Jeff Long responds to Nick Saban’s College Football Playoff concerns

Jeff Long, College Football Playoff selections committee chairman, discusses the selection process of the semifinal pairings and semifinal bowl assignments during a news conference Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Grapevine, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

Image courtesy of AP Photo/Tim Sharp

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has said on multiple occasions that the inaugural College Football Playoff stole attention away from the other bowl games.

Saban repeated the sentiment earlier this week, when he said he feared going into the playoff that “all the attention, all the interest would be about the four teams in the playoffs” and “that by having a playoff we would minimize the interest in other bowl games, which I think is sort of what happened and I hate to see that for college football.”

Saban’s Crimson Tide, of course, were one of the four teams to qualify for the Playoff. Jeff Long, the CFP selection committee chair, doesn’t think a coach like Saban – who is so accustomed to success at the highest level – is the best judge of interest in the lower-level bowls.

“Well, I think sometimes coaches, particularly those at the highest level, I’m not sure how aware they are of what’s really going on out there in the real world,” Long said on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly, per Al.com. “You know, bowl games, they keep adding bowl games. And I think the television interest for the games is higher than ever before, so I think that’s not only the College Football Playoff, but as we’ve gone through some of those bowl games. So I’m not sure it’s having that effect.”

Bowl attendance dipped slightly in 2014, but television ratings for the bowl slate increased.

Saban went so far as to say that it may come to a point where college football may have to choose one or the other – a playoff or bowl games. That seems a little drastic.

It’s only been one year, but there’s no reason to think that the bowl games and College Football Playoff cannot coexist, especially if the playoff sticks with a four-team format.

We’ve seen a number of bowls go up in recent months. As long as those games continue to make money, there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to be played.

Kristen Ashly is a contributor for Nuts and Bolts Sports. You can follow Kristen on Twitter @KristenAshly.

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