Nick Saban has been outspoken about his desire for a nine-game conference slate now that the SEC sits at 14 teams. (Getty Images)
We love the chatter, as the college football playoff arguments drag on, that every coach and commissioner and president is just looking out for his team or his conference. They are paid a big lot of money to do that exact thing. That Bo Pelini and Mike Slive want to snuggle Nebraska and the SEC, respectively, into the most advantageous possible positions is neither surprising nor reproachable. So when Nick Saban says he wants a nine-game SEC schedule, of course he thinks it'd be good for Alabama. That doesn't mean he's making an invalid point here, via Al.com:
When you increase the size of the league by 15 percent, you've almost got to play more games to get a true indication of who's the best team in the league. We should come up with some format in the future where every player in the league gets an opportunity to play every team in the league.
There are deterrents to this plan: nonconference in-state rivalries; the looming specter of a lobster pot year that hands every team two conference losses and keeps everybody out of the top six; Florida's constitutional inability to play outside the state of Florida without turning blue and having its limbs drop off.
If Saban got his way, this development wouldn't be without unfortunate side effects. The big nonconference games would trudge to the chopping block, not your alma mater's annual date with Montana or Jacksonville State. The profiterole games that pad the W columns of most modern Big Six teams exist for a reason, and that symbiotic relationship has tangible benefits for both sides, but who in the FBS really wants to play the Citadel?