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Before Scheduling, Check with Nick Saban

January 2nd, 2018 · No Comments · College football

I am predisposed to dislike Nick Saban.

Alabama’s football coach seems joyless and put-upon, as if he can’t catch a break and it’s somehow the fault of the rest of us — despite those four national championships.

He is so concerned about security leaks that very little of Alabama’s practices is open to media. (Compare that to Pete Carroll during his time at USC, when nearly every practice was open from start to finish.)

Saban, the Bill Belichick of the college game, is such a control freak, according to Forbes, that he personally approves (or doesn’t) every interview request for players and assistant coaches — and the latter are adults, of course. But Saban has always demanded that he alone is the (dreary) voice of the program. “You’d like to have one message with multiple voices,” he said in 2008. “But it sure is easier to control with only one voice.”

So, today he made a silly complaint — or was he getting in an excuse early?

He does not like the timing of events leading up to the College Football Playoff championship game, next Monday, in Atlanta.

Here is his beef: He thinks there ought to be more time than the one week — the usual football interval — between the semifinals and the championship game.


Apparently, because Alabama could not get out of New Orleans by the time their 24-6 victory over Clemson on Monday night was finished.

The team needed a four-hour bus ride the next morning to get back to Tuscaloosa.

Said Saban: “Someone has to think about the players and not what’s convenient for the media or TV.”

Apparently, it is inconvenient for Alabama to play once every seven days — which just about every team does during the regular season.

Though we might suggest that the eight-year, $65 million contract Saban has with Alabama, through the 2024 season, might prompt him to do some problem-solving vis a vis his team and preparations for next Monday’s game.

Saban wants another day between the semifinal and the final.

Generally, that works out. Eight days. Or more.

The problem this year? The Rose Bowl, in California, where Georgia played in its semifinal with Oklahoma, generally is played on January 1. For the past century-plus.

January 1 was a Monday, and Georgia won in double overtime.

Meanwhile, Alabama and Clemson played later in the evening in New Orleans — into the wee hours of Tuesday, yes, but Alabama players don’t have to deal jet lag, which some of Georgia’s players might have to deal with, in that three-hour time change from SoCal to Georgia.

Also, college football likes to play its championship game on Monday nights. Fans being used to watching football on Monday night, and all.

But Saban wanted the schedule to change — presumably to make his job easier or his routine more … routine.

Semifinals completed, championship game tends to be on the following Monday. This year, it happens to be only seven days.

We haven’t heard Georgia coach Kirby Smart complain about his team having to make two five-hour plane rides, to and from California. But Saban has. And who is surprised?



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