Nick Saban defers on College Football Playoff expansion as Alabama Crimson Tide prepare for championship game


The expansion of the CFP is not up to me.

The College Football Playoff might expand, but it might not mean much to bowl games. The time has come.

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When asked about the possibility of expansion of the College Football Playoff, Nick Saban was noncommittal.

"I don't need to be deciding what the playoff needs to be," he said during the virtual news conference. A lot of good people can make a decision on what's best for college football. The more we expand the playoff, the less bowl games are important, I said when we went to a four-team playoff. I think it's come to fruition, and I don't think that's changed.

Alabama has made it to the playoffs in seven of the eight years. This will be the sixth appearance in the national championship game for the Tide, and the fifth for the coach. The national championship game was played between Alabama and Georgia.

The management committee of the College Football Playoff is expected to meet in Indianapolis on Saturday to discuss expansion of the playoffs. If they agree on a format, they can present it to the board of managers, who have the power to change the playoff. They meet on the Monday morning of the title game every year.

The management committee's seventh in-person gathering will be on Saturday, and it will be the second meeting in Chicago. There is still debate about whether the Power 5 conference champion should get automatic bids.

The executive director of the CFP has said that a decision needs to be made by January if the playoffs are to expand in time for the 2024 season. The current contract requires unanimous agreement from all 11 members of the board of managers, along with the bowls and the CFP, to change the format. If the playoffs don't expand until 2026, the commissioners have a blank slate and a new contract to work with.

Since the advent of the four-team playoff in the season of 2014, there have been 16 semifinal games, and 13 of them have been decided by double figures.

Proponents of playoff expansion say it would give more teams a chance to win a national title and create more competitive games, but that doesn't necessarily jive with what Nick says.

I don't think it makes sense to expand if these are the best four teams and they played each other. "I don't know how that adds up, I've been an advocate for the SEC playing nine league games instead of eight."

I am not in a position to answer that. There are a lot of other good teams, whether it was their consistency in performance or whatever happened to them in championship games or whatever, that may have had the opportunity to get in the playoffs that didn't.

The first Group of 5 team to make the playoffs, Cincinnati, lost 27-6 to Alabama in the semifinals of the Cotton Bowl Classic. The Michigan football team lost 34-11 to Georgia in the Capital One Orange Bowl in their first-ever playoff appearance.

Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Notre Dame occupied the same number of spots in the playoffs before this season.

Twelve of the past 16 national champion have come from the SEC. Five different SEC schools have won national titles if Georgia wins.

The report was contributed to by Heather Dinich.