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Saban on playoffs: ‘You can’t sneak yourself in’

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Alabama coach Nick Saban was just finished dusting off the confetti from last night’s BCS championship victory over Notre Dame — his fourth championship in eight years — when he took the podium this morning for a press conference.

Saban touched on and was asked about a variety of topics — yes, the NFL thing came up; no, Saban wasn’t happy about it — including his opinion on a four-team playoff, which is coming up in two years.

Here’s what Saban said about the selection process:

You can’t sneak yourself in,” Saban said, adding that teams should have to play in a conference championship game. Currently, four of the five major conferences in college football hold such a game; only the 10-team Big 12 does not.

Personally, I feel the Big 12 has it right. Play nine conference games in a round robin league and have a clear a path to a playoff spot with a good enough overall record. Financially speaking, the Big 12 doesn’t need a conference championship either. If a playoff selection committee truly places an emphasis on what teams have done in the regular season, then sneaking in based on whether or not your conference has a championship game doesn’t seem likely when the field is still just four teams.

But if we’re talking about “sneaking in,” it’s tough not to tell Saban to look in the mirror after what happened following the 2011 season. The Tide did not win the SEC West and therefore did not play in the SEC championship game, but because there was a strong push for “the two best teams” to play in the BCS championship, Alabama got the nod over Big 12 champion Oklahoma State.

A four-team playoff is far from perfect and it won’t resolve every problem, but “sneaking in” doesn’t feel like it will be an issue.

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23 Responses to “Saban on playoffs: ‘You can’t sneak yourself in’”
  1. fitz66 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:25 PM

    Hilarious. Didn’t he “sneak in” last year?

  2. infrno says: Jan 8, 2013 12:32 PM

    So now he’s back to that. Classic Saban. HA!

  3. louhudson23 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:33 PM

    You make it sound as though the “push” for the two best teams was something out of left field. If the desire of the championship game is not to pit the two best teams(which is the stated goal of the BCS from the start),then you are talking March Madness,which is not a championship,but a Tournament ,the winner of which is crowned Champion.4 teams or eight,they have to be selected and seeded,which puts things right back onto a ranking system….a playoff is hardly an answer and will do nothing to stop the whining….the BCS has been a wonderful system,more often than not pitting the two best teams(it was arguable that this was not true this year.)The BCS put an end to two undefeated teams like Nebraska and Michigan off somewhere playing two other teams …etc….Any argument made against any past BCS Champion will still be being made after a playoff system comes into play…..

  4. johnclaytonsponytail says: Jan 8, 2013 12:35 PM

    I believe Bama shouldn’t have played in the championship last year. They played one less game and had a month and a half to prepare for a familiar foe. If the shoe would’ve been on the other foot LSU wouldn’t have backed into the ship. But they did and NO one will beat Saban if he has almost 45 days to prepare.

  5. johnclaytonsponytail says: Jan 8, 2013 12:37 PM

    It’s hard enough to beat him once much less again in the same season.

  6. melikefootball says: Jan 8, 2013 12:40 PM

    The NCAA should pentalize the teams that play bebunk high instead of quality teams. They should also not drop teams so far when beat by a ranked team. Stop allowing name tems to have a 12-1 record and play five teasms only for a win.

  7. xtremesportsmaniac says: Jan 8, 2013 1:00 PM

    I agree with him only take conference champs in the 4 team playoff. I would really like to see them take all conference champs and 2 at large teams but that’s not going to happen.

    It’s not a knock on UF but had there been a 4 team playoff this year they would have made it.

  8. mountaineer50415 says: Jan 8, 2013 1:03 PM

    It looks as if it is impossible for people to pick the best four team, or eight. or sixteen. People are too proned to pick their favorite. I know I am. Looking back it appears that the four best teams in the country are:
    1 Alabama
    2 Georgia
    3 Oregon
    4 Texas A&M

    Some of them messed up during the season, however, at this time that is the way it is. Truly do not know where teams like Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oklahoma belong. I do know that LSU and Florida were way overranked and so were the three above them. No one that deserves to be in the top ten would have bombed the way they did. But how are we to know? I have no idea. Even though I did pick Alabama as number 1 all season, I had WVU at number 2!!!!! Did anyone have all of the top four teams up there?

  9. infrno says: Jan 8, 2013 1:13 PM

    It’s funny, since A&M lost to both LSU and Florida, and Alabama came within about a minute and a half of losing to LSU as well. I agree that they were overranked earlier in the year, but A&M obviously isn’t that much better than either of them. I think you have the top 3 in the correct order, but then it gets really messy after that. In terms of a playoff, both Florida and LSU would have had to be ranked higher than A&M since they would not have played a bowl game, had either equal or better records, and beat A&M head to head.

    It’ll be better than what we’ve got now, but not by all that much.

  10. johnclaytonsponytail says: Jan 8, 2013 1:22 PM

    Just cause LSU lost on a field goal at the last second doesnt mean they were a flop. They played well over the coarse of the year beat A&M and almost beat Bama. Considering how banged up their line was and Burger wasnt as developed as we thought we played betterthan we should have. As far as the Clemson game, we had that game in the bag but its seemed like the team wasnt excited to be in the Peach Bowl(cant blame them) and Miles awkward and bad playing towards the end of the game. With all starters returning next year And the D getting younger Im looking for the offense to take leaps and bounds next year.

  11. mountaineer50415 says: Jan 8, 2013 1:27 PM

    That is the problem. If we do not get to the NC game, noone gets excited to play the one they did get.
    When will people play their best in every game. It really hurts when I root root root and the team doesn’t even want to be there.

  12. marcinhouston says: Jan 8, 2013 1:54 PM

    Any non-SEC team that appears in the BCS game snuck in, and based on the last decade, they have snuck out too, with their heads held low.

  13. mungman69 says: Jan 8, 2013 2:01 PM

    An eight team playoff. That would be cool.

  14. tlmoon2112 says: Jan 8, 2013 2:25 PM

    @FITZ66: you took the words right out of my mouth boss. He snuck HIS team in last year, who is he to say “you can’t sneak yourself in”??

  15. gatorprof says: Jan 8, 2013 3:51 PM

    Do any of you honestly believe that Bama wouldn’t have been one of the top four teams in an honest playoff scenario in 2011?

    When folks talk about over-rated, crappy, weak-schedule playing teams that wouldn’t survive a playoff, teams like The Ohio State University (2006, 2007), OK (2008), Texas (2009), Oregon (2010) and ND (2012) come to mind.

    In a sense, non SEC teams just need not apply as they just cannot play with SEC talent and intensity.

    Cue up the haters…

  16. barbeaux says: Jan 8, 2013 4:35 PM

    They should force every conference to have a championship or take the top two teams per conference standings and throw them into a tourney. Works pretty well for the lower divisions of college football.

  17. scalpemseminoles says: Jan 8, 2013 4:43 PM

    fack you, saban

  18. mshassen2015 says: Jan 8, 2013 5:00 PM

    fitz66… No Alabama didn’t sneak in last year, someone who sneaks in gets beat and beat down like ND did, Did you hear Bama actually won the game last year…..

  19. Deb says: Jan 8, 2013 6:47 PM

    The playoffs should be the top four teams by rank. Otherwise, we’re going to have some dipstick team that won a conference championship getting in over a 2011 Alabama–clearly a better team–that didn’t. I want to see the best teams compete, not a bunch of princesses who happen to be sporting cute tiaras.

  20. infrno says: Jan 8, 2013 6:47 PM

    Actually according to Nick, they did. ;) but that’s just his current opinion, he switched it last year and will again next year if it benefits him.

    If you can’t win your division, let alone your conference, you have no business playing in the championship game. Period.

  21. mshassen2015 says: Jan 9, 2013 12:54 AM

    gatorprof… They should of been, any playoff should have at least two to three sec teams…..look what they do every year in the nc game, most years they blow out the other team.. should of ND been there this year they may of been undefeted, but no match for bama, and I would bet Ga or Texas am would of beat them by that much too, and really the big ten champ be in…. they just are not as good as the 3 or 4th best sec team…Most of the other conf champs cant compete with the top sec teams…

  22. suprmous says: Jan 9, 2013 1:41 AM

    Here’s an LSU fan for you guys. I can’t believe that you’re going to say LSU was overrated when in actuality our schedule nowhere matched up against Bama’s. We gave them all we could and granted we lost, partly because of our own doing and partly other factors but to say we were overrated give me a damned break. Who did Bama play up til they played us and A&M that was ranked? If my memory serves me right they had nothing but a cupcake schedule. God forgive me but pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. And then when they finally got to play Ga Ga could’ve easily manhandled em. But the tale of 2 seasons really lay ahead when they got ND. Never have I seen any one team so different in one season than what they were. But I’ll give the devil his due. Bama did win it.

  23. Deb says: Jan 9, 2013 9:30 PM

    Oh yes, suprmous, Bama squeaked by. Thanks for giving the devil its due :roll:

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