On the grandest stage in college football the Alabama Crimson Tide were upset by the Clemson Tigers in shocking fashion, losing 44-16 in the national title game. At the time, people were stunned that the Tigers were able to catch Nick Saban’s team seemingly off-guard.
With the benefit of some added hindsight and review, Saban has now identified what went wrong in the national title game.
Speaking to the media on National Signing Day, Saban indicated that the team lacked discipline in the game and lost the “Alabama factor” that had served so well in intimidating opponents in the past.
“That has always helped us be successful,” Saban said. “That’s having a team that plays with a lot of discipline, that’s having a team that everybody is sort of responsible and accountable to do their job at a high level and a standard and everybody puts the team first. So that’s the standard. And it’s up to the individual players on the team to do that. If I thought that we weren’t doing that in one game or ten games, I would address it with the players and make sure that everybody was on board with those principles and values that have helped us be successful. I don’t think we played in that game with the Alabama factor. So everybody needs to understand that and respond to it.”
The game got off to a terrible start with a Tua Tagovailoa pass getting intercepted by A.J. Terrell and taken back for a 44-yard touchdown.
After a back-and-forth first half, Alabama were able to briefly gain a 16-14 lead on a Joseph Bulovas field goal.
But Nick Saban’s team would be held scoreless for the rest of the game as Clemson scored the next 30 points to ice the worst defeat of his Alabama career.
The Crimson Tide will almost certainly go into the 2019 season as a top-two candidate to win the title, but one has to wonder if the embarrassing defeat will in any way carry over into the season.
Knowing Nick Saban, he’ll do everything in his power to prevent that from happening.