Saban has concerns over realignment, says megaconferences are 'here to stay'
Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressed college football's newest realignment on the latest episode of "Always College Football," lamenting that some of the sport's most traditional rivalries will be stripped due to several powerhouses changing conferences.
"There's a lot of tradition in conferences that will no longer exist," Saban said, according to Sports Illustrated's Joseph Salvador. "I think we've gone through that to some degree in the past. The Oklahoma-Nebraska game used to be a big game, and they've not been in the same conference for quite some time now. But I think we're going to deal with it (in) a greater capacity than ever before because I think megaconferences are probably here to stay."
His comments come weeks after USC and UCLA announced that they will leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024. The stunning move took place just one year after two Big 12 powerhouses - Texas and Oklahoma - finalized a deal to join the SEC in 2025. The Big 12 and Pac-12 have since begun considering expansion options, with the former recently adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF for 2023.
Saban is concerned about those changes, including how they might affect competitive balance.
"The NFL - which I was involved in for eight years - every rule they have is to create competitive balance, and if they could have every team go 8-8 so at the end of a season, every team was playing their last game to get in the playoffs, they would be ecstatic," he said.
The legendary coach added: "We don't have any guardrails on what we're doing right now. We have no restrictions on who can do what. Some people are gonna be capable of doing certain things other people aren't going to be capable. But the bottom line is we'll lose competitive balance, which everything we've always done in college football is to maintain competitive balance. Same scholarship, everyone had to play by the same rules whether it was recruiting or whatever. Right now, that's not how it is."
Saban, a seven-time national champion, has helped Alabama become college football's most dominant team in recent years. The Crimson Tide have appeared in the national championship game six times over the last seven seasons, winning three titles in that span.