How Nick Saban, Alabama Have Possible Role In CFB Playoff Expansion


Arkansas v Alabama

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The College Football Playoff may soon be expanding from four to 12 teams and one outlet believes it may have something to do with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

AL.com's Joseph Goodman claims it's more that just "coincidences" that a possible format change was reported days after the Tide announced a contract extension with Saban through 2023.

The outlet notes that Saban had his "ultimate team" in 2020, which went undefeated and won the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January, and highest-ever ranked recruiting class on National Signing Day several weeks later.

"Nothing can stop Saban — not even the ‘Rona, and not even his 70th birthday — so the CFP might as well change the rules and see if that finally works," Goodman wrote.

The article acknowledges that the extension may not be the reason the College Football Playoff is finally considering an extension, but the fact that Super Teams continue to dominate the four-team format takes out the excitement and, with Saban in the fold for at least three more seasons, that shouldn't change any time soon.

"Not saying Saban’s extension is the reason the CFP finally broke away from the Power 5 monopoly, but it is well understood that the age of Super Teams in college football was a consequence of the four-team playoff format. All the best players only wanted to play for Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma. Where’s the fun in that?
"Now there is only one Super Team, and it is Saban’s Alabama. Notre Dame can’t have that."

Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reports the College Football Playoff's working group will recommend a format that includes the six highest-ranking conference champions, as well as six at-large spots.

Thamel said he "spoke to more than a dozen stakeholders" on Monday (June 12), which included "university officials, athletic directors, media executives and others around college sports" with most expressing "an openness" to changing the current format of four teams to 12.

“The reason that you go to 12 is because you can develop the road of least resistance toward a good result,” said a high-ranking college official with knowledge of the process via Yahoo Sports.

The College Football Playoff's 11-member management committee is scheduled to meet in Chicago next week and make a recommendation to the College Football Playoff board of managers, which is scheduled to meet in Dallas next month.

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reports the SEC is expected to be the driving factor for expanding the College Football Playoff from four to 12 teams.

“A 12-team field would presumably allow for six automatic bids -- Power Five conference champions and the top-ranked Group of Five team -- along with six at-large bids,” Dodd wrote. “While the SEC might not be overtly driving the discussion for 12 teams, such a structure would likely benefit the game's most powerful conference. In an eight-team bracket, the SEC would all but be guaranteed two spots annually. In a 12-team bracket, that number could be three or four teams given the current strength of the league and how well it performs in the CFP Rankings. ‘The SEC wants more at-larges," one AD located in the South said.’”

At least one SEC team has appeared in every single College Football Playoff since its inception during the 2014 season.

The SEC is also the only conference to have two representatives make the playoff and appear in the National Championship Game the same year, with Alabama defeating Georgia, 26-23 in overtime during the 2017-18 playoff.

Alabama leads all schools with three College Football Playoff national championships and has made the final four during all but one season in the format's seven seasons of existence.


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