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Nick Saban has concerns over fan attendance and schedules in college football

Nick Saban leads Alabama out of the tunnel
Photo by Crimson Tide Photo

During an appearance on Always College Football earlier this week, Alabama head coach Nick Saban relayed a few of his concerns to his former quarterback turned host Greg McElroy.

Within a larger rant about conference realignment, Saban shared that one of his biggest concerns revolves around fan attendance and scheduling moving forward.

“My biggest concern about college football is attendance is (basically) gradually falling off,” Saban said. “And I think one of the reasons for that is the quality of games. I mean, we probably play three or four games every year our fans don’t really care about coming to see. Well, I don’t really want to play any games that our fans don’t want to come and see.”

According to a report from CBS Sports from February, college football attendance declined for the seventh straight season even when removing the 2020 season which was impacted by COVID-19.

Saban and Alabama have been criticized in the past for scheduling FCS opponents late in the season. Currently, the Southeastern Conference allows teams to play just eight conference games a season but the seven-time national champion would like to see this expanded to nine or even 10 in the future. Where Saban’s doubts lie is in the program’s emphasis on ensuring it wins the required six games to become bowl eligible which results in teams scheduling lesser opponents.

“But based on how the culture of college football was set up, largely because of bowl games and eligibility for bowl games is the result of this,” Saban said. “Nobody wants to play more games. They want to play games and make sure they can win six, so they can go to a bowl game. That’s not necessarily the standard that we live by here. But still, it’s hard to get people to play these games and even in the SEC you know, with the new alignment coming up in 2024 or whenever we’re gonna play nine games right?

“I’m for playing nine. I was for playing nine five years ago there was no support for it. I even brought up should we play 10. We played 10 one year (in 2020) because of COVID and we didn’t play any games that people weren’t interested in.”

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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