Just a few of the notes creating a buzz out of the SEC Meetings today:
* South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier said back in April that if Nick Saban “wants to be the greatest coach or one of the greatest coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere besides Alabama and win, because they’ve always won there at Alabama.” Today, he backtracked. ”I don’t know what I was talking about,” he said after calling Saban “a great coach.”
“Now, don’t get me wrong, some people would rather be at a place where you can win it all every year. Certainly Alabama, LSU, Florida … there’s a lot of schools that have that opportunity. But once something has already been accomplished, it’s neat to do it again but it’s not the first time ever. I look forward to still trying to do some first-time-ever things at South Carolina.”
* Saban said that he’s frustrated by “self-absorbed people” who aren’t in favor of the top four teams in the rankings making a playoff. (Uh, that’d be a shot at you, Jim Delany of the Big Ten.)
“It’s self-absorbed people who are worried about how it affects their circumstance or their league rather than what’s best for college football who would want to do that,” Saban said, according to The Birmingham News. “It’s not what’s best for the fans because they’ve made it very clear what they want it to be.”
The coach also said: “People want to see the best four teams play in a playoff. The problem in college football is there’s not equal parity in the leagues. Some leagues are stronger than others in different years. It’s not always going to be where the SEC is stronger than another league. There’s going to be years when other leagues are stronger than the SEC. It’s not an SEC thing. History in recent years would say that, but that’s how it’s been all the way through.
“I think you’re going to get a lot of real complaining if we have a four-team playoff and we go through all this that we’re going through to try to implement this and execute it and, all of a sudden, next year we have the No. 1 team, the No. 3 team, the No. 7 team and the No. 11 team being the four teams in the playoffs. There’s going to be a mutiny on the ship, there’s no question about that.”
* Georgia’s Mark Richt talked about moving the Dawgs’ football game with South Carolina, playoffs, and Spurrier’s “let’s not count cross-division games” plan. He remains skeptical of the idea: “I’m used to what we do. My mind’s ingrained that every game counts. The reality is in our league play if you lose to somebody head to head or if you beat somebody head to head you’ve basically got a two game lead on that team. So there is an advantage to that still. It’s not like there is no advantage or difference.”
* But Spurrier’s not backing away from his proposal: ”Everybody played each other (when he was at Duke 20+ years ago), so it was very simple, whoever had the best record was the champion. Now with the mega-conferences obviously everybody can’t play everybody, and sometimes scheduling might be a reason you win the division or could even win a conference championship.”
Anybody recall Spurrier making this pitch when he was at Florida playing under the same eight-game plan throughout the 1990s? Didn’t think so.
Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph says UGA AD Greg McGarity, Saban, and Will Muschamp all pooh-poohed Spurrier’s plan. Vandy’s James Franklin — believed to be a proponent of the idea — said he doesn’t have strong feelings either way.
* Speaking of Vanderbilt’s coach, Franklin was asked what he might have to say to Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham when their two teams play this fall: “Well actually, I think our coaches have run across each other in Georgia a bunch and had some good conversations. But to me, again, I’m a very emotional, passionate guy. This is personal to me. But on the same hand I’m a guy who once things happen I move on. I have tremendous respect for coach Richt and that program. I have respect for coach Grantham as well and what he’s trying to do. I think coach Grantham was trying to do everything he could to support his players and show them that he had his back. And I was doing the same. And those things happen from time to time.”
* Already planning a men’s and women’s hoops double-header with Baylor, Kentucky’s John Calipari now says he wants to schedule a triple-header and include a Wildcat football game thrown in, too.