Saban: SEC championship could produce two playoff teams in the future

Alabama Football Update

By Hunter Ford

In his Wednesday morning teleconference, Nick Saban was asked what role the SEC Championship will play with a four-team playoff in college football’s future.

Saban said he really hadn’t thought about it that much, but offered a few observations.

“There will always be two really good teams (in the SEC Championship)” he said. Saban noted that last year the winner of the Alabama-Georgia game would move onto the BCS title game. And the same scenario was in place in 2008 and 2009 when Alabama and Florida played back-to-back SEC Championship games. Florida advanced to the BCS in ’08 while Alabama advanced to the national title game in ’09.

Saban said, in the future, the loser of the SEC championship game, might still have a chance to be in the four-team national playoff.

“What’s to say that team is not still one of the best four teams?” Saban asked.

Saban was asked about how difficult it has been to play in the SEC West.

“It’s been really, really tough,” he said. “We have respect for all the teams we have played. Even Mississippi State…they’ve lost six games, but they’ve lost them all to top 20 teams. You have to play well every week and be consistent in how you prepare…come into each game with a mental edge. You really can’t afford to lose a game.”

Alabama will face Auburn November 30 for what will be a play-in game for the SEC Championship game. While Auburn has one loss and Alabama is undefeated, an Auburn win would give the Tigers the head-to-head tiebreaker and send them to Atlanta.

Asked about the trend towards fast paced offenses and the difficulty of defending them, Saban had this to say:

“Offenses are doing a fantastic job of attacking, using the circumstances, the rules we have, to play fast to keep the defense from doing some situational things that they’d like to do to create advantages for themselves. A lot of the rules we have in college football can help offenses that are willing to take advantage of it, whether it’s throwing the ball behind the line of scrimmage and being able to block downfield or whatever these things are. I think it’s more difficult to play defense in this day and age. You have to reevaluate to try to do a better job against the things you are seeing.”

Saban was asked for his thoughts about playing in Atlanta. The Tide has played in three SEC Championship games and several Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic games during Saban’s tenure at Alabama.

He said Atlanta is an important metro area in the south and an important area for recruiting.

“The games we’ve played over there have certainly added to the exposure that we’ve been able to bring to the program,” he said.

Before the Iron Bowl, Alabama has one more opponent, the Chattanooga Mocs, this Saturday, which will be Senior Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium

“We have to have a better sense of urgency about how we prepare so we can improve as a team,” Saban said. “We have respect for anybody we play.” Chattanooga has won 8 games in the FCS.

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