Alabama had lost games before Clemson blew them out in this year’s national title game. Just two years earlier, they had even lost another championship game to the Tigers.
But this year’s matchup was different, because he saw something we never see happen to the Crimson Tide. They got dominated.
In the month since that loss, many analysts have been left trying to diagnose what went wrong for Alabama against Clemson. Nick Saban has offered up his own thoughts on the matter.
Saban was asked about what caused his team to fall flat on that fateful night in Santa Clara.
Here’s the transcript of Saban’s response, via 247Sports’ Brad Crawford:
“To me, we kind of have the Alabama factor around here 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 sort of is responsible and accountable to do their job at a high level and a standard and everybody puts the team first, alright. So, that’s the standard. It’s up to the individual players to do that. And if I thought that we weren’t doing that in one game or 10 games, I would address it with the players and make sure that everybody was on board with those principles and values that’s helped us be successful.
“And I don’t think we played in that game with the Alabama factor. So, everybody needs to understand that and respond to it. If you lose your humility, it sort of creates, ‘I’m above doing things the way I need to do them to prepare for a game and go play in a game against good competition. And if I put my own agenda ahead of the team or winning, it’s going to have some effect on my performance.’ So, if I think those things are existing in the program, I think that they need to be addressed. And they have been.”
Basically, Alabama might have gotten complacent and lost its mental edge and sharpness. You can bet Saban will be working all offseason to ensure that doesn’t happen again on the big stage.
Alabama and Clemson are expected to be two of the top four teams in the country again in 2019, so the chance to get some immediate revenge in the College Football Playoff is a possibility for the Tide.