Nick Saban would like to face more Power 5 opponents

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
Nick Saban would like Alabama to have a harder schedule and face more Power 5 opponents. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Nick Saban would like Alabama to have a harder schedule and face more Power 5 opponents. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Alabama and the rest of the SEC have benefited from playing just eight regular-season conference games a year, allowing them to schedule easier non-conference opponents to fill out their schedule.

Nick Saban would like to change that, as he told ESPN’s Chris Low.

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"I've always said, 'Let's play all Power 5 games,'" Saban said.

Saban added that when he coached in the NFL, they played all NFL teams. College is obviously different, but Saban would like for Alabama to play “at least 10 Power 5 games.”

"It would be better for the players, better for the fans, and I think you wouldn't have to worry that if you lost a game that you wouldn't have as much of a chance to still be in [the College Football Playoff],” Saban said. “They talk about strength of schedule now, but how do you really evaluate that?"

The Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 all play nine regular season conference games while the ACC and SEC both play eight. Saban told ESPN that adding a conference game would create better matchups and entice fans to come out.

"If we don't, fans are going to quit coming, and I can't say I blame them,” Saban said.

Attendance has been declining across college football, with every conference except for the ACC seeing numbers drop last season. SEC attendance declined 1.2% from 2017 after falling 3.1% the previous year.

Blowout wins vs. drawing more interest

This ultimately comes down to how much coaches value strength of schedule as opposed to picking up easy wins. Three of Alabama’s four non-conference games this season are against teams that are not Power 5 schools — New Mexico State, Southern Miss and Western Carolina. Duke is the only Power 5 opponent that Saban’s team will face out of conference.

So, instead of beating up on Western Carolina, say Alabama instead schedules a Power 5 opponent or adds another SEC game to its slate. Would more students come out? Would more folks tune in and not turn the game off in the second quarter when Alabama is already up by 20?

Saban thinks so, and it seems like he is willing to give up a guaranteed win for a tougher matchup in order to give fans something more exciting to watch.

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