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July 18, 2013

SEC MEDIA DAYS (ALABAMA NOTEBOOK): McCarron focused on self, avoids Manziel talk

(Continued)

HOOVER — SCHEDULING SNAFU

It probably wasn't the smartest idea for one media member in Thursday's crowd to ask Nick Saban the following question — “Do you at least understand where Les Miles is coming from when he talks about equal paths to the championship in regard to scheduling on the East side?”

Think the Alabama coach was snarky with his response? See for yourself.

“I understand where Les Miles is coming from. I coached at LSU. We played Florida every year, too,” he said. “So if anybody understands it, I understand it. You understand? All right (smiling).”

The heart of the matter began earlier in the morning when Miles, LSU's replacement after Saban left in 2004, spoke of his displeasure for the SEC's current 6-1-1 scheduling format, which consists of six division games, one rotating cross-division matchup and one permanent cross-division contest.

As it stands now, the Tigers are slated to play Florida and Georgia this season — which were a combined 14-2 last year — while Alabama's two non-divisional opponents are Tennessee and Kentucky — which were a lowly 1-15 in 2012.

“I'd have to say there's a repeated scheduling advantage and disadvantage for certain teams in this conference based on tradition and traditional matchups,” he said. “Scheduling should not in any way decide championships repeatedly or throughout.”

Though Saban “understood” where Miles was coming from, he still didn't quite agree with his rival. Saban's solution was the same he proposed during the SEC meetings this past spring — implement a nine-game conference schedule.

Well, there's that … or create a super conference, whichever comes first.

“Nobody wants to hear this, but I was in the NFL for eight years where every team you played was in the NFL,” Saban said. “So if somebody wants to take the leadership and say, “OK, here are the five conferences that are the top conferences, and we're going to play all our games amongst those people,' I'd be fine with that. But until somebody says that, it's going to be impossible to schedule all your games with those teams.”

% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at robk@cullmantimes.com.

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