Lincoln Riley stands up for small schools against Nick Saban's Power 5 scheduling idea
Alabama coach Nick Saban caused a stir following Saturday’s 62-10 victory over New Mexico State when he offered his opinion on non-conference scheduling.
“I’d rather play 10 SEC games and then play two other Power 5 schools so all the games are exciting for the fans, all the games are good football,” Saban said.
Asked about his opinion on scheduling, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley went another direction.
“Well, there’s a lot to it,” Riley said, according to OU Insider. “It’s not as simple as that because we don’t all play the same amount of conference games. We don’t all have the top two teams in the league playing a conference championship. So I don’t know that I totally agree. I’ve said before I’ve been at the East Carolinas, you know, where that’s such a huge game for your athletic department, your city, your fan base, your players. You get to play at places that without that you wouldn’t be able to and have a chance to beat teams like that. And then even a game like the other night, for us, if we play well, the reward of being able to play so many players, especially with this four-game rule, getting a chance to look at guys.”
Riley even referred to the Georgia State upset of Tennessee and used the idea that an underdog story is popular. The Sooners themselves are coming off of a game against South Dakota.
“Oh, I think everybody in sports, not just for that game, but everybody loves an underdog win,” Riley said. “I mean, it brings back memories of being at like East Carolina and winning some of the games we did there. Some of the most memorable games I’ll ever have were winning against teams that we had no business winning against, and I think we got five of them when we were there. And so those are special, so really cool for Georgia State and other teams that get a chance to go do that, Appalachian State obviously several years ago. There’s been many, but it’s a cool thing.”