Published May 30, 2012 - 8:21am
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Many of Tuesday’s comments coming from Destin were directed toward the 4-team playoff, namely how the teams would be selected. The conferences are staking their positions. The “weaker” conferences are pushing for a 4-team playoff constructed by conference champions. The SEC is pushing for the four best teams in the country, regardless of conference. The SEC coaches were a unified front on the first day of Spring Meetings.
Nick Saban had some of the strongest statements:
“There’s no question that we’re even doing the top four because fans and the people who are interested in college football are interested in seeing the best four teams play in a playoff,” Saban said Tuesday at the 2012 SEC spring meetings.
A four-team playoff shouldn’t be limited to conference champions, Alabama head coach Nick Saban reiterated.
“Now, we’re going to mess that up by saying you have to be a conference champion. I think somebody’s a bit self-absorbed and worrying about how it affects them and how they can best get somebody in the (national championship) all the time, rather than getting the best four teams. I don’t think that’s fair to the fans and the people who really have made it known that they want to see the four best teams play in a playoff.
“The bigger these conferences get the better chance you have to have two very good teams in that.”
Saban went further in a follow-up interview:
“It’s self-absorbed people who are worried about how it affects their circumstance or their league rather than what’s best for college football who would want to do that,” Saban said, according to The Birmingham News. “It’s not what’s best for the fans because they’ve made it very clear what they want it to be.”
“People want to see the best four teams play in a playoff. The problem in college football is there’s not equal parity in the leagues. Some leagues are stronger than others in different years. It’s not always going to be where the SEC is stronger than another league. There’s going to be years when other leagues are stronger than the SEC. It’s not an SEC thing. History in recent years would say that, but that’s how it’s been all the way through.
“I think you’re going to get a lot of real complaining if we have a four-team playoff and we go through all this that we’re going through to try to implement this and execute it and, all of a sudden, next year we have the No. 1 team, the No. 3 team, the No. 7 team and the No. 11 team being the four teams in the playoffs. There’s going to be a mutiny on the ship, there’s no question about that.”
”I think it needs to be the four best teams in the country,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. ”I don’t think it needs to be the conference champions because in our league we might have four of the best teams in the country.”
”I don’t know. The way we do it now?” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ”Just take the top four teams in the BCS instead of the top two. That’s one way of doing it. It’s already in place. You wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Change is here, it sounds like, I suppose it’s worthy of discussion as to how to do it. But I’m not for making it a prerequisite that you have to be the winner in your in league. I wouldn’t make that part of it.”
”Do you know who’s won the Super Bowl the last two years?” Spurrier said. ”Weren’t the Giants 8-8? And the Packers didn’t even win their division the year before and got hot in the playoffs. It just depends on how much importance you want to place into a playoff system, a tournament. I know there have been a lot of NCAA (basketball) champions that didn’t necessarily win their conference but they got hot in the tournament.”
”We’re so much closer to having the best teams play,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. ”Every single game is so critically important in college football and we should embrace that. You can lose six games, eight games in basketball and still win a national championship. You can’t do that in college football. I think we’re very close.”
”Our league has been consistent that if you’re going to have a four-team playoff that the best four teams ought to be selected to play for the national championship,” Slive said. ”If the issue is how teams are selected, then let’s go and talk about the selection process and make the selection process more palatable to everybody rather than try to gerrymander who the top four teams are.
”I’m very open to looking at any and all ways to make changes in the actually selection process itself.”