While there is no imminent effort to expand the College Football Playoff, many of the sport’s leading figures are still asked regularly if a proposal should be on the table.
Alabama coach Nick Saban was asked that question on “The Rich Eisen Show” this week, and while he did not take a stance, he did raise an important question that decisionmakers will have to answer. Saban pointed out that the playoff has reduced the importance of other bowl games, and questioned whether regular bowls and the playoff can coexist.
“I just wonder sometimes if having a playoff and bowl games, and that was the unique thing about bowl games in college football, a lot of players got self-gratification for having good seasons,” Saban said, via Brad Crawford of 247Sports. “They got to go to a bowl game, their families, the program, everything sort of got some positive self-gratification of what they were able to accomplish even though they weren’t national championship caliber or playoff caliber.
“Now that’s all been diminished a little bit. You just wonder to yourself, can playoff and bowl games co-exist, or should we just have more teams in the playoff? I’m not saying I’m for it or against it. I think that’s the question people need to answer.”
Saban’s point is similar to one previously raised by Urban Meyer, who went a step further and used it to endorse playoff expansion. It’s true that players want to play in the playoff, and other bowl games don’t mean what they used to mean. This is increasingly gaining momentum as something those in favor of expanding the playoffs point to as evidence to back their proposals.