The College Football Playoff appears to be preparing for the 2020 football season. And if that season happens with the ACC, Big 12, SEC and other conferences playing football this fall, Nick Saban thinks the playoff should still happen.
“In my opinion, there’s going to be three conferences playing, I think the players look forward to the playoffs, I think the players who play should have an opportunity to have a playoff and have a championship for the teams that are playing,” the Alabama coach said Monday at a news conference after Alabama started fall practice.
Saban said that the “biggest question” he gets from players is if a playoff would happen at the end of the season.
“If we’re fortunate enough to be able to manage this with player safety being the No. 1 concern for all of us and we can go through a season and we can figure out who the best teams are, I think there would be a lot of interest to see those teams play. And I know the players would certainly look forward to playing,” Saban continued.
Alabama missed the playoff after the 2019 season. It was the first time the Crimson Tide had missed the playoff since its inception after the 2014 season. In a statement on Thursday, playoff committee chair Gary Barta said the committee was planning on ranking teams like it typically would. Barta is the athletic director at Iowa, a school that’s part of the Big Ten. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have said they aren’t playing football in the fall.
“We don’t know right now what the season will bring, but as a committee, we are ready to use the protocol and the expertise of the 13 people who have been charged with selecting the teams,” Barta said in a statement.
“The committee’s task is to rank the teams based on what happens on the field. This week gave us a great chance to catch up with the familiar faces and welcome our three new members to the process. If the board and management committee say we are having a CFP, we will be ready.”
Saban’s comments came as the SEC unveiled its 10-game conference-only schedule for the (tentative) 2020 season. Alabama opens at Missouri on Sept. 26 and plays at LSU on Nov. 14. The Crimson Tide also plays Auburn on Nov. 28 in the penultimate week of the season instead of on Dec. 5 in the final week.
Saban on masks: ‘I think there’s a reason for it’
Saban made a point during his news conference to explain how Alabama has been trying to control the spread of the coronavirus in its facilities. He said that everyone wore a mask indoors, players were tested frequently and that he’s even taking the coronavirus so seriously that he didn’t hug his 88-year-old mom when the two had a socially distanced meeting in a park to chat.
Students moved in at Alabama over the weekend and pictures circulated on social media of crowds across Tuscaloosa not wearing masks. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted a picture of a crowd of people with few wearing masks on Sunday with a plea for everyone to wear masks if they want college football.
Saban has previously filmed videos urging people to wear masks and social distance. And he repeated that sentiment at his news conference on Monday.
“I think democracy is great, and I think people who have all these freedoms, I think that’s all great,” Saban said via Al.com. “But I think there’s one thing that’s probably a common denominator that really makes all that work, and that’s that people have great moral integrity in the choices and decisions that they make.
“I’m not criticizing anybody here but a lot of people have asked that wear masks when we’re in public — when we’re in crowds, when we’re in large groups of people, that we keep social distanced. I don’t think they’re doing it just for the heck of it. I think there’s a reason for it. We’re trying to control the spread of this disease.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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