When Nick Saban envisioned 12-team college football playoff expansion creating seismic shifts in NCAA: "It really doesn't matter"

Former Alabama coach, Nick Saban
image credit: @alabamafbl instgram, @kristen saban instagram

Former Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban was a football coach for 50 years before retiring. He did not win 7 national championships without being a visionary around matters affecting college football.

In 2022, the now-retired coach had an interview with ESPN where he spoke about the direction that college football was taking and addressed the possibility of an expanded playoff.

"I think we'll have a bigger playoff at some time in the future," Saban said." I don't know where the mega conferences deal is going. I don't know how it's going to impact the NCAA, but it really doesn't matter in my opinion what the governing organization is. If they don't have protection from litigation, it will be really hard to implement any sort of guidelines and rules."

Last season, the Alabama Crimson Tide's inclusion in the college football playoff was divisive since they had lost one game to the Texas Longhorns before picking up form and defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game to get in.

The Tide got in over the undefeated Florida State Seminoles (13-0) who lost influential quarterback Jordan Travis to injury swaying the CFP Committee's decision.

In an interview with ESPN, Nick Saban sympathized with the Seminoles but warned that an expanded 12-team college football playoff would not guarantee the end of debates over which teams deserved to be included.

"The big games are going to be the big games and there's always going to be speculation of who the best 12 teams are just like there's speculation now who the best four teams are," Saban said.
"One of the great traditions of college football for many years was if you had a great season, you got to go to a bowl game," Saban added. "The more we expand the playoffs -- which I'm not against, I'm for -- it minimizes the importance of bowl games."

CFP Committee accused of favoring Nick Saban due to retirement

When Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide side lost to the Texas Longhorns in Tuscaloosa at the Bryant-Denny Stadium, their season looked on the verge of falling off the rails.

They put on a winning run that culminated in the SEC championship game win against the Georgia Bulldogs which dropped the latter from No. 1 in the AP rankings to No. 6 causing them to miss the college football playoffs.

In an interview with "USA Today Sports," former Bulldogs running back James Cook revealed that the CFP committee favored Nick Saban because they knew of his impending retirement and that Georgia should have made it into the last four over Alabama.

"We were supposed to be in the playoffs this year," Cook said. "If Georgia was in the playoffs this year, we win it all. And I think they didn't want to see us go back-to-back (to back). We lost one game to Alabama in the SEC Championship and hadn't been beaten the whole season. It was the same scenario my last year in college. We won every game, lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship, but we still got in and won it all.
"I just feel like they knew Nick Saban was fixing to retire, so they (tried to) sneak him in one.)"

Alabama under coach Nick Saban always had a target on its back and this is evidenced by the divisive nature of how the Tide made last year's college football playoffs.

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