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What Nick Saban Said About Alabama’s College Football Playoff Absence and Sugar Bowl Decline

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Alabama football will not make the college football playoffs for the second time in the history of the championship format.

The Crimson Tide was ranked No. 5 in the final standings announced Sunday, making them the first team among teams still in contention for a national championship.

Alabama coach Nick Saban spent much of Saturday night’s campaign for Alabama (10-2), but those attempts were ultimately wasted as No. 1 Georgia, No. 2, No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Ohio State were selected as nationals. semi-finalists.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” Saban told ESPN on Sunday. “We wanted to see our team have the opportunity to play and get to the playoffs. We’re going to have the opportunity to face someone somewhere in a good game. It’s going to be an opportunity for our players to create value for themselves and show what kind of team we really have.”

Instead, the Crimson Tide is set to face Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Dec. 31 (11 a.m., ESPN). The highest-ranked SEC team and the highest-ranked Big 12 team that doesn’t make the playoffs go to the Sugar Bowl this season.

“I just think it’s about trying to establish the kind of respect we’d like to have for this team and what we’ve accomplished and haven’t accomplished and what we’ve done and haven’t done” , said Saban. players. “What we do in the future, what we do in the future will determine that to a large extent.”

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Saban continued to emphasize the opportunity to build for the future and the opportunity for players to create value for themselves.

That could include playing in the bowl game for those who don’t retire before the 2023 NFL Draft. Quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. are expected to be high first-round picks, so their status deserves to be watched. Saban said he couldn’t speculate who will be available.

“I hope the players see this as an opportunity to create value for themselves, even if they are older players who have a chance of getting drafted this year and coming out, whether they are seniors. or juniors,” Saban said. . “For the younger members of the team, to kind of create value for their future in terms of how they can use this as an opportunity to continue to develop, grow and improve.

Either way, this will be the last game of the season for the Crimson Tide in what has been a season of adversity, including tough road trips that handed two losses by four combined runs and Young to the struggling with a shoulder injury in the middle of the year which prevented him from practicing.

What did Saban learn from 2022?

“We probably need to do a much better job of making sure you have a great relationship with all of your players,” Saban said. “I think it’s harder in the college football landscape to be able to keep people focused because there are a lot of external factors that can affect them. You want them to be able to stay focused on the task at hand. is what they control, and that’s what really creates value for them and their future. I think that’s the number 1 thing that we would like to do a better job of in the future.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama’s Nick Saban misses college football playoffs, Sugar Bowl dropouts

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