium conversion), NJ (Meadowlands), Indianapolis, Kansas City, Foxboro/Boston, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Buffalo, and Cleveland all have open or retractable-roof stadiums and average January highs at or under 40F. While I understand that Green Bay, Cleveland, Buffalo probably don’t pack the punch to bid on college football semifinals or finals, they could be in the mix for quarterfinals in an eight-team playoff scenario.

    Baltimore is very close to the temperature mark, and has a great stadium location. Although Denver has an average high of 47F, the presence of other wintry conditions arguably nudge it into cold-weather city status. Seattle and Nashville also have 47F avg high in January, but don’t have the wintry features to masquerade as cold-weather cities. They’re still nice destinations that would represent good compromises, though

    I eliminated any fixed domes (Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit), plus DC, FedEx Field is so infamously awful. Too bad, too, because it seats 82K. Depending on Snyder’s plans, DC could have a nice new place at some point, and its middling climate (42F avg in January) and terrific destination status make it an ideal playoff locale.

    I’m fully aware that few southerners are going agree, given the concept of self-interest. Obviously it’s not realistic to expect all playoff games to take place in cold-weather cities, but it’d be best if the bidding process were to ensure geographic distribution is a good mix throughout the climatic spectrum of eligible venues.

  40. Deb says: May 30, 2012 4:55 PM

    olskool711 says:

    Is this the same Nick Saban who was scared sh#*less about having to play Boise State
    ————————————————-
    Oh dear! Guess the home has dialed back on your meds again. Budget cuts … tsk, tsk.

    BTW, what was the outcome when your team played BSU?

  41. Deb says: May 30, 2012 5:10 PM

    @burntorangehorn …

    Can only guess, but imagine he’s saying bowls belong in warm weather because he’s thinking of them as a tourist destination. Football’s a cold-weather sport, and I’m sure players would rather hit the field in the 40s than the 80s. I certainly would rather sit in bleachers when it’s cold than miserably hot. To me, perfect football weather involves mud … but I’m in the minority (and would be watching that on TV ;) )

    The choice of venues for the Super Bowl is based on trying to ensure a “good” game–one that doesn’t turn into an Ice Bowl, Fog Bowl, or Mud Bowl. And when people pay as much as $5,000-$20,000 a ticket, they don’t want to sit in a blizzard. I expect the thought processes to be similar for choosing NCAA playoff venues–although they might give more consideration to fan travel.

    But too much is made of the SEC vs. other conferences when it comes to weather. The regular season ends at Thanksgiving. It would be extremely rare for any team (not in Alaska) to play in severe ice and snow that early in the season.

  42. jimbo75025 says: May 30, 2012 5:15 PM

    thecrazyasianinseccountry says:May 30, 2012 4:17 PM

    @jimbo75025….
    How about that an sec fan stuck in Asia and an Asian stuck in sec country (by choice of course).
    _____________

    Funny how life happens huh? Not sure if my decision is by choice but 3X the salary I could command in the US has something to do with it……..

  43. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 30, 2012 5:19 PM

    @burntorangehorn….
    The bowl game isn’t about home field advantage nor the number of miles being traveled. It’s not just about the game for most of these schools ( I’m sure I’ll get heat for that), but it is about the whole experiences. Activities students and athletes, with their family, can experience away from finals and work. In between those great activities, there’s a great game that mainly matters for representing schools involved. So please stop with the bring it up North or the NFL playoff does it argument because it’s stupid !
    Trust me this “we, BigX, travel over +800 miles!!” was never a problems before when Ohio St was in the big dance every year. Why don’t your cry about traveling to the Rose Bowl every year if that was the case. Ask them to alternate the Rose Bowl site. So stopping crying over every little excuses you can think of of why your conference are not competitive and blame it on the SEC and Bowl sites. Start demanding more from your AD and coaches and start competing and everything else will take care of itself.

  44. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 30, 2012 5:24 PM

    @jimbo75025…
    3Xs the salary is a choice, a good choice.

  45. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 30, 2012 5:29 PM

    @burntorangehorn…
    And oh yeah I do remember the game you’re talking about. That’s one of the main reason why LSU made the BCS, same reason as to why Alabama made it this year.., and the sad thing was, as an LSU fan I was rooting for Matti !

  46. wvucolumbus says: May 30, 2012 6:08 PM

    I am from northern WV (close to Saban’s stomping grounds). I LOVE Saban. Think he’s one of the best minds in football (on any level). One thing I absolutely disagree w/ him on is that college football is “cyclical”, in terms of conference shifts in power. Population shifts in this country from N and E to S and W cannot be overstated. I no longer believe that any conference will EVER overtake the SEC in terms of consistent, 3-5 year football play. The best athletes are from the South. The greatest passion is in the South. The shifts in population are toward the South.

    I totally agree that college football WAS cyclical, but not anymore. Moreover, Notre Dame AND Michigan will never be the powers that they once were. These absolutely great academic schools (Michigan, UNC and UVA are simply elite public institutions) aren’t able to compete for each and every elite prospect due to academic requirements. They surely will have excellent seasons (Michigan ’11) but consistent elite success is not reasonable.

    I totally agree w/ Saban that the Top 4 should be the playoff. It is a no-brainer. It’s ridiculous to think that a playoff could face a champion from a lousy conference (ie. ACC) vs. the 2nd or 3rd best team from the SEC or Big XII.

  47. wvucolumbus says: May 30, 2012 6:11 PM

    That final sentence should read “as opposed to” not “versus”

  48. ironcitydonnieiris says: May 30, 2012 6:59 PM

    8 team playoff drops the “weak team” from the schedule to open up playoff week.
    4 conference champs top 4 seeds (by ranking). Top 4 remaining teams get remaining spots. Reward the champs with home field.
    An underdog can peak at the right time and knock off a conference champ. And a conference championship game can have an underdog upset due to peaking at the right time.
    Low seeds peak and win often (this years Stanley cup).
    Drop the non eligible teams from the schedule (DI-AA) and (just for crap and giggles) any team with an off/in season arrest is out. (bring back the HONOR AND PRIDE) for this privelage to play. I know, it won’t happen, but it might straighten out players on contender teams.
    The “weak team” drop won’t happen due to $. The arrest elimination is a pipe dream. And an 8 team playoff isn’t an option I’m sure.
    But 8 teams, 4 champs, remaining top 4 I think is a good start with sandbag games eliminated.
    NCAA wrestling is similar with top conference winners with the automatic bid. Best athlete at the end of the conference/ regional championship moving on. Stronger conferences get more slots, but they have a shot (and can pull upsets at the big dance).
    Weaker conferences still have something to play for in that championship game and it might put more pressure on those games as they know a Win is required to move on for a possible nat champ game instead of just a bowl bid.
    Just a dream of a thought. Wouldn’t you love it if it was a reality?

  49. takingbovadasmoney says: May 30, 2012 9:20 PM

    Joshua Kidd for college football czar!

    Deb – go back a little farther, under Delaney’s formula (which I don’t like) Michigan would have been ranked 3rd and left out. The only positive in his formula is that it eliminates regional biases by some voters in polls, this may be his thought.

  50. fcmlefty1 says: May 30, 2012 9:43 PM

    One thing that everybody seems to miss is the $$$ trail. TV is, unfortunately, a driving force in this thing. They maximize thier dollars by ensuring that at least 3 time zones are interested in the product. Last years dismal NCG ratings are a bigger factor in this than anybody cares to admit. A “one region” playoff only works if New York or Boston is involved, and thats not likely in College football at the present time. TV is going to push for the conference champs or, at worse, the 3+1. The product isn’t worth nearly as much if its only kept in the southeast. You’re dead in the water if you can’t completely capture the imagination of NY, Bos and LA every single year. The ratings in every other sport have proven that many times over the years.

    I hate that I just had to type that because it has nothing to do with legitimate football competition. But its the sad reality…

  51. rubbernilly says: May 30, 2012 11:06 PM

    @sabatimus… I was thinking the same thing.

    @burntorangehorn… keep preaching truth. Any conference that is viable under NCAA rules and can produce a champion should have the opportunity for that champion to play in the playoff.

    “Polls” are nothing more than the throw-away “power rankings” of the NFL. Does anyone really pay attention to those? No one expects them to actually play into playoff selections.

    @Nick Saban… I am always wary of the person who so loudly proclaims they know what is best for college football… because so often it coincidentally lines up with what they want, themselves.

    @the author of this post… After a post title of “Saban rips ‘self-absorbed people'” you should have a follow up:

    “Everybody else rips hypocritical people”

  52. Deb says: May 30, 2012 11:27 PM

    @rubbernilly …

    I’m always wary of the guy who criticizes Saban (ad nauseum) for proclaiming what is best for college football when he’s simply responding to Delany proclaiming (ad nauseum) what is best for college football.

    Yes, as you said, interesting how everybody else rips hypocritical people.

  53. waynefontes says: May 31, 2012 8:04 AM

    jimbo75025 says:
    May 30, 2012 5:15 PM
    thecrazyasianinseccountry says:May 30, 2012 4:17 PM

    @jimbo75025….
    How about that an sec fan stuck in Asia and an Asian stuck in sec country (by choice of course).
    _____________

    Funny how life happens huh? Not sure if my decision is by choice but 3X the salary I could command in the US has something to do with it……..

    ______________

    Same here, I’m in Seoul by choice and everything here is great except it’s hard to watch college football, and mashed potatoes and biscuits are very hard to come by.

    Just take the top 4 teams, put a huge emphasis on SOS and quality wins. Not a hard concept to grasp.

  54. bullneck11 says: May 31, 2012 1:33 PM

    Saban accuses the Big 10 and others of just trying to protect their own interests, but then he is doing the very same thing.

    Saban knows that Bama got a second chance to play LSU again for the BCS Title after losing the first game to LSU, and he doesn’t want to deminish the title he won by supporting the conference champ only theme. I wonder if his position may have been different if he had won the 1st game and the SEC Championship.

    I think the conference champ playoff is the only theme that can really work and make sense. Why should a team that did not even win it’s conference championship and lost to the one that did win the championship then be allowed to have a second shot with all of the marbles on the line. Did LSU’s first game victory mean anything ??

    Trying to come up with who the best 4 teams are especially when two come from the same conference will just lead to more chaos and the same opinion polls we had before The BCS.

    If you go with the conference champion theme then LSU is the SEC champ and they proved it by beating Alabama during the season and then won the Championship against Georgia.

    Bama beating LSU in a 2nd rematch game really proved nothing except they were more motivated and prepared to play and win the rematch.

    LSU has had experience with the rematch before in the SEC and they had the same results.

    In 1959 LSU was # 1 and they defeated # 3 Ole Miss in the regular season game with Billy Cannon’s famous punt return by 7-3. Then at the end of the year they had a rematch in the Sugar Bowl and Ole Miss won that game by 21-0. So what should that really prove ? Only that Ole Miss was more motivated to win the Rematch while LSU won the seasonal matchup.

  55. bullneck11 says: May 31, 2012 2:21 PM

    Here is a scanario as a possible way to determine the College Football Champion.

    The Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC are the four strongest conferences in college football, plus these four conferences have supplied all of the BCS participants for the Title game.

    All you really have left is the ACC and The Big East Conferences. Neither one have been a factor in the BCS, but they do deserve a chance to play in order to have the championship decided.

    Since we already have the Rose and new Bowl for the SEC/Big 12 the only thing left to do is to match the Big East and ACC together.

    Take all 3 Bowl winners and have a drawing with one of the teams drawing a bye. Then the other two play and the winner plays the team with the bye for the Championship. The only team left out of this is Notre Dame and it is about time they make a decision to join a conference or just be left out.

  56. th56 says: May 31, 2012 4:29 PM

    Conference champs are determined on the field. Rankings are determined by a bunch of biased people who don’t even watch all the games.

  57. pedagoguish says: May 31, 2012 6:55 PM

    I could care less about national champions in football. I prefer the old bowl structure. It is far more important to me that the shining knights of the Left Coast knock the b’Jesus out of those corn-fed porkers from the Midwest come Rose Bowl time than that some semipros from the Confederacy declare themselves national champs. What could be better than watching a Bo or a Woody blow apoplectic after being steamrollered by a Trojan, a Duck, or a Dawg!?!

  58. alligatorsnapper says: May 31, 2012 7:13 PM

    bullneck11:

    If you live anywhere near south Louisiana, I feel like offering you a jambalaya but first I have to make sure either southernpatriots or my uncle will cook it for you! They make the best there is.

    Thank you for the reminder history lesson about LSU and Ole Miss, no matter how painful that memory is…ha.

  59. cometkazie says: May 31, 2012 9:50 PM

    Alligatorsnapper, that Sugar Bowl was the first thing I thought of when it became apparent that ‘Bama was laying a whupping on my Bayou Bengals.

    Great minds, or would that be geezer minds, think alike!

    I get friends I left in BR to send me Oak Grove jambalaya mix and Richards sausage and the hillbillies up here in the BlueGrass love it.

  60. alligatorsnapper says: May 31, 2012 11:14 PM

    cometkazie:

    The doctor in the southernpatriots family dialed me on his cell during half time and said, “Here we go again!” When I asked what he meant, he referred to the Ole Miss rematch, and said he hoped this would not be “de je vu.” It was.

    southernpatriots live right in the middle of Cajun land. I live near the Texas border. They get a kind of Cajun mixes, along with sausage they get which is made in BR and when they don’t make their own sausage they get that kind, but I don’t remember the name.

    The guys and gals I work with from Texas, Texas A&M, SMU, TCU and Houston…love Cajun food too!

  61. rubbernilly says: Jun 1, 2012 12:40 AM

    Deb says:
    I’m always wary of the guy who criticizes Saban (ad nauseum) for proclaiming what is best for college football when he’s simply responding to Delany proclaiming (ad nauseum) what is best for college football.

    Why should the fact that Saban was responding to Delany mitigate at all that Saban is, on this issue, being hypocritical?

    Unless you’re intimating that I am being hypocritical for calling Saban out while supporting Delany. For that to be true, though, I’d have to support Delany (I don’t on anything other than Champions being involved, and then only in a much broader sense than he is proposing), and Delany would have to be guilty of the same “best for college football” empty reasoning as Saban (was he?), *and* I’d have to have seen it (again, was he?), *and* I’d have to have NOT called him out for that.

    If you think I’m on board with Delany’s proposal, you haven’t read my arguments for how a playoff should be structured:

    1) only conference champions, but from every conference that is viable by NCAA rules and can produce/name a champion (if you don’t let them settle it on the field, you might as well sever the conferences you’ll never let play for the championship)
    –OR–
    2) include at-large teams, but only if you do away with conference championship games, so that you aren’t punishing the better teams

  62. rubbernilly says: Jun 1, 2012 12:50 AM

    Also, there’s no air in the argument that there’d be a mutiny if the four teams that made the playoff one year were the number 1, 7, 12, and 14 ranked teams (or whatever).

    It’s really very simple:
    1) start with the premise that settling things on the field is the only objective standard for judging the performance/ability of a team
    2) recognize that the ranking of teams is nothing more than glorified “power rankings” from the NFL, which have no bearing on what teams get selected for an NFL playoff or in how teams get seeded in a playoff; ranking = opinion
    3) when in doubt, start with #1 again

    “What is best for college football,” whatever that *is*, will be a model that is defensible by objective standards. To me, objective is teams meeting on the field.

    Out of every conference (read that: teams that have played each other), a champion. Out of many champions, one.

    (At-large berths only as playoff bracket size allows.)

  63. mrbigdog2u says: Jun 1, 2012 1:56 PM

    If you think there would be an uproar if the teams that made the playoffs weren’t the highest ranked teams, there is a very easy solution: Dispose of the rankings system altogether. In the presence of a true national championship playoff system, it becomes irrelevant. If your team isn’t good enough to win its conference championship, then it isn’t good enough to participate in the national championship playoff.

  64. Deb says: Jun 1, 2012 7:19 PM

    Oh good grief, rubbernilly, I don’t care.

  65. rubbernilly says: Jun 2, 2012 9:08 AM

    Oh, silly me, Deb. Here I was thinking that you did care. You know. Cause you posted. And colored me a hypocrite.

  66. Deb says: Jun 2, 2012 11:58 AM

    Hon, I cared enough to defend our coach, but not enough to wade through that dissertation.

  67. cometkazie says: Jun 2, 2012 2:17 PM

    Deb says:
    Jun 2, 2012 11:58 AM
    Hon, I cared enough to defend our coach, but not enough to wade through that dissertation.
    +=+=+

    Me, too, except he is not my coach.

  68. rubbernilly says: Jun 2, 2012 5:21 PM

    Deb, that sounds like an awful lot like, “I’m going to go ahead and say this, but I’m not going to stick around to defend it.”

    And only the first post (of the two in a row) was directed at you… but if you think 196 words is a “dissertation,” even by internet standards, there’s really nothing to say but… bless your heart.

  69. Deb says: Jun 2, 2012 5:40 PM

    rubbernilly, I’ve more than proved my willingness to argue with a tree stump on these blogs and defend my positions until the dead horse has disintegrated to dust. I don’t necessarily think those are attributes. But in this case, you took a smack at my coach, and I smacked you back. From your reply, I gathered that smack had stung you into insensibility and decided to leave you there. Thanks for the blessing. I’ll take all I can get.

  70. rubbernilly says: Jun 2, 2012 6:46 PM

    I smacked *this* coach because he deserved it.

    I’ll smack another if he deserves it. I’ll even smack Delany if I think he deserves it.

    (Quite frankly, *most* of the people involved as powers-that-be in college football deserve a smack for their self-serving hypocrisy. This just happened to be obvious.)

    You think of him as “your” coach. That’s on you. He still deserved it.

    And defending a position “until the dead horse has disintegrated to dust” is a much different thing than defending at all. The first time.

    Here’s a refresher:
    You called me a hypocrite.
    I asked “how?”
    You said, “I don’t care. It’s too hard to read.”

  71. suprmous says: Jun 3, 2012 1:10 AM

    As valid as the point “may be” and done by Nick Saban it’s still a resemblance of the pot callin the kettle black.

  72. huskerzfan says: Jun 3, 2012 10:23 AM

    @ Deb:

    I support taking the top four (although I’d prefer the top eight) teams according to rank because the best teams should go to the playoffs regardless of conference. Based on the end-of-season BCS rankings, the 2011 playoff teams would have been:

    LSU
    Alabama
    Oklahoma State
    Stanford
    Oregon
    Arkansas
    Boise State
    Kansas State

    That list explains everything about Jim Delany and his motives.
    ___________________________________

    Thanks for proving the point of having conference champs as opposed to some ridiculous rankings system.

    Please explain to me how Arkansas, Boise State, and Kansas State were all obviously better than Wisconsin? Arkansas had two 4 TD defeats while Kansas State got beat at home by 41 freaking points. FORTY ONE POINTS! Boise State could’t win the MWC outright. Yet somehow, all of these teams were ranked ahead of a conference champion whose only defeats were on the road in last second hail mary type completions?

    Yep, that makes a helluva lot of sense why those teams were ranked the way they were ranked. (Obvious sarcasm)

    Thanks for proving that any voting or ranking system is a completely absurd way of determing the supposed best 4 or 8 teams.

  73. Deb says: Jun 3, 2012 2:45 PM

    @huskerzfan …

    I can’t explain that, and didn’t follow things closely enough to be aware of it until now. Wisconsin may well have been screwed by the BCS in the rankings last season. But if you’ve read my other posts, you know I also advocate making substantive changes to the ranking system if that will decide the playoffs. For one, the AP and Coaches opinion polls need to be eliminated. And strength of schedule–as well as margin of victory–should be heavily weighted. The method for ranking teams should be as objective as possible.

    I don’t think the fair answer would be to implement a playoff system that guarantees a spot for an 8-5 conference champ while leaving a higher-ranking 11-2 non-champ from a more competitive conference at home. Do you?

  74. cometkazie says: Jun 3, 2012 3:04 PM

    Deb says:
    Jun 3, 2012 2:45 PM
    @huskerzfan …
    . . . I also advocate making substantive changes to the ranking system if that will decide the playoffs. For one, the AP and Coaches opinion polls need to be eliminated. And strength of schedule–as well as margin of victory–should be heavily weighted. The method for ranking teams should be as objective as possible.

    I don’t think the fair answer would be to implement a playoff system that guarantees a spot for an 8-5 conference champ while leaving a higher-ranking 11-2 non-champ from a more competitive conference at home. Do you?
    +=+=+

    If memory serves me correctly, LSU squeaked into its first BCS championship game as USC lost to Cal and that hurt USC in the strength of schedule part. Qualifications were changed as some powerful people were pouting.

    I would agree with Deb, but there are always gonna be people pouting. The selectors gotta use some sense, but that doesn’t go far here.

  75. rubbernilly says: Jun 3, 2012 9:06 PM

    @Deb… two comments…

    The method for ranking teams should be as objective as possible.

    *If* you have to include the polls for some reason (like you cannot arrive at an objective set of tie-breakers), then sure. But on its face this statement seems an oxymoron. “Ranking,” no matter how much make-up it wears, is the antithesis of “objective.”

    I don’t think the fair answer would be to implement a playoff system that guarantees a spot for an 8-5 conference champ while leaving a higher-ranking 11-2 non-champ from a more competitive conference at home. Do you?

    “Competitive” is only going to be decided on the field, and could vary wildly from year to year. Still who’s to say that an 8-5 team couldn’t win against that very same 11-2 team you mentioned? You don’t know unless they meet on the field.

    Look at the NFL last year. The NYG won the Superbowl last year after going 9-7 in the regular season.

  76. mrbigdog2u says: Jun 4, 2012 12:55 PM

    I don’t think the fair answer would be to implement a playoff system that guarantees a spot for an 8-5 conference champ while leaving a higher-ranking 11-2 non-champ from a more competitive conference at home. Do you?

    Works in the NFL. 2010 Playoffs, the Seahawks who finished the season 7-9 beat the 11-5 Saints in a wildcard game.

    I see no reason not to limit a playoff system to the conference champs. As far as I can tell, it’s the only way to remove ALL subjectivity from the system. Saban, et al are just trying to see if they can find some way to scam an extra seat at the table.

  77. Deb says: Jun 4, 2012 1:21 PM

    @rubbernilly & mrbigdog2u (great name) …

    My first love is the NFL for many reasons, but it certainly helps that subjectivity is removed from the system. No matter what people come up with in their preseason power rankings, each team starts at zero and it’s all decided on the field. Whatever controversy may have surrounded Seattle’s 2010 playoff berth ended when they beat the Saints. I love knowing every minute of the season exactly where my team stands.

    The problem with Div IA (or FBS) college ball is that you have too many teams to allow for such simplicity. The NFL is 32 teams divided into two conferences of four perfectly even divisions (and I’m violently opposed to further expansion). Scheduling rotates in a way that ensures divisions see the same OOC opponents every four years. Wild Cards ensure the best of the best make it. I’m a Steelers fan and ours is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Last year, three of our four teams made the playoffs.

    If the NCAA did the logical thing and pared down the FBS to a manageable number of teams, I’d be open to a similar structuring of the college playoffs. I simply don’t want a situation where last year’s Crimson Tide–which proved in the championship to be an extraordinarily dominant team–to be locked out of a playoff while sub-standard conference champion gets the nod. After watching Alabama’s performance in that game, I have no doubt we could have taken any team. But not if we were denied the opportunity. And I wouldn’t want a dominant Ohio State or USC to be locked out in the same circumstances. That’s the only reason I’m advocating the ranking option.

  78. rubbernilly says: Jun 4, 2012 5:37 PM

    I think severing the FBS solves a multitude of problems… and I hope that’s what the end result of the big-4 conference alignment will be.

    If the big-4 conferences can finagle the Rose and Champions Bowls into semi-finals… they will effectively shut the door on smaller conferences.

    On the other hand, maybe the movement should start with the lower-tier of teams (Conf-USA, SunBelt, etc.)… who get little love in the post-season models getting tossed around. They’re the ones leaving money on the table, not having a playoff ladder of their own.

    I had such hopes for the Conf-USA/MWC merger… and hoped it could provide the inertia for the SunBelts and MACs of the college world to sign on, too. We’ll see.

    Ultimately, I agree that the 2011 Alabamas of the world shouldn’t be left out, but including them as a wildcard means either (1) dropping the Conference Championship games out of fairness (as they didn’t have to play the extra game that LSU did); or (2) using them as play-in, de facto first round games.

    I’d be fine with either solution, provided that (1) conference champs are automatically in, and (2) the method for choosing the wildcard teams is as objective as possible.

    For me, “polls” are a non-starter for objectivity.

    But… again… here severing makes sense. Fewer teams allow for NFL-type parity… which means we can have NFL-type playoff selections.

  79. Deb says: Jun 4, 2012 6:09 PM

    @rubbernilly …

    Not to offend anyone, but college ball is so backward. Last year, LSU had to play an extra game because they won the head-to-head matchup with Bama. But if that had been the pros, Bama would have played the extra game because the outcome of the head-to-head meeting would have given LSU the championship and put Bama in the Wildcard position. That’s what should have happened.

    NCAA fans lose their minds over teams playing in the regular season, then meeting again in the post-season as though that negates the regular-season meeting. I find that reasoning idiotic. The regular season is the regular season, and the post-season is the post-season. As it stands now, the conference championships just clutter up everything. But if we pared down Division IA into something manageable and moved all those conferences you mentioned into another league, conference championships could work like the NFL’s division championships. I’d go for that.

  80. mrbigdog2u says: Jun 4, 2012 6:33 PM

    Deb,

    Equally validly, the argument could be made that Alabama HAD their shot during the regular season against LSU and failed to capitalize on it. If a team wants to play for the national championship, they have to make their way through the regular season. Alabama got two tries for the NC. If they had beaten LSU the first time around, they would have legitimately deserved to compete. They didn’t and there ought to have been some penalty for that failure. Instead what we got was a “do-over”. While it may have been satisfying for you and the rest of the Tide faithful, it was exceptionally unsatisfying for the rest of the country.

  81. Deb says: Jun 4, 2012 10:08 PM

    @mrbigdog2u …

    You’re right, we had our shot and blew it. When that game ended, I believed our chance at the title game was over. But … every other legitimate contender blew their chance as well. No one handed Alabama a do-over. Alabama climbed back up in the polls because their competitors lost to lesser opponents than the top-ranked team by greater scores than a FG in overtime. Oklahoma State controlled their own destiny and lost to an unranked team.

    I’ve been watching college football a long time. In losses, the timing, severity, and quality of opponent have always determined whether a team made it into the title game. Last year was not unique.

    The goal of a championship isn’t to satisfy the viewing public. It’s to ensure the two best, most deserving teams in football face each other for the title. And that’s what happened. A 21-0 shellacking in the top-ranked team’s backyard in which you allow them only one foray across the 50 isn’t a do-over. It’s a statement. You’re damn right it was satisfying for the Tide faithful. If it didn’t satisfy you, too bad. My team earned its championship on the field. And all the whining in the world won’t move that trophy one inch from where it sits.

  82. jacksprat57 says: Jun 6, 2012 6:56 PM

    Saban is, as always, a self-serving hypocrite.While Delany is REPRESENTING the interests of the schools which make up his employer, the so-called “Good of the Sport” of which Nick prattles, is little more than his own personal good. It’s all about how many dollars are available to him, for him, cause it’s always only been about him. What a creep!

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