Nick Saban Loves Soccer’s Relegation System As Possible Solution To CFB’s Looming Super Conference Problem

Nick Saban Loves Soccer’s Relegation System As Possible Solution To CFB’s Looming Super Conference Problem

Getty Image / Jeffrey Vest / Icon Sportswire

It sure looks like the future of College Football is superconferences. With the SEC and Big 10 beefing up their members, there’s a lot of talk about where things are headed in the next 5-10 years. Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke with Dan Patrick about the future of College Football, superconferences, and expanding the SEC.

Dan asked Coach Saban about ‘how much is too much?’ when it comes to SEC expansion and would the AFC/NFC model used by the NFL be good for College Football? Coach Nick Saban doesn’t have all the answers but he did interestingly used the European soccer model of relegation as a potential fix to the looming problem of superconferences in College Football.

Here’s their discussion with video + quotes below the video.

Nick Saban Is Asked ‘How Big Is Too Big’ When It Comes To SEC Expansion And Super Conferences

Dan Patrick: “Can the SEC get too big, numbers-wise, coach?”

Nick Saban: “I’m not sure. I think we’re probably headed in the direction, like it or not, of mega conferences. How that all turns out and what’s too bit and what’s not big enough is probably a pretty good question to try and figure out but I’m not sure anybody has the answer to that right now.”

“And maybe we have two or three mega conferences and then that’s where the Playoffs teams come from. I really don’t know but it looks like we’re headed in that direction.”

Saban thinks we’re headed towards an NFL-style model for super conferences.

Dan Patrick: “Yeah coach I wonder if.. and I brought this up to Greg Sankey… Do you have like maybe 60 teams? You have AFC and NFC, like you just use the NFL model?”

Nick Saban: “Well, that seems to be where we’re headed.”

Dan Patrick: “Is that good or bad?”

Nick Saban proposes European-style ‘relegation’ as a fix to looming CFB superconference problem.

Nick Saban: “I’m not sure. It’s probably going to be good for some people but it’s not going to be good for all people because everybody won’t be able to compete at that level. So we’ll create a separation. Like at least probably 50% of the schools that are considered Division 1 schools now would not be able to compete that way.”

“Maybe we can come up with some way like they do in soccer where, over in Europe I think, I don’t understand it completely, where if you have a really good team at Wichita State you could qualify for the playoffs even though you don’t play in that division.”

It’s interesting that Nick Saban throws out Wichita State as the example here. Given that fictional coach ‘Ted Lasso’ was a coach at Wichita State before taking the head coaching position at AFC Richmond in Ted Lasso I have to assume that Nick Saban’s referencing that show here. It is the only reasonable explanation.

How relegation usually works in Europe.

I’m also not 100% certain how Nick Saban believes relegation works in European soccer. In this instance, would Wichita State just be moving up to the theoretical super conference for a playoff or would they be moving up to the super conference because they were good the prior season?

In the Premier League in England, the bottom three teams at the end of the season get sent down to the Championship which is the next tier down. And the top teams from that season in the Championship get promoted to the Premier League. So in College Football, there would theoretically be some sort of lower-tier playoff system where those teams got bumped up to the Division 1/SEC super conference the following season.

I think a lot of American fans would love to see relegation but it would be a lot cooler if it happened at the professional level instead of at the collegiate level, in my opinion.

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