Nick Saban says he’ll never get over title-game loss to Clemson

Nick Saban told ESPN he’ll never get over Alabama’s loss to Clemson. (Getty)
Nick Saban told ESPN he’ll never get over Alabama’s loss to Clemson. (Getty)

Alabama fans probably will never be able to unsee Deshaun Watson hitting Hunter Renfrow for a title-winning touchdown with one second to go. The Crimson Tide’s coach apparently won’t be able to, either.

Nick Saban spoke with ESPN this week, and the Alabama boss said he will never get over the Tide’s 35-31 loss to Clemson this past January, which denied his program its fifth title in eight years.

“I’ll never get over it because you never do with those kind of losses,” Saban told ESPN this week. “I never got over the returned field goal at Auburn. I never got over playing poorly against Ohio State and losing that game late. And then in this game, we didn’t play very well, and Clemson did when they had to. That’s what eats at you. We didn’t play that great against Washington, either (in a 24-7 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win) in the semifinal.”

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Saban took the blame for the Tide not playing their best when the stakes were highest. He was pleased with the progress the team made over the course of the season, especially with a true freshman quarterback in Jalen Hurts.

Saban also downplayed the impact of changing coordinators before the title game, as he dumped Lane Kiffin — who had just taken the FAU head job — in favor of Steve Sarkisian.

“We scored more points in that game against a better defense than we did the first playoff game,” Saban said. “We really scored 17 against Washington (not counting a defensive touchdown). At the end of the day, we played 80 plays of defense and gave up 14 points, and Clemson scored three times in the fourth quarter. So, what’s that have to do with the offensive coordinator? Now, if we had kept the ball more on offense, maybe there wouldn’t have been the pressure on the defense in the end or whatever, but we just didn’t do the things we needed to do to win that game.

“Look, having to make the change probably wasn’t helpful, but it was better than the alternative and that wasn’t my fault. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”

Saban, of course, isn’t alone in not getting over the loss to the Tigers. At least he didn’t ask Watson to leave a Tuscaloosa bar.

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Matt Fortuna is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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