Nick Saban Suggests Altering Regular-Season Schedule, College Football Playoff

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2017

Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football playoff game between Alabama and Washington, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban offered his two cents to help improve the perception of the college football bowl season and strengthen the College Football Playoff.

Saban advocated for schools in Power Five conferences to only play other Power Five schools, as well as a new methodology for determining postseason matchups, per ESPN.com's Heather Dinich:

"If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament—not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff."  

Saban added that he would eliminate the six-win threshold to earn bowl eligibility, which would entice schools to schedule more high-profile games each year.

Saban's comments come at a time when bowl games may be losing their luster, both in the eyes of fans and players.

Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey both decided to skip their team's postseason bowl a year ago to focus on their draft preparation. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Fournette fourth overall, and the Carolina Panthers made McCaffrey the eighth overall selection.

In April, ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson spoke to an assistant coach from a Power Five school who envisioned Fournette and McCaffrey creating a trend in college football.

"I can envision a time where you're a first-round talent, your team went 9-3 and is going to play at the Belk Bowl and his agent says, 'You don't need to play,'" the assistant said. "It's not going to hurt you. You're guaranteed right now if you don't play another game $15 million, and now you're going to go play in a meaningless bowl game?"

It's doubtful restructuring bowl season based on a singular power rating would do anything to solve the issue. The Bowl Championship Series represented an improvement over how college football had previously determined a national champion, but there's a reason the BCS was eventually scrapped in favor of the four-team playoff.

In addition, having Power Five schools only play other Power Five schools would only increase the stratification in the FBS. Part of the fun of the college football season is watching smaller schools upset prestigious powerhouses, and that would be taken out of the equation in Saban's scenario.