“Shut your mouth, Saban, before I make you switch!”
Alabama will face the Georgia Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday for the SEC Championship for an opportunity to face Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game. With a win on Saturday they will reach their third National Title game in four seasons and have a chance to be the first team in the BCS era to win back-to-back national titles.
Despite all of that, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is not happy and is complaining about the BCS system. He complains about the fact that the loser of the SEC Championship is likely not to participate in a BCS bowl and instead will be sent to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.
“You play your way into the (SEC) championship game,” said Saban. “Which means you’re the best team in your division. … It doesn’t seem quite right, but it is what it is.”
Let’s examine this for a second. Alabama is one of five teams with one loss that sit behind the undefeated Fighting Irish. All five of those teams feel that they should have an opportunity to play for a national title. Yet, Alabama and Georgia are the only two teams that will be able to go out on the field and play for the opportunity to compete in the title game.
Oregon doesn’t get that shot. Florida won’t get that shot. And Kansas State will not be allowed an opportunity to play in the title game.
Of those three teams mentioned above, Florida has the right to be most upset about not getting a shot to compete in the title game. This is a team that played the toughest schedule in all of college football. They beat Texas A&M in College Station, a team that Alabama lost to at home. They won handily over South Carolina and on Saturday disposed of Florida State in Tallahassee.
That’s two wins over top ten teams on the road. Yes, I know their lone loss was at Georgia, which is the reason that the Bulldogs are playing in Atlanta on Saturday and the Gators aren’t. But, if you compare Georgia’s schedule to Florida’s, it isn’t even close.
The Bulldogs’ best win outside of their 17-9 win over Florida in Jacksonville is a home win over Vanderbilt. And they were beaten handily by the very same South Carolina team that Florida crushed, 35-7.
Even with the head-to-head loss to Georgia, many could argue that Florida deserves a title shot over the Bulldogs.
Instead, the Gators are left on the outside looking in with zero opportunity of playing for a title. Their reward is essentially a gauranteed spot in the Sugar Bowl.
And that is what Saban is complaining about. He doesn’t think it’s fair that they won their way into the SEC Championship and if they lose, will be overlooked by the Sugar Bowl.
Who’s situation would you rather be in? Saban’s with a shot to win back-to-back titles and three in four years or Muschamp with no shot at a title and a likely spot in the Sugar Bowl?
How is it even an argument? The goal is to win a national title, right? If Saban wants that shot at the Sugar Bowl, Muschamp is more than willing to swith spots with his former boss, but acknowledges that they didn’t get the job done against Georgia and that is why they aren’t getting a shot.
“I’m not a guy that’s going to sit there and belly-ache about the rules,” said Muschamp. “They were set before the season started. We knew the deal. We should have won the game.”
So the coach that is being denied a shot at a title, despite playing the toughest schedule in the country, is being stand-up about the situation while the coach who is lucky enough to have an opportunity is crying about it?
Before I end my rant, let’s take a look at this situation once the BCS Final Four is instituted. How does the BCS select the four teams that make the tournament?
Notre Dame is in. The winner of the SEC Championship is in. I would imagine that Florida is in.
But, then what do you do with the final spot? Is the loser of the SEC Championship game penalized and left out? If that’s the case, then a coach like Saban would have a right to complain.
In that scenerio, how in the world do you legitimately pick the fourth Final Four contender between Oregon, Kansas State and the loser of the SEC Championship?
The Final Four is a step in the right direction, but there are still going to be a lot of questions. Especially, with some conferences having championship games and other’s not. There is no way to determine how to handle the losers of those championship games against teams that don’t participate.
I like the move to the Final Four. I have been clamouring for a playoff since I was in eighth grade. This is better than matching two teams at the top of the computer rankings up. But, now you are matching the top four teams up and despite the fact that you are adding two more slots, I also think you may be adding the opportunity for even more questions.
Lucky for Nick Saban, he doesn’t have to worry about that this year and he will get a chance to win his second strait national title. Meanwhile, Will Muschamp must instead prepare his team for a likely berth in the Sugar Bowl?
Unless, of course, Saban wants to keep crying about his situation and make the switch. I’m sure Muschamp will oblige.
Quotes courtesy of ESPN.com