In the Sugar Bowl last year, the Oklahoma Sooners didn’t just beat the Alabama Crimson Tide, but they won by two touchdowns. Since that time, people have been dismissing the win, claiming that Alabama was unmotivated for the game since it wasn’t for the national championship. Nick Saban told ESPN on Tuesday that he had to convince his team to play hard in a “consolation game.”
While this sounds like an excuse, it also paints Alabama in a very bad light. Saban is claiming with this statement that his players don’t care about winning or losing if the national title isn’t on the line. It sounds like they might just give up if they lose two regular season games if Saban is correct in his assessment. The fact that Alabama doesn’t care about winning their program puts doubts on Saban and his coaching staff.
Reporters at the Big 12 Media Days mentioned Saban’s excuse and Bob Stoops said that he doesn’t pay attention to those comments. He said that the Sooners have played for national championships before. He said that doesn’t stop Oklahoma from playing hard in other bowl games. He said that people can make all the excuses they want but the results of the game are all that matters.
Stoops then pointed out that Alabama sure looked like they were trying hard on the first series of the game. As a matter of fact, Alabama was playing very hard to start the game but the Sooners just started pulling ahead and played harder throughout the game. For Nick Saban to make excuses like that is just disrespecting the players that were all the field for the Crimson Tide, almost calling them quitters.
Nick Saban isn’t the only person to make comments like that about the Sugar Bowl. Baylor Bears defensive end Shawn Oakman was asked about being ranked under the Oklahoma Sooners in this year’s pre-season Big 12 polls. He said that the Alabama win didn’t mean much because the Crimson Tide had nothing to play for. One has to wonder if the Bears will have much to play for when they play Oklahoma this year.