Les Miles said coaches unanimously in favor of eight-game schedule by 13-1 count. Only guy for nine is Saban
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) May 29, 2013
… not surprised at all. Not that Les Miles apparently believes 13-1 is unanimous or that the SEC did this. More and more it seems those schools cling to their seven-game home schedule, never mind the dump trucks full of money the league and its members make, and the eight-game conference schedule, complemented nicely by lack of depth in non-conference scheduling.
This has been an offseason of SEC attacking and SEC grandstanding and, really, it’s hard to blame either activity.
This elicited the entirely expected apoplectic reaction from many SEC fans and protectors, but some quality retorts, as well. Florida’s Will Muschamp had a laugh and made me laugh. Alabama’s Nick Saban revealed he has neither time for nor interest in what Stoops has to say.
But Saban also pushed hard for the nine-game schedule.
“The biggest thing we all need to do in some of these decisions we’re making about who we play and what we do is, ‘What about the fans?’ ” Saban said. “One of these days they’re going to quit coming to the games because they’re going to stay at home and watch it on TV. Everybody’s going to say, ‘Why don’t you come to the games?’ Well, if you’d play somebody good, then we’d come to the games.
“That should be the first consideration. Nobody’s considering them. They’re just thinking about, ‘How many games can I win? Can I get bowl-qualified? How many tough teams do I have to play?’ “
Saban likened it to viewing the issue “through a straw,” and said he’s “trying to look at it from 1,000 feet.”
“I shouldn’t be for it,” he said. “We’d have a better chance to be successful if we didn’t do it – but I think it’s best for the game and for the league.”
I’m looking at it from 1,000 miles away, of course, but I still believe the College Football Playoff is going to require eight or nine games. There needs to be equality in the way teams are evaluated and creating a common set of elements if the best way to foster that. There’s too much variation involved in letting teams play eight- and nine-game conference schedules. Imagine the debate that difference would create — and imagine removing that debate.
The worry now is how the 2013 season will affect that variable. If the SEC wins another trophy, eight games is legitimized. If the Big 12, with some very compelling non-conference games — some against the SEC! — has a team in the hunt or in the game or in the middle of the field with Mike Tirico, then nine games gets a little validation, too.