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Nick Saban Names Alabama's 'Toughest' Game Of The Year

Nick Saban reacting after losing the National Championship

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Alabama will begin to face tougher adversaries with the schedule shifting almost exclusively to SEC competition.

The Crimson Tide will play seven of their final eight games within the conference. They face three consecutive matchups against currently ranked teams, starting with Saturday's showdown against No. 20 Arkansas.

Per Charlie Potter of 247Sports, Nick Saban looked ahead to what he labeled a "very difficult game."

"It’s a great challenge for us," Saban said. "Obviously, we’ll be able to see where we are as a team. But psychologically, I think everybody has to know this is the toughest challenge of the year."

Saban called junior KJ Jefferson a "really talented quarterback" and complimented a strong pass-rush that has registered 20 sacks in four games.

Arkansas opened the season with three straight wins before suffering a 23-21 loss to Texas A&M last Saturday. The Razorbacks gained 72 more total yards and eight more first downs despite falling short at College Station.

Alabama has already faced one steep test this season when surviving a narrow 20-19 victory over Texas in Week 2. Saban now has his team on alert for another tough road matchup.

The SEC game will commence Saturday at 3:30 p.m ET on CBS.