BREAKING NEWS: the coach whose team won the national championship this past season without winning its own conference doesn't feel a plus-one should be restricted to conference champions.
That stunner is brought to you by Outkick the Coverage, who Tuesday asked Alabama head coach Nick Saban about his thoughts on Larry Scott's "champions-only" proposal at a Nashville speaking engagement. Saban's thoughts were predictable ... though the forcefulness of his disdain for other BCS conferences may raise an eyebrow (emphasis added):
"I don't think there's a parity in college football like there is in the NFL, where you can make a statement like that. No disrespect to any conference, but there are conferences that are in the BCS that if they played in the SEC their champion may be in fourth or fifth place. ... No disrespect to anyone. I disagree with that [idea]. If you're one of the two best teams you should be able to play in the game and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to get back in the game this year and I think we proved with our performance that we should have been in the game."
Saban also added that he has "a tremendous amount of respect for Roy Kramer," the former SEC commissioner who created the BCS and recently sided with Scott, telling CBSSports.com the plus-one should be restricted to conference champions.
But despite the opinions of the league's former commish, it's safe to say the league's current officials are soundly in Saban's corner on this one; Mike Slive recently declared his opposition to a champions-only plus-one (saying it "would not be the way I want to go"), and it's hard to imagine anyone else in the conference arguing in favor of restricting the plus-one field when Les Miles himself said he'd welcome an Alabama rematch in midseason*.
All of which means no one will be surprised when the SEC pushes against the champions-only argument when the plus-one is finally finalized. But Saban's comment also illustrates why there's likely to be push back from the rest of the leagues at the BCS table; when the SEC and its powers-that-be feel that a Big East or ACC champion might finish "fourth or fifth" in the conference -- and rest assured that if Saban is saying it, plenty of other people around the league are thinking it -- it's not going to be easy for the SEC to pull those same leagues it's publicaly calling its inferiors into line.
*We do wonder if, privately, Miles had changed his mind by the time the BCS title game was over.
Photo from Alabama national championship celebration by US Presswire.
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