Alabama football head coach Nick Saban said his team "lost our humility" after a blowout win at LSU last season.
In an interview with SEC Network's Greg McElroy, Saban touched on the Crimson Tide's blowout loss to Clemson in the national title game in January and what he meant during the 2018 season when he said they lost the "Alabama factor."
"We’ve always played with a lot of discipline. We’ve always had people do their job at a high standard on a pretty consistent basis and we’ve always had people being responsible and having accountability in putting the team first,” Saban said, according to 247 Sports. “From the LSU game on last year, I (think) we lost our humility, which can create a little complacency and a blatant disregard for doing what’s right.
Clemson football is the top team in the land, and its coach can now claim a similar title when it comes to his paycheck.
"We had a lot of internal distractions from people in terms of: 'Am I going out for the draft or am I taking another job?’ It was a little disappointing that we couldn’t keep it together. Obviously my responsibility is to keep everybody up to snuff in all those areas. But I think sometimes when you lose, people are much more willing to say, okay I’m going to look in the mirror now and what is the truth about what we did or didn’t do.”
The annual Alabama-LSU game has become one of the most important rivalries in college football, and last year's iteration played another key role in the race for the SEC West.
Alabama entered the Nov. 3 match as the unanimous No. 1 in the AP and the top team in the College Football Playoff rankings.
The Tigers, then No. 3 in the playoff committee rankings and No. 4 in the AP poll, boasted its highest ranking in the rivalry game since the two were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the "Game of the Century" in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2011.
Despite the hype, Alabama rolled to a 29-0 victory and continued its recent dominance over LSU.
The Crimson Tide went on to reach the college football playoff for a fifth consecutive season, the only program that's reached the final four each season since the playoff format was established in 2014.
It was the night before spring football in 2018, and Kevin Coyle didn't really know where he was going.
"Alabama overpowered us," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said after the game. "When you max-protect and you're doing everything you can with protection and they're beating you, you've got to look at personnel. You've got to get better."
The Crimson Tide will host the Tigers in November, and both teams figure to enter the season highly ranked again.
Alabama has won eight straight in the series dating back to the 2011 National Championship Game.