Nick Saban comments on 2024 SEC schedule changes

The SEC will grow to 16 teams in 2024 with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma
Alabama head coach Nick Saban speak to the media at a Habitat For Humanity house dedication in...
Alabama head coach Nick Saban speak to the media at a Habitat For Humanity house dedication in Tuscaloosa.(WBRC)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 7:36 AM EDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Southeastern Conference announced last week that the league will play an eight-game conference schedule and eliminate the traditional East and West divisions for the 2024 season.

While at a Habitat For Humanity house dedication in Tuscaloosa, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said he believes “there’s good and bad” with sticking to the eight-game SEC schedule for now.

“There are some issues going to nine games in terms of the future schedules we’ve put together in terms of trying to play two Power 5 schools each year to go along with the SEC schedule,” Saban told WBRC. “So, I think eventually we’ll move to more involvement in SEC games. But, I think this has happened so quickly, it was really hard to make changes that fast.”

The decision on the 2024 season comes as the conference has been working to decide how to handle the additions of Texas and Oklahoma a year earlier than expected.

“We have been engaged in planning for the entry of Oklahoma and Texas into the SEC since the summer of 2021, but the change of the membership date from 2025 to 2024 creates scheduling complexities that can better be managed with a one-year schedule,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement from the SEC.

The league reached the decision on the 2024 schedule during the annual SEC meetings in Destin last week, agreeing that it gives the conference more time “to finalize a long-term strategy as a 16-team conference.”

“Creating a one-year schedule will provide a longer on-ramp to manage football scheduling around existing non-conference commitments of our members,” Sankey said. “It will also provide additional time to understand the impact of an expanded College Football Playoff and engage with our media partners as we determine the appropriate long-term plan for SEC football scheduling.”

The one-year schedule in 2024 will require all 16 SEC teams to play eight conference games along with one required opponent from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or major independent.

Coach Saban believes in playing an all Power 5 schedule against SEC teams and some from the other top conferences.

The SEC will hold a primetime special on June 14 to announce each team’s 2024 opponents.

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