When it comes to the College Football Playoff, opinions vary greatly on how they should be conducted.
For many years, a national champion was decided by the polls. Then along came the BCS, where No. 1 and No. 2 were paired together, with computers having a major impact.
Now we have the College Football Playoff. No voters, no computers, just a committee picking the four-best teams, and by and large, it’s been successful.
However, with each passing year, the calls for expansion get louder. Although, you won’t hear Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban, two of the more influential head coaches in the sport, pushing the narrative favoring expansion.
Swinney has maintained on more than one occasion that he thinks four is the right number of teams.
“I think one of the reasons that college football is so popular is because every game matters,” Swinney said ahead of last season’s Sugar Bowl. “That game we played at (Virginia Tech), it mattered. That game Florida played against LSU, it mattered.”
Swinney has always believed that college football has the best regular season in all of sports and that expansion will take away from the importance of each and every game.
“The more you expand, the less important the games become,” Swinney said. “All of a sudden, to me, it gets watered down and teams that know they’re going to be in, next thing you know, you’re resting guys, you’re not playing guys. It all becomes about that.”
Saban recently made an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show saying that he isn’t a big fan of expanding further himself. The Alabama head coach is a longtime advocate of bowl games and doesn’t like what just a four-team playoff has done to those games.
“I think the playoff, as I said many years ago when we had just two teams in the playoff and expanded to four, that the more playoffs we have the less significant bowl games are going to be,” Saban said. “It’s really not for me, and I don’t even think I’m capable of judging how significant the positive self-gratification that players, programs, and coaches get from being able to go to a bowl game.”
“Now, everything has shifted to the four teams in the playoffs, and the bowls seem to be pretty insignificant. I think if we expand the playoff, you’re going to see a continuation of that trend where the bowl games become less and less significant. Maybe these things can’t coexist. If they’re going to coexist, maybe we should try to leave them pretty much the same.”
Saban also has concerns regarding conference championship games becoming a thing of the past. The SEC Championship Game has been a staple of college football over the past couple of decades and that is something Saban does not want to see go by the wayside. Nor is he in favor of cutting regular season games in favor of adding more playoff games.
“So, you’re going to eliminate that so you can have more playoff games,” Saban asked. “Are we going to play less games in the regular season so we can have more playoff games? I think there’s only so many games in these guys. They’re student-athletes. They’re not just football players. I think some of that has to be taken into consideration as well.”