Saban, Tide Understand Significance Of SEC Championship Game [VIDEO]
Nick Saban has coached in enough important games since he's been at Alabama to know that the next one is as just big as any he's ever experienced.
During the opening statement his Wednesday evening press conference, the Alabama coach went on a small rant about any potential questions directed toward him about if he knows that the upcoming SEC Championship Game against Missouri is vital.
"I know you’re all going to ask me about the magnitude of the game. I think everybody understands the magnitude of the game," Saban said. "I think everybody understands the consequences of the game one way or the other. I’ve been getting asked that question ever since we started playing SEC games. When we played Florida, ‘What’s the magnitude of this game? How big a game is this?’ Then the Ole Miss game, ‘How big a game is that?’
"So every game we played all year, it’s the same question, so I got the same answer. It’s the most important game because it’s the next game. And it’s the next game that has an importance because of what the players have created for themselves."
Saban is 4-1 lifetime in SEC Championship games, dating back to when he was head coach at LSU. Saban's Alabama teams made back-to-back SEC title game appearances against Florida in 2008 and 2009, going 1-1. The Crimson Tide returned for the 2012 edition of the game against Georgia, which Alabama won 32-28.
In all three appearances under Saban, Alabama played with a national championship berth on the line. In 2009 and 2012, the Crimson Tide succeeded in reaching (and winning) the national title game after coming out of Atlanta victorious.
"They created a great opportunity to play against a great Missouri team, an outstanding Missouri team," Saban said. "It’s a great competitive venue to play in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship. Everybody understands that that’s the magnitude of the game for us, and that’s what we need to make sure that we’re focusing on and being prepared to get done."
Due to the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff this season, a win will not automatically place the Crimson Tide in the national championship, though it should be enough to secure the team's place in one of the two semifinal games. Alabama currently ranks No. 1, according to the playoff committee.
"I feel as though playing in this league you play in a lot of big games and this is just another one of them," cornerback Cyrus Jones said. "It just so happens this just has more stakes on the table. At the same time, you try to hone in to the fact that this is a big game, but you can’t let it overtake your mind. You’ve just got to approach it like any other game."
To hear Saban's entire press conference from Wednesday, watch the video above. For player interviews, watch the video below: