Saban Favors Nine Game SEC Schedule

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said Thursday that he hopes for a nine-game Southeastern Conference schedule because the players deserve the opportunity to play against all other SEC schools during the course of their careers.

"Let's think about the players for a change," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said prior to his address to the assembled media on the final day of SEC Media Days in Hoover.

The SEC has not announced a schedule beyond the upcoming 2012 schedule.

Saban pointed out that with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC beginning this season, "We've increased the size of the league by 15 per cent, so we need to play more games."

The reason that has not yet been implemented, he said, is that the teams "have become focused on the divisions rather than on the conference." There are other issues, he said, pointing out that teams trying to win six games to be bowl eligible don't want an additional conference game. Additionally, he said, some teams ("and we're one of them") have traditional rivals they don't want to give up.

But, he said, "Players grow up." By that he means that when Alabama players look back on their careers, they don't want to have not played a Florida or a Georgia or some other team from the other division.

"So if we have to play nine games, it will be difficult. Some teams will have five home games and some will have five road games."

As for difficulty, he said that SEC teams play a quality opponent each time they play a conference game. Moreover, he pointed out, "More teams have gotten into the national championship game by what they have done in the SEC Championship Game than have been knocked out of the BCS Championship Game by what happened in the conference championship game."

Saban was not specific, but pointed out it would seem to have to include at least two rotating opponents from the opposite division.

"But I think the opportunity for players to have a chance to play everyone in the conference should be top priority."

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