Alabama’s Nick Saban opened up about college football’s new playoff (he likes it, though he predicts “a two-hour ESPN show on who got left out”) and the Tide’s opener with Michigan (calling “this particular challenge” a “special one” for his team) before a speech in Huntsville last night.
Also on the agenda? Bama’s role as defending national champion:
“You become the target when you’re the champion. Everybody wants to knock you off the top of the mountain and you have to be prepared for it. Human nature is to be a little complacent sometimes. That’s something we fight with our players and everybody in our organization.
Obviously, in 2010, we didn’t do a good job of managing that. Hopefully we’ll do better this year.”
Alabama finished 10-3 in 2010 after going undefeated and winning the BCS crown in 2009. With many starters returning in ’10, the Crimson Tide was about as heavy a favorite to repeat as you’ll ever see. Instead… those three losses.
One thing might work in the Alabama’s favor this year, however. The past few seasons, we’ve downplayed the chances of an SEC team winning back-to-back national crowns because no team in the SEC has even won back-to-back league titles since Tennessee did it way back in 1997 and 1998. That’s a remarkable run that speaks to the depth and strength of the conference.
But Bama doesn’t have to worry about the “SEC repeat” jinx. That’s because LSU won the SEC title last year (though it turned out to be a rather hollow accomplishment once Saban’s Tide bested them 21-0 in a rematch in the BCS title game).
So for the first time during the SEC’s six-year streak of BCS crowns, the team trying to repeat as national champs won’t be trying to repeat as SEC champs.
Does that mean a darn thing? Probably not, but we found it interesting.