Nick Saban picks up off-the-field win in Baton Rouge over IRS: report

Alabama head coach Nick Saban greets LSU head coach Ed Orgeron before the Alabama vs. LSU SEC football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama has sat atop the College Football Playoff rankings more than twice as often as any other school. But don't expect Nick Saban to weigh in on whether he feels slighted by this year's opening results. 

Don't expect any answer at all, in fact, because he'll tell you he hasn't even seen them. 

"I didn’t look at them yet, so I’m not sure," a smiling Saban said during an interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi. "I’ve been working today, not reading the paper. So, I don’t really know. But can you enlighten me a little bit on what’s going on?”

Rinaldi: "You don't know where you rank?"

Saban: "No."

Whether Saban's blinders are real or simply intended as a statement to his players, his Alabama squad faces off with LSU on Saturday in the highest-billed matchup between the two teams in eight years.

The Tigers head to Bryant-Denny Stadium at No. 1 in the Associated Press rankings, but No. 2 behind Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings. Alabama fell back to No. 2 in the AP poll, and sits at No. 3 in the CFP rankings. It's only 7th time out of the 32 such rankings that Alabama has fallen outside of the top two in that poll. 

But his reasoning for not paying much attention right now is nothing if not accurate.

"It’s really not going to matter. It doesn’t matter if you don’t keep winning. So why worry about it?" Saban said. "I mean, it’s not where you are right now, it’s where you end up that’s most important. So it doesn’t really matter right now, because if you’re first and you lose, you’re not going to be first for long.”

The wide-ranging interview addressed multiple subjects surrounding the colossal matchup in Tuscaloosa, but began with a question about what Saban remembered most vividly from that 2011 "Game of the Century," which doubles as the last time LSU won a game in the series.

“We lost," Saban said. "I mean, what else?”

LSU and Alabama kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (CBS).



"I know we missed a bunch of field goals and we got the ball close to the red zone like four or five times in the game and really only scored six points. So that is the one thing I probably remember most.”


“I think pretty significantly, I really do. I know the way we play has changed dramatically. Of course, that’s because of the players that we have. The way they play is a lot more like we play in terms of spreading out, using the skill guys that they have. Quarterback oriented, which he’s played really well for them. So, I think dramatically.


“Number one is they’re spreading people out. They’ve got really good skill guys. They’ve got a good runner. I mean, this is as good an offense, probably, as we’ve had to face for a long time. I mean, one of the best. [Burrow] does a great job. He understands exactly what they’re doing because people are spread out it makes it a little easier to see. The defense has to declare itself so he knows exactly what you’re in, where to go with the ball. He gets rid of it quickly. But where he’s been most effective to me is when plays break down, he’s been able to extend plays and make plays down the field as well as convert critical third down situations by running because he’s such a good athlete. So you’ve got to defend all of the above, which is a pretty difficult task.”


“Well, the guys are really good competitors. They play with toughness. They make a lot of contested catches. They have really good size. They all have great hands, and they’re physical. So you have to kind of try to match that or it’s like a guard playing a power forward to some degree in basketball. It’s not going to work out really well for you. They’re a really talented group."

For the full interview, click here.

Can't see video below? Click here.

Email Jeff Nowak at

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak