College Football Playoff expansion has been a hot topic since the format’s inception in 2014, and it became scorching late Friday night when No. 3 Georgia polished off No. 2 Michigan 34-11 on the heels of No. 1 Alabama dispatching No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6 in the national semifinals. It was the second straight season that both national semifinal matchups featured double-digit outcomes.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, who’s coached in the CFP seven of the eight years of the system, commented on the push for expansion during his teleconference on Monday.
“I don’t know that expanding — if this is the best four teams and they played each other, I don’t see the logic in it if we had more teams there would be better games,” Saban said. “I don’t know how that adds up.”
The average margin of victory in the 14 national semifinal matchups is 21 points per game, and only four of the games have been decided by 14 points or less.
“The more we expand the playoffs, the more we minimize bowl games, the importance of bowl games, which I said when we went to four,” Saban added. “So I don’t think that’s changed. And I think it’s also come to fruition.”
The College Football Playoff board of managers approved a proposal for the expansion of four to 12 teams earlier this summer. That concept would include the top six conference champions, according to the CFP rankings, and six more at-large teams determined by the rankings. The board of managers announced in December that the proposal has been put on hold for now, which is likely due in part to the massive round of conference realignment that has been announced since the initial proposal was released.
Saban also acknowledged that he isn’t exactly a decision-maker who should be involved in that discussion.
“But I am really not in a position to answer that,” he said. “There’s 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. But, look, I’m not the one that needs to be deciding what the playoff needs to be. There’s a lot of good people out there that can make a decision as to what’s best for college football.”
That might be true, but Saban’s opinion does carry a lot of weight in the sport.
No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia will square off in Indianapolis on Monday, Jan. 10 in the College Football Playoff National Championship.