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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Articles tagged: Nick Saban

Nick Saban’s final coaches poll ranking for Alabama revealed

Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban has made it clear for weeks that he believed Alabama deserved to be part of the College Football Playoff, and the way the season ended seems to have reaffirmed his opinion.

Saban had Alabama at No. 2 in his final USA Today coaches poll of the season. The final poll is the only one in which USA Today reveals how each coach voted in their ballot.

Here is how Saban ranked his top six:

1. Georgia
2. Alabama
3. TCU
4. Michigan
5. Ohio State
6. Tennessee

Saban said on national television before the College Football Playoff field was set that he believed the Crimson Tide were better than Ohio State and TCU. He likely felt justified after Georgia throttled TCU 65-7 in the CFP National Championship Game. Alabama almost certainly would have put up a better fight, though you can make the case that just about any top-10 team would have.

No two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff, so Alabama never stood much of a chance. Alabama blew fourth-quarter leads to both LSU and Tennessee, which is the reason they were left out. They simply did not do what they needed to do.

Saban was criticized for trying to talk Alabama’s way into the playoffs, and his final coaches poll will almost certainly draw the ire of some rivals as well.

David Pollack’s comments in front of Nick Saban are going viral

You can say a lot of things about David Pollack, but one thing you can’t do is say the guy doesn’t have stones.

Pollack was one of the members of ESPN’s halftime crew during the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night. The Georgia Bulldogs went up 38-7 in the first half against TCU and looked like an absolute machine.

As Georgia was headed for a second straight national championship, Pollack, a former Bulldogs defensive star, lauded his alma mater right in front of Nick Saban.

“And Georgia obviously, you’ve seen them the past couple seasons now, they’ve taken hold of college football. They’re doing an unbelievable job,” Pollack said.

Pollack also went on to argue why Georgia’s dynasty could continue in 2023. The best part is he said it all while Georgia’s biggest competitor, Saban, was right next to him.

Saban’s ears looked like they had steam coming out of them.

If the Alabama coach needed any motivation, he got it. The problem is he will have to replace his former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, which won’t be easy.

The Crimson Tide dynasty is nowhere near over, but there is no doubt that Georgia has proven over the last two seasons that they are the top dog in college football.

Pat McAfee had Nick Saban, Lee Corso in stitches during pregame show

Pat McAfee was a big addition to ESPN’s pregame show for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, and a few of his colleagues didn’t know what hit them.

McAfee brought his high-energy, WWE-promotion cutting, wild-man tendencies to what is typically a fun but straightforward show. The former NFL punter was surrounded by Nick Saban and Lee Corso as it was time to give picks. As McAfee went into wrestling promoter mode for his pick, Saban and Corso had incredible reactions. Saban couldn’t keep himself from laughing.

That was awesome. The dichotomy in personalities between McAfee and Saban couldn’t be starker, which is what made them so great next to each other.

You know you’re doing your job well if you can make Saban laugh.

Nick Saban seemed to take shot at opt-outs after Sugar Bowl win

Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama coach Nick Saban seemed to have a pointed message after his team’s big win over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday.

Saban seemed to send a message to players who opted out of bowl games, be it because of NFL Draft preparation or because they are entering the transfer portal. The Alabama coach pointedly said that the players who were with the team Saturday were “great representative(s) of the University of Alabama.”

People will read into the quote, but Saban has given some reason for everyone to do so. While Alabama notably did not have any NFL hopefuls opt out, 11 Alabama players have entered the transfer portal since the end of the regular season. Saban had said they would be allowed to play in the bowl game if they wanted to, but none of them opted to make the trip.

Saban sent an even clearer message Thursday on his weekly radio show, when he said the bowl experience had been so enjoyable because the players who were there wanted to be.

“This has been the most enjoyable (non-Playoff) bowl practice experience we have ever had — I’ve ever had,” Saban said, via Aaron Suttles of The Athletic. “But one of the things is — all the blinking lights are gone. You know what I mean by blinking lights? When you look at a Christmas tree and one light is blinking, and that’s all you look at, is the blinking light? You don’t see the beauty of all the rest of it?

“Well, when you have guys on your team sometimes that — I call them energy vampires. You use all your energy on these guys, trying to get them to do what they’re supposed to do. Those are the kind of guys that don’t end up playing in bowl games, and don’t end up doing the best things and make the best choices and decisions for the team and all that, because they’ve got other motivations, which I’m not being critical of.”

In other words, Saban does not exactly miss his outgoing transfers, and he keeps making that clear. He very much values the bowl experience and has fretted about it potentially being lost if the College Football Playoff continues to expand. That message was sent in his own way quite clearly after Saturday’s game.

Ex-Georgia QB has message for Nick Saban

Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban spent some time on Saturday campaigning for Alabama to be included in the College Football Playoff, but his pitch did not make a difference. One former rival player is pleased about that.

Saban joined FOX for an interview during halftime of the Big Ten Championship Game between Michigan and Purdue on Saturday night. He spoke about how the College Football Playoff selection committee should try to pick the best four teams in the country for the CFP, regardless of record. Even though Alabama has two losses, Saban said he believes they are better than a few one-loss teams, like TCU or Ohio State.

Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray thought Saban’s interview was a bad look. He called Saban a “politician” and said the seven-time national champion needs to accept that his team is not good enough this year.

“Nick Saban the politician during halftime of Big 10 Championship. Your team wasn’t good enough this year. It’s ok, you will probably be back next year,” Murray wrote on Twitter.

As expected, the CFP selection committee agreed with Murray. Alabama finished No. 5 in the rankings. Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State will play for a national championship.

Even if Saban is right that his team would be favored over several CFP teams, that is not the measure used to determine which teams make it. No two-loss team has ever made the playoff. Had Alabama won one more game, they would have gotten in. They simply did not do what they needed to do.

Nick Saban cites point spreads as reason Alabama should make CFP

Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo: Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban went on both FOX and ESPN Saturday to make his case for Alabama to make the College Football Playoff. One of the Alabama coach’s biggest reasons for why he thinks the Crimson Tide should make it have to do with point spreads.

During halftime of the Big Ten Championship Game between Michigan and Purdue in Indianapolis on Saturday night, Saban joined FOX for an interview. Saban said that the College Football Playoff selection committee should try to pick the best four teams in the country for the CFP.

Even though his Tide have two losses, Saban believes they are still better than a few 1-loss teams, like TCU or Ohio State.

“I think the whole goal is to get the best teams in. And what I would say to the committee or to anyone else is: if we played any of these teams that are on the edge of getting in, would we be the underdog or would we be the favorite? I think if can answer that question, and the goal is to get the best teams in, then you would say ‘they belong in there,'” Saban said.

Saban also cited Alabama’s tough schedule, which included road games against five top-25 teams, as important criteria in evaluating the Tide.

According to a Bet MGM spokesperson, Alabama would be favored against three of the four potential playoff teams.

That’s nice and all, but remember that Alabama was favored against Tennessee and LSU too. At some point, you have to actually win games and not just be favored to win them.

No 2-loss team has ever made the CFP. The 10-2 Tide are hoping to become the first.

Hugh Freeze is not backing down to Nick Saban

Auburn Tigers football coach Hugh Freeze is introduced at the Woltosz Football Performance Center in Auburn, Ala., on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Photo Credit: Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Auburn got a fighter when they hired Hugh Freeze.

The Tigers on Tuesday introduced Freeze as their new head coach. Freeze was asked about facing rival Alabama in future Iron Bowl matchups. The former Liberty coach gave a nice comment about Alabama coach Nick Saban and Saban’s wife, but couldn’t resist giving Auburn fans what they want.

“I have great respect for Nick. He and Miss Terry have been really good friends to us, but I hope they’re a little nervous today,” Freeze said.

Why might Saban be a little nervous? Definitely not because the Tigers went 5-7 this season, but because of Freeze’s past.

Freeze went 2-3 in five tries against Saban while he was the head coach at Ole Miss, including consecutive wins in 2014 and 2015.

Freeze definitely isn’t walking into this job scared of Saban, which is exactly what Auburn needs. They’re desperate to get back to winning after consecutive losing seasons.

Nick Saban had funny quote about cut on his face

Sep 11, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban offered a funny quote on Saturday about the cut on his face.

Saban suffered a cut on his left cheek when he was scraped by the shoulder pad of an Alabama player during the Iron Bowl against Auburn. The Crimson Tide head coach had some blood on his left cheek and received attention over the injury.

After the game, Saban used a classic line regarding the situation.

Saban went with the “you ought to see the other guy” line. He also joked about his toughness since he didn’t go to the medical tent for treatment.

“They don’t make ‘em like they used to,” he added.

Saban was a defensive back during his playing days at Kent State. Getting a little scrape on his face during the Iron Bowl is nothing.

The Tide won the game 49-27 to improve to 10-2. The latest AP rankings have them at No. 6 behind 1-loss teams USC and Ohio State.

Nick Saban has blood on his face during Iron Bowl

Saturday marked the huge Iron Bowl game between Auburn and Alabama, and even Nick Saban got involved in the physicality of the game.

The Alabama head coach was shown in the second quarter with some blood on his cheek. CBS reporter Jenny Dell shared what happened.

“Turns out he got scraped by a player’s shoulder pad. But don’t worry, Alabama’s medical staff said he’s good to return,” Dell joked.

Saban used to play defensive back when he was in college, so he knows how to toughen up on the field. Besides, it’s not the Iron Bowl unless everyone is getting bloody.

Nick Saban shares what has made it harder for his program

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For more than a decade, Alabama was a college football powerhouse. They were regular favorites to win the National Championship, and that made recruiting easy for head coach Nick Saban.

But times have changed. Alabama is no longer the elite of the elite, and Saban has faced rougher terrain in the world of recruiting.

After losing back-to-back road games against Tennessee and LSU this season, several former Crimson Tide players began to question the current culture. But in Saban’s mind, culture is not the issue. Alabama still sticks to its traditions and Saban to his — it’s other things around the sport that have changed. And it’s those things that have altered the landscape in Tuscaloosa.

“The dynamics of college football have changed. It’s more challenging to do that because there’s more opportunity for guys to make changes, whether it’s transfer or name, image and likeness. Whatever it is,” Saban said on his Thursday radio show. “They have more choices than they used to but we still have to get them committed to a certain standard because it creates value for them, it creates value for us and it’s the kind of program we want to represent this university and the tradition of this university.”

This isn’t the first time Saban has subtly criticized the NIL system. Earlier this year, he accused Texas A&M of buying every player on their team by exploiting the NIL system. Aggies AD Ross Bjork quickly called for Saban to be punished for his remarks.

Saban later apologized for singling out Texas A&M, but never backed off his his criticism of college football implementing the NIL system. And it’s clear he still isn’t a big fan of it.