Nick Saban Is on the Right Track with Proposal to Change Bowl Selection Process

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 14, 2014

AP Images

Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn't get his way and get a ninth conference game in the SEC's scheduling debate, but he's still campaigning for his vision of the future of college football.

Next on his agenda is apparently bowl selection.

According to Michael Casagrande of, Saban stumped for the College Football Playoff selection committee to not only decide the four best teams in the country, but place all teams in postseason bowls.

Saban explained his stance at the Montgomery stop of the Crimson Caravan tour (via Casagrande):

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.

Saban's stance is simple. The selection committee is picking the four most worthy teams to play in the national semifinals, so why not do the same to create compelling bowl matchups in the middle- and lower-tier bowls?

He's certainly on the right track.

The SEC is already doing something similar starting after this season with six of its bowl games. After teams are selected for the national semifinals, the group of six bowls in the semifinal rotation and the Capital One Bowl, the conference will place teams in the Outback, Music City, Gator, Liberty, Texas and Belk Bowls based on matchups, locations and ticket sales.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick SabanStacy Revere/Getty Images

Talking control of the selection process out of the lower-tier bowls themselves and giving more to the conferences or an independent group like the selection committee would, in theory, create compelling matchups throughout the bowl season.

Saban is on the right track, but he may be taking it a step too far.

Instead of letting a committee place all teams in bowl games, a better solution would be the road the SEC is going down with its "group of six" lower-tier bowls. Those games are tied into the conference for fans, coaches and recruits.

LSU played Iowa in the 2014 Outback Bowl
LSU played Iowa in the 2014 Outback BowlAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Why are there so many Big Ten versus SEC bowl games in Florida? It isn't just SEC schools that want to have a presence in the Sunshine State, the Big Ten does too. 

We've seen more options in the bowl process over the last few years outside of the SEC. Either the ACC or Big Ten will play an SEC opponent in the Gator and Music City Bowls starting after this season. Let's follow that same path and create more options with flexible conference tie-ins for licensed bowls without scrapping the tie-in format altogether.

The College Football Playoff selection committee—or another committee charged with placing teams in bowl games—would still have the ability to create compelling matchups across the board but would also have some structure to work with based on the desires of the conferences and bowls.

There will be a total of 40 bowl games following the 2015 season, which, as I wrote last month, is great for college football.

They'd be be even better with more matchup flexibility, which is the ultimate goal Saban has in mind.


* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.