Alabama football will not be part of the College Football Playoff for the second time in championship history.
The Crimson Tide was ranked No. 5 in the final standings announced Sunday, making it the first team still in contention for a national championship.
Alabama coach Nick Saban spent much of Saturday night’s campaign for Alabama (10-2), but those efforts ultimately failed as No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Ohio State were selected as national semifinalists.
“We are clearly disappointed,” Saban told ESPN on Sunday. “We wanted our team to have the chance to play and make the playoffs. We get the chance to play against someone somewhere in a good game. That will be an opportunity for our players to create value for themselves and let see what kind of team we really have.”
Instead, the Crimson Tide is expected to face Kansas State at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on December 31 (11 a.m., ESPN). The highest-ranked SEC team and highest-ranked Big 12 team not in the playoffs will advance to the Sugar Bowl this season.
“I just think the bottom line is we’re trying to create the kind of respect we want to have for this team and we’ve achieved that and what we’ve done and what we haven’t done,” Saban said in his message to players. “What we do going forward, what we do going forward, will determine that to a large extent.”
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Saban continued to emphasize the ability to build for the future and players who have the ability to create value for themselves.
That could be playing the bowl game for those who don’t opt out ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. Quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. are expected to be high first-round draft picks, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their status. Saban said he cannot speculate on who will be available, but the staff will coach the players who are there.
“We certainly have a lot of appreciation and respect for the guys who are going to finish the season with the team, and we’re going to do our best to put those guys in a position where they have a chance.” to be successful,” Saban said during a virtual press conference on Sunday. “There will undoubtedly be an opportunity for some new guys. But we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Saban said he hasn’t spoken to Young and Anderson yet, but both have been participating in workouts over the past week. He expects to have the opportunity to talk to the captains this week.
Other players may decide to sit out the game as well. ESPN also has defensive back Brian Branch and running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the top 25 of their database of best prospects for 2023.
“I am hopeful that players will see this as an opportunity to create value for themselves, even if it is older players who will have the opportunity to be called up and come out this year, be they seniors or juniors Saban said. . “For the younger guys on the team, to build value for their future in terms of how they can use this as an opportunity to continue to develop and grow and get better.
Either way, this will be the last game of the season for the Crimson Tide in what has been a season of adversity, including tough road trips that saw two four-point losses and Young dealing with a mid-game draw. shoulder injury. year that prevented him from practicing.
What has Saban learned from 2022?
“We should probably try a lot harder to make sure you have good relationships with all your players,” said Saban. “I think in the landscape of college football it’s harder to keep people focused because there are a lot of outside factors that can affect them. You want them to be able to stay focused on the task at hand. That’s what they control, and that’s what really builds value for them and their future. I think that’s the most important thing we want to do better in the future.”
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Nick Saban on Alabama misses College Football Playoff, Sugar Bowl opt-outs