There's no gray area regarding Nick Saban's stance on automatic bids for conference champions. The Alabama head coach was emphatic about his opposition to mandating that a four-team college football playoff only include conference champions in March.
The Crimson Tide head man dropped the hammer on Thursday.
Speaking on the "Tim Brando Show" on Yahoo! Sports Radio, Saban was asked if the four playoff spots should be reserved for conference champions (which, I've noted, is a terrible idea).
His response? "Hell no."
Big Ten commissioner, however, Jim Delany kept egging him on with the proposal.
First, it was the ridiculous three-game semifinal, which mandated that the Rose Bowl still receive the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions, no matter where they're ranked at the end of the season.
Wednesday, Delany floated the notion that the four-team playoff should be limited to teams that, at the very least, win their division. As my colleague Michael Felder at "Your Best 11" points out, it's a clear indication that Delany wasn't happy with Alabama getting into the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, and he is doing all he that he can to prevent teams with similar resumes from getting a spot in the future, taking an apparent shot at Alabama in the process:
''I don't have a lot of regard for that team,'' Delany said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. ''I certainly wouldn't have as much regard for that team as I would for someone who played nine conference games in a tough conference and played a couple out-of-conference games on the road against really good opponents. If a poll doesn't honor those teams and they're conference champions, I do.''
Alabama, of course, finished behind the LSU Tigers in the SEC West last season in its championship run.
Delany hates that his conference has taken a back seat to the SEC, and as Adam Jacobi of the "Big Ten Blog" points out, he's only looking out for himself. Granted, that's his job, and he'd be doing a disservice to his conference if he didn't fight for it a bit. But this is getting a bit absurd.
Saban isn't fighting for selfish reasons, though his team would have gotten the short end of the stick in most of Delany's plans. He's fighting for the good of college football.
The goal should be to reward the best team in college football, not the best conference champion. Anything less isn't acceptable.