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Saban takes issue with College Football Playoff turnaround time

Alabama head coach says 7 days isn't enough time, advocates for travel day

Alabama coach Nick Saban believes there should be a travel day between the College Football Playoff semifinal games and the national championship.
Alabama coach Nick Saban believes there should be a travel day between the College Football Playoff semifinal games and the national championship. (College Football Playoff)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Alabama may be the favorite to win the College Football Playoff, but head coach Nick Saban said he thinks the turnaround time between the semifinal games and the national championship isn't necessarily in the best interest of the players.

"It's very difficult to come from a bowl game and just have seven days to prepare," Saban said during a conference call Tuesday with members of the media.

Saban pointed out that Georgia -- Alabama's opponent in Monday night's national championship game in Atlanta -- had to travel across the country to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The third-ranked Bulldogs beat No. 2 Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime on New Year's Day, earning a spot in the championship game.

No. 4 Alabama knocked off top-ranked Clemson 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl to advance to the title game.

"Somebody has got to think about the players a little bit when it comes to these games and not just what's convenient for the media or TV or whatever," Saban said.

Saban said he isn't advocating for two weeks off between the games, but he said the pace of a bowl game is different than it is during the regular season.

"I just think that it's a little bit different when you're playing in the season and you go to a game on Friday. You play on Saturday. You come home after the game. The players are kind of off on Sunday or some people do it differently and give them off on Monday, and then you start the new week on Monday," Saban said. "But when you go to a bowl game and you're there for a week, it's really kind of hard to pack up and leave at 1 in the morning to get home."

Saban, who has guided the Crimson Tide to four national championships since 2009, said his team spent the night in New Orleans because of the late kickoff time and returned to Tuscaloosa the next morning.

"I don't think you need two weeks," Saban said. "I think just an extra day. Just put a travel day in there."

Alabama is the only team to participate in each College Football Playoff since it began with the 2014 season, so he knows a thing or two about how to prepare for the extra game.

"Well, we had a little different schedule (last season)," Saban said. "The game was one day later. (The semifinal game) has been on New Year's Eve. So, we really only had four practices after Christmas, which was a normal week. So, we didn't do any less work. We just spread it out over five days, I think."


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