Nick Saban advocates for Alabama’s inclusion in the college football playoff

Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Nick Saban wasn’t sure who won or lost across the country after Alabama’s 49-27 win over Auburn on Saturday, but he’s sure his team deserves at least an interest in one of the four sports in the college football playoff.

The Crimson Tide, who have been to every but one College Football Playoff game since their inception in 2014, will be the first two-time playoff losing team and will clearly need some help getting there.

“I don’t make those decisions, but I know what a flex football team is,” Saban told ESPN. “We lost two games against the top 10 opponents, in the last game and both on the road. We could have won both games easily but we didn’t win. We’re a good football team and hopefully we realize that and we’ll get a chance.” [to play in the playoff]. ”

It’s an Alabama football team that has had some scars along the way, whether it’s quarterback Bryce Young’s shoulder injury, uncharacteristic penalties and errors, or a defense that gave up a total of 84 points in two losses to Alabama. The Tide lost 52-49 at No. 10 Tennessee on a last-second field goal and 32-31 in overtime at No. 5 LSU when the Tigers converted a two-point conversion.

“We had a lot of close matches, we didn’t always play our best in those games, but we did enough to get 10 wins and hang there as a team. I think we’ll see what happens now,” said Saban. .

Saban had his scars after the match. He was accidentally hit in the face by a fielder’s shoulder pads while playing on the sideline. His left cheek was covered in blood, and he had a cut on his face.

“Man, this is the third time I’ve been hit this season. I wasn’t used to being hit, and I saw stars after this,” Saban said, joking that he had the hardest hit in the game and wasn’t even going into the injury tent.

One of the differences on the Alabama team now, Saban said, is that Young is as healthy as he was after injuring his right shoulder against Arkansas and not playing against Texas A&M. His first game was against Tennessee on October 15th.

“Pryce played great, but he was gone for a month where he wasn’t able to practice,” said Saban. “He was able to come in and play at his level, but we probably wouldn’t have been able to grow around him as much as we would have if he had been able to practice more. He’s healthy now, and that makes us a different team.”

Alabama (10-2) was ranked seventh last week in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The Tide will need things to fall in the right direction to climb into the top four, but Clemson, Ohio State and Oregon all lost on Saturday. A TCU loss in the Big 12 Championship Game would also help USC lose in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren came out Saturday after Ohio State’s loss to Michigan and said “without a doubt” the Buckeyes deserve a playoff spot. Asked if he would lobby for Alabama, Saban said, “Look, if I think it’s going to help our team, I definitely will. I haven’t really thought about it until this point. So, you know, all I’ve focused on is winning this game. That’s it.” The best chance we’ve ever had for anything good to happen to us.”

One of the things that has kept Alabama focused this season, Saban said, is some of the negativity surrounding the team, which also won two games in the closing seconds against Texas and Texas A&M. This is only the fourth time since Saban’s arrival in 2007 that Alabama has lost two regular season games, and Saban suggested that perhaps some fans were simply spoiled.

“A lot of things have been written and said about this team that really united the players,” said Saban. “They were saying things like, ‘That’s all we’ve got, but all we need are the people in this room.’ … We’ve got great fans, a great stadium, a great atmosphere tonight and we appreciate that and I appreciate that, and I know our players do too. But the people Negatives and opponents, if they support the University of Alabama, you’re hurting the university or the program because it’s a reflection of our culture and how positive we are. And this program is built on a positive foundation.”

Saban noted that Alabama had 95,000 fans coming to the spring game when he first got the job.

“Everyone wanted to be a part of that,” he said. “It wasn’t built on the naysayers. It wasn’t built on negativity. It wasn’t built on the expectation that if we didn’t succeed at a certain level there would be a lot of criticism. I think that actually brought this team together more than anything, and they wanted to persevere and prove what they can do.”

As for any questions about the culture on this Alabama team, Saban said those questions usually come up when people are negative and critical.

“The program culture here is as good as ever, and the players are as competitive as ever,” said Saban. “So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the culture here. We lost two games by four points. Nobody feels bad about it from me and the guys who are so committed to trying to win those games in tough places on the road.”

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