Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Nick Saban attacked Ohio State's football schedule

Somebody must have angered Alabama football coach Nick Saban on the golf course during the Memorial Day weekend.

Saban brought some zingers to the SEC meetings on Tuesday in Destin, Fla.  Saban directed one of the zingers at old SEC running mate and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

A reporter mentioned to Saban that the Crimson Tide would have likely missed last season's BCS title game had Ohio State been eligible. The Buckeyes went 12-0 yet faced a one-year NCAA-mandated postseason ban for the cash-for-tattoos scandal.

Saban responded by pulling the cover off his verbal driver.

"How well would they have done if they had played the six teams that were ranked in the top 10?" Saban asked reporters. "Would they have beat them all? Would they beat three of them?

"And I think they have a really good team and I think Urban is a great coach. I'm not questioning any of that. But I'm just saying that's where the strength of schedule and who you play doesn't get sort of accounted for quite equally."

Ohio State didn't play one team ranked in the top 20 of the final Associated Press Top 25.  Michigan and Nebraska, the highest ranked teams Ohio State faced in 2012, ended the season ranked 24th and 25th, respectively.  The Buckeyes ended the year ranked third behind Alabama and Oregon. Alabama was one of five SEC teams to end the season ranked in the top 10.

Perhaps Saban used Tuesday's forum to plug his own 2013 team. Ohio State is no longer on probation and plays just three teams  -- No. 14 Michigan, No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 24 Northwestern -- in the Athlon Sports preseason Top 25 released Tuesday.

The more voters hear about the vast differences between the SEC and Big Ten, the more inclined they might be to place a one-loss SEC team ahead of an undefeated Big Ten team on their ballots. This marks the final year of the current BCS system. Perception still matters. Saban knows this.

As random as his attack on Ohio State appears, it's a calculated move by a coach who has won two straight national titles.

Expect Meyer to be asked about Saban's comments the next time he speaks with reporters.

His response, like Saban's comments Tuesday, will likely feature political undertones.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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