The soon-to-be American Athletic Conference will no longer have a guaranteed tie-in to an elite bowl game following this season. The league will no longer be sharing in the same revenue pot as the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. Just how distinct the line between the haves and have-nots is currently a matter of debate. But one of the most powerful coaches in college football sounds like he can do away with UConns, Cincinnatis and USFs of the world.
“I’m for five conferences -- everybody playing everybody in those five conferences,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters Thursday night before speaking at a Crimson Caravan stop, according to AL.com's Don Kausler Jr. “That’s what I’m for, so it might be 70 teams, and everybody’s got to play ’em.”
The comment came in response to a question about whether he was in favor of the SEC going the way of the Big Ten in avoiding scheduling FCS opponents in the future.
Clearly, he would take that philosophy a step further.
While we're a long ways away from anything that dramatic possibly taking shape, the comments from someone with as respected and as powerful of a voice as Saban only re-enforce the idea that the top-four superconferences -- or, in Saban's mind, top-five conferences -- will eventually be better served by breaking off on their own.
And that would leave the cream of the crop of the leftovers -- the best of whom reside in the soon-to-be-old-Big East -- in a non-desirable position.
The ACC's recently signed grant of rights deal seemingly prevents poaching from other conferences, which in turn seemingly prevents the ACC from having a reason to go looking for newcomers itself.
Saban, for what it's worth, is also in favor of expanding the SEC schedule to nine games, which would give even fewer opportunities for an AAC team to work its way onto an SEC slate in future years.
Last year's Big East actually went 4-1 against the SEC, the only conference to boast a winning record against the home of the last seven national title winners.
The AAC and SEC will meet four times during the 2013 regular season.
“For the guys who whine about their fixed rivalries, we have games until 2017 with opening games, so we’re going to play somebody else,” Saban said. “I mean, strength of schedule is important, but also, how about the fans? Don’t they want to see good games and all that?
“And the better the games — maybe you don’t have to win every game to be in the championship game. You know? The Giants won the Super Bowl, and what did they lose? Six or seven games a couple years ago? It’s called competition.”