What Scares Nick Saban Most About College Football Playoff Expansion

Nick Saban sees this as the biggest obstacle in an expanded playoff

Getty This is the scariest aspect of a potential expanded College Football Playoff for Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Nick Saban spoke to the media on September 29 to discuss a multitude of topics, one of them including his opinion on an expanded College Football Playoff — and how it will affect his Alabama Crimson Tide. On September 2, ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Heather Dinich reported that the CFP board’s 11 presidents and chancellors approved a 12-team model that includes the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams.

Per 247Sports’ Charlie Potter, the biggest worry Saban has regarding an expanded playoff for his own team is playing in conditions they are not used to when the stakes increase. “You could be a southern team in our conference, including us, having to go to Wisconsin to play in December or January, which would be totally different,” Saban said. “But that’s how they do it in the NFL.”

Alabama hasn’t regular played in cold-weather conditions in the regular season since the 1980s when the Tide played Penn State in Happy Valley every other year. They last played in Wisconsin back in November, 1928 in a loss.

Nick Saban Is in Favor of Expanding The College Football Playoff

Nick Saban may be worried about facing climate challenges his guys aren’t used to, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t in favor of expanding the College Football Playoff and hosting postseason games on campuses nationwide.

Quite the opposite. Because many players aren’t fans of participating in bowl games, hoping instead to spend time with family following the grueling 3-month long season that follows fall camp, Saban recognizes that the non-New Year’s 6 bowls have lost great meaning over the years.

“Bowl games are not something players want to play in,” Saban said on Back on the Record with Bob Costas. “Now players opt out of that if it’s not part of the playoff. Therefore, I’m for expanding the playoffs.”

An Expanded CFP Could Help SEC Schools Catch Alabama

One of the many reasons why recruits routinely choose Alabama over the field every cycle has to do with exposure — when you sign up to play for Nick Saban, you are joining one of the few programs that has a realistic chance of playing on the sport’s biggest stage.

The Crimson Tide have missed the College Football Playoff once, while 11 SEC schools have never been a part of one. Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek told USA Today’s Blake Toppmeyer back in February that an expanded playoff gives his program, among other SEC universities’, the chance to catch up to Saban and co.

“An expanded playoff, when you’re trying to build a program and trying to catch programs like an Alabama, like a Georgia, like Texas A&M and those programs, the more opportunities you have, the better it is for a school like Arkansas,” said Yuracheck. The Razorbacks’ AD did concede that the SEC has been one of the primary beneficiaries of the current system, though. “If you look at it, selfishly, from an SEC standpoint, it has worked very well for our conference to have a four-team playoff.”

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