Iím not happy about Alabama winning the BCS title (and finishing #1 in my ratings) and I still donít like the man at all, but Nick Saban has been pretty good about reminding people what it means to be in the SEC rather than pretending this is all about Alabama. He gave Georgia and the SEC credit, saying, ďWe got here by 5 yards ó Georgia was 5 yards from scoring [the winning touchdown in the SEC title game],Ē Saban said. ďItís a pretty tough league we play in. Weíre going to have to improve as a program to have the opportunity to play for a national championship again, because of the quality of our league.Ē
After, the LSU game, Sabanís opening remarks to the media included the following: ďLSU played a great game. They had a great game plan. They did a great job of executing. I think their quarterback played really well. There was a stretch there in the second half where they converted seven straight third down and five or moresÖ. This was a very physical game. Iím going to tell you that our guys are probably going to be as sore as theyíve ever been after any game.Ē It was obviously in part to give his team credit for winning despite this, but he acknowledged all during the following week that if anything he needed to keep a lid on his teamís self-congratulatory mood (he was smart enough to worry about what happened in the A&M game before it happened), so I donít think he was just patting himself or the team on the back with these comments.
I also want to give Gregg Doyel (who gave the Saban quote about Georgia here) credit for pointing out what an idiot he made out of himself earlier in the year.
I believe the Tide would have finished undefeated and possibly without the scares it had against LSU and Georgia had it competed in any other conference, and the same may well have been true had the Tide faced Notre Dameís schedule. Thatís not to say there wouldnít have been any close games, but I donít think there would have been the type of game that either the Tigers or the Bulldogs had against the Tide. I donít think Texas A&M was as outstanding as some think they were, but they beat Alabama because they got out to a 20-0 lead, and Iím almost certain that theyíre the only team in the country that could have realistically done that.
I just mentioned the three best teams that Alabama played this season (at least based on the games those teams gave Alabama), and it could have easily been any one of them in their place. Iíll further note that the Tide did not play Florida or South Carolina. So if the schedule and a couple other things had worked out differently, Alabama could have been the fifth or sixth team in the SEC this year. After all, thatís the spot LSU (at least according to the polls) ended up in this year, and we saw how close they were to Alabama on the field.
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