Alabama coach Nick Saban has been vocal in the past about making changes to the Southeastern Conference’s in-conference scheduling methods. On Tuesday, Saban again voiced his support in making significant changes to the SEC.
Saban said he would like to see SEC teams play ‘nine or 10’ conference games as opposed to the eight conference games each team plays in a given season. Saban tied his argument for the additional game into the College Football Playoff, explaining it would make it even easier to determine which four teams will make the playoff.
“Now, I’ve heard [SEC commissioner Greg Sankey] talk about the fact we don’t want to play nine SEC games, but I’ve always been an advocate of playing nine or 10 SEC games then a couple of other games against some other good opponents that everybody would be happy to watch,” Saban said. “I think it would help us determine to your next question who should be in the playoff. You might not have to go undefeated in the playoff because there would be more games against high-quality opponents, which would help determine who the best teams are.”
At this point, the ACC is the only other Power 5 conference that does not play nine conference games.
As part of his argument, Saban pushed for the SEC to play nine games and for the conference’s teams to only face opponents from Power 5 conferences. He said his belief in the need of an additional conference game and getting rid of games against lower-tier opponents is all about giving fans what they want to see.
“I think we need to have more really, really good games on TV for the players,” Saban said. “We can’t have fans who pay a lot of money for tickets and boxes who support our program to pay for games that no one’s interested in watching.”
Sankey mentioned on Monday that the conference did a year long review regarding the conference schedules and determined its best bet was the 6-1-1 model. He made it evident no change was on the horizon and explained the conference’s members understand they control their overall strength of schedule.
“Today I’ve seen observations that we should have the nine-game schedule. One of those conversations that we’ve had with the College Football Playoff selection committee chair is about the conference schedule piece. And I want to try to be intentional,” Sankey said. “What they’ve said is, ‘We look at the entire schedule.’ That’s the issue that our schools have to be and our teams have to be mindful of — the entirety of their schedule needs to be robust.”