Brown, Saban Talk College Football Playoffs

Earlier this season, Texas head coach <B>Mack Brown </b>said that he would now support a playoff system for a select number of NCAA Division I-A football teams after opposing the possibility for much of his coaching tenure.

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Both Mack Brown and LSU head coach Nick Saban kicked around the idea of a playoff system during Monday's final pre-Cotton Bowl press conference at the Omni Mandalay hotel in Dallas.

"When you say you're for a playoff system, there are about 97 different models out there so nobody knows what anybody is talking about," Brown said. "But I've always said we need to keep the bowl system in place and play the top teams at the end."

Brown's model is to use the BCS' top eight teams as seeding for a playoff system. While momentum for some type of playoff is gathering, Brown said last November that university presidents are almost unanimous in their opposition toward the possibility.

Saban also favors some type of playoff while keeping the bowl system in place. The wrinkle in Saban's argument is that he believes all NCAA scholarship athletes should get paid a portion of the big bucks that a college football playoff system would generate.

"I'm only for that if they give the money back to the players," Saban said. "I'm talking about all players… I think the quality of life of all people on scholarship, male and female alike, if we have a championship game in football, I think it would create about $24 million dollars in revenue and they should give 200 dollars a month for their scholarships. I'm talking about the women's volleyball team, the women's basketball team–everybody–because we have some guys on our team who don't live a very good quality of life relative to the NCAA rules and regulation for going to college and all of that. I guess I'm for a semi-playoff but I'd certainly like to see some of the money get back in the hands of the people who make this game so exciting, which are the players."

Part of the argument against a playoff system is that it diminishes the importance of regular season games and that it would extend an otherwise long and physically grueling season into the time when students are taking final exams.

"We played 12 games this year," Saban said of his 8-4 Tigers. "I've never been in favor of playing 12 games. I've sat in two meeting rooms, with 11 coaches in the Big Ten and 12 in the SEC, not one of those coaches out of all of those guys voted to play in 12 games. And now we're playing 12 games. Our players are not professionals. They are student-athletes. They need to go to school. We have two bye weeks. We play for 16 weeks in the season and now we're going to extend that even more. The reason we made freshman eligible was to limit the scholarships now to 85 from 120. So we've made a lot of cuts in football but we need to take, I think, a lot greater look at the players and how what we do affect the players."

Still, Saban believes a well-crafted playoff system that preserves the bowl tradition would ultimately be beneficial to college football.

"If (the media) continue to push it like they do, we'll eventually have some type of playoff system," Saban said. "I think it's healthy for college football to have a legitimate way to determine who are the best teams. If you look back through the years, if we had played all the games like we have–whether it was Michigan and Nebraska sharing the national champion in 97 or 98, whenever it was–what if we'd had one more game to let those two teams play the next week. School's not in; finals aren't affected. If we have a playoff system, you're talking about playing some games when people are taking finals and all those types of things. I just feel like it's important but I think the logistics of how it gets done needs to be something that takes the players' well-being into consideration."


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