He rarely minces words, and Saturday night was no exception.
Minutes after capturing the SEC championship title in Atlanta, Alabama coach Nick Saban started spending political capital, not on his team, but on behalf of the team he had just beaten.
“I’m going to tell you, that I think it’s a crying shame if Georgia doesn’t get to go to a BCS Bowl game,” Saban said. “They should get to go to a BCS Bowl game. They played a tremendous game out there. That was a great football game by both teams. And they could have won at the end just as soon as us, and it came right down to the last play.”
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But they aren’t. The Bulldogs are going to the Capital City Bowl in Orlando to play Nebraska while Florida goes to the Sugar Bowl to play Louisville.
Nebraska is 10-3 after losing to Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship Game, while Louisville is 10-2 with losses to Syracuse and Connecticut.
“I mean, I think it’s ridiculous,” Saban said. “I watch teams playing that are 7-5 that are talking about they might go to a BCS game because they won their championship? Something’s not right here. I don’t know what people think of the SEC, we have great programs and great teams and a great commissioner who has done a great job of promoting our teams through the years. And we have a great TV contract. I don’t think it’s fair to the Georgia players, coaches and their institution if they don’t go to a BCS game.”
But the problem is much deeper than one team getting the BCS shaft. Everyone acknowledges that the system is flawed. That’s why college football is going to a playoff in 2014. Unfortunately, that system will also be doomed unless the men in charge realize that all conferences are not created equal.
The final BCS rankings have six SEC teams in the top 10. Georgia, ranked No. 3 in the nation before losing arguably the best college football game of the year, fell to seventh in the final standings behind three teams that didn’t play a game last week.
So, that leaves us with the Orange Bowl pitting Northern Illinois, which finished 15th in the BCS standings, against Florida State, which sits at No.12. Louisville get a prime Sugar Bowl spot finishing 21st in the BCS, while the Rose Bowl has Stanford, which jumped past Georgia to finish No.6 against Wisconsin, which is outside the Top 25. The Badgers may or may not show up with a coach since their head man, Bret Bielema, just signed on with Arkansas, another SEC school.
“I thought the BCS Bowl games were supposed to get the best teams in the game,” Saban said. “So now it’s all about the conferences sharing the money. I still think they can share the money however they want. It’s not a financial decision. It’s a player decision and reinforcing the players in a positive way for the great season they had. Florida should go to the BCS game, too. If you only lost one game in this league, you should be in a BCS game. If you got in (the SEC Championship) game, you should be in a BCS game.”
Identifying the best teams? Why, that’s just silly talk. The BCS has never been about identifying the best, despite all the proclamations to the contrary. It’s about money, pure and simple. Always has been.
And with billions of dollars at stake, don’t expect that to change anytime soon.