Upon further reflection, it’s interesting that Nick Saban claims the potential monetary riches of the NFL are distracting to his players – seeing as how, you know, Saban has been lured by those same riches in the past. While Saban claims that was not an excuse for why Alabama lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, it sure came off that way.
Either way, isn’t Saban’s stance a tad hypocritical?
“I thought it was a weird time for him to bring it up,” Fox Sports college football insider Stewart Mandel said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s a legitimate issue. I do think the NFL should push back the deadline for those underclassmen to declare, especially now that the playoff and the bowl season in general is going later and later and the draft has been pushed back. But I don’t know why he brought that up in relation to their bowl game last year. He’s had teams full of NFL draft picks playing in championship games consistently over the last seven or eight years, but this is the first time we’re hearing this has become a big distraction for his team.”
Saban, of course, isn’t the only SEC coach bellyaching these days. Over the last year, we’ve seen Arkansas’ Bret Bielema and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn complain about rules or schedules that they feel make it harder for them to win national titles.
Mandel’s response? Pipe down.
“I’m tired of hearing of hearing the SEC coaches in general make excuses for why they haven’t won championships the last couple years,” he said. “We saw Gus Malzahn say that the SEC-West is so difficult that their teams are going to be worn out by the time they get to the playoff – as if other teams around the country don’t have their own aches and bruises and as if four weeks isn’t enough time to recover from that. It just seems like now that they’ve been knocked off their perch a bit, everybody’s got a different explanation for why they didn’t win last year, aside from just Ohio State was really good.”
Speaking of Ohio State, Mandel believes the Buckeyes are the most talented team in the country.
“I think Ohio State is loaded right now because last year’s team that won the national championship was actually fairy young,” said Mandel, who believes J.T. Barrett should be a slight favorite in the Buckeyes’ quarterback competition. “They did not lose that many players from it. I think it’s the most talented team in the country, kind of like Florida State two years ago. Now, the most talented team does not always win the national championship. it doesn’t mean they won’t get derailed at some point. But between Florida State and Alabama – who have probably recruited as well as anybody – losing as many guys as they did early to the NFL draft this past year, compared to Ohio State, which has a lot of experience, I think the Buckeyes are a step up from those teams in terms of overall talent.”