Alabama's Nick Saban Not Sure CFP Expansion Would Lead to More Competitive Games

Doric SamJanuary 3, 2022

Alabama coach Nick Saban walks off the field before the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter

The longstanding debate of whether the College Football Playoff should be expanded from four teams has not gone away.

Ahead of next week's national title game between Alabama and Georgia, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban weighed in on the discussion and said he doesn't think expanding the playoff would lead to more competitive matchups.

"I don't know that expanding ... if these are the best four teams and they played each other, I don't see the logic in it that if we had more teams there would be better games. I don't know how that adds up," Saban said Monday during his CFP virtual news conference, per ESPN's Chris Low.

Saban admitted that there are scenarios in which more than four teams deserve to compete for a national title, adding, "There are a lot of other good teams, whether it was their consistency in performance or whatever happened to them in championship games or whatever, that may have had the opportunity to get in the playoffs that didn't."

Saban's comments come ahead of an in-person meeting involving the CFP's management committee reportedly set for Saturday to discuss potential expansion. Low noted that if a format is unanimously agreed upon, the management committee can present it to the board of managers, which has the authority to change the playoff.

The CFP management committee officially announced on June 10 that it was considering a 12-team proposal. Since then, the group has had two meetings in Chicago and four meetings in Texas, making Saturday's meeting in Indianapolis the seventh time they will discuss the subject.

Low stated that whether Power Five conference champions should receive automatic bids has been a significant point of debate despite many commissioners supporting the expansion to a 12-team format. He also added that a decision needs to be made whether to implement the expansion by 2024 or 2026. If the former is chosen, it would have to be a unanimous vote. But if they decide to wait until 2026, unanimity is not required.

Saban, who is competing for his eighth career national title, has led the Crimson Tide to appearances in seven of the eight playoffs since it started in 2014. It's the sixth time that Alabama has reached the CFP title game, going 3-2 in its previous trips. The Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs in the 2017 title matchup.

This year's playoff was unique in that Cincinnati became the first Group of Five team ever to be selected in the Top Four. The Bearcats fell to Alabama 27-6 in the semifinal. Michigan, which was also a first-time playoff selection, lost 34-11 to Georgia in the other semifinal.