Maybe Shawn Oakman wasn’t all wrong. Maybe Alabama doesn’t care about non-National Championship bowl games.
The Baylor defensive end said Monday at Big 12 Media Days that “You realize if it’s not the national championship, Alabama don’t even care who they play,” essentially discrediting OU’s momentum-building win over the Crimson Tide in this year’s Sugar Bowl.
But on ESPN’s College Football Live on Tuesday, Alabama coach Nick Saban admitted that he had to do some extra motivating to get his players up for OU.
Nick Saban said playing OU last year had to convince team “getting them to try to play in consolation game”
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 22, 2014
Remember, Auburn’s 109-yard missed field goal TD return in the Iron Bowl shut Alabama out of the SEC Championship game and cost the Crimson Tide a chance at a third consecutive National Championship. The circumstances were similar for Alabama in 2008-09, when the Crimson Tide experienced a letdown in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, when then mid-major Utah beat them 31-17 after Alabama was coming off a tough loss to Florida in the SEC Championship game.
If Alabama would have beaten Florida that season, it would have played OU in the National Championship game. Instead — like in 2013-14 — the Crimson Tide were relegated to New Orleans, where Utah ran over them en route to a perfect season.
Is “motivation” a factor for Saban’s crew when it’s not playing for all the marbles? Or is it a tailor-made excuse for losing “consolation games?”
Saban did have some good things to say about OU, in particular quarterback Trevor Knight.