Cadillac Williams and Nick Saban have been sharing plenty of pleasantries throughout Iron Bowl week ahead of #7 Alabama’s clash with 5-6 Auburn in the final game of the regular season — and what could be the penultimate contest of the year for the Crimson Tide if the College Football Playoff voters don’t find a way to get them into the top four.
Williams shared on November 19 after Auburn defeated Western Kentucky at Jordan-Hare Stadium that Saban made an impression on both him and his family during his recruitment while Saban was at LSU. “I’ve got a lot of respect for the great Nick Saban, a lot of respect,” Williams said. “He came and sat on my couch in 2001 when he was at LSU. My mom, my dad, we were very impressed by Coach Saban.”
Saban, meanwhile, returned the favor during a November 21 press conference. “He’s done a great job— the energy, the enthusiasm, the way the guys are competing and playing, the way they play to win,” Saban said. “And that was his personality as a player. I remember when I was the coach at the Miami Dolphins, Ronnie Brown and Cadillac were both coming out the same time in the same draft. And we thought they were both great competitors. He certainly was a great competitor. And I think his personality shows in the way his team competes.”
Analyst Believes Alabama Will Make the College Football Playoff
Undisputed with Skip and Shannon co-host Shannon Sharpe believes that even though Alabama has two losses and won’t be going to the SEC Championship by way of LSU owning the tie-breaker in the standings, they will still make the College Football Playoff (h/t Touchdown Alabama).
“When it’s all said and done, I believe Ohio State will be number one,” Sharpe said on Undisputed Wednesday. “I believe they beat Michigan…I got LSU upsetting Georgia in the SEC championship game. I think LSU is gonna pull it off. Brian Kelly got those guys playing unbelievable. They will be the number two seed. Georgia, which will lose, will be the only one loss team. So, they have to be in their, kinda like what happened last year Skip when Alabama upset them. Alabama shot to number one and then Georgia still made the College Football Playoff. And lo and behold, guess who gets in? Everybody gets your roll on. They gonna get in because I believe TCU will lose one of their final two games.”
Sharpe did wonder if a two-loss SEC Champion LSU team would keep Alabama out of the College Football Playoff, since a two-loss team — let alone a pair of two-loss teams — would be chosen by the CFP committee. “The only thing that concerns me, Skip, because if LSU gets in, this will be the first, first time a two loss team makes the college football playoff. Are they willing the first year that they accept one, allow two? They are very high on Alabama because of the last second loss, a two point conversion and a walk off field go by Tennessee. They’re punishing Clemson. You got throttled by Notre Dame, who look like some trash earlier the season, and We are gonna hold that against you. So that’s why they bumped them down one and put Alabama up one….Mines is gonna be Ohio State one, LSU two, Georgia three and Alabama four. It is the Alabama invitational. We are there every year.”
Nick Saban’s Assessment of Auburn
While the Auburn Tigers have a losing record, they have won two in a row with Cadillac Williams leading the charge and are not being undersold by Nick Saban ahead of college football’s biggest regular season game.
“This is one of the greatest rivalry games in college football,” Saban said, via BamaOnline. “Most every team in rivalry games, it’s part of their legacy in terms of ‘how did they do in the rivalry game?’ And this is one of the biggest ones, and it means a lot to a lot of people in our state. It means a lot to us, our players and our fans, and we’re going to do the best job we can to get ready for this game. I think Cadillac Williams has done a really, really good job. They’ve played really well these last three games.”
Saban shouted out several Tigers on both ends of the ball in his more thorough assessment of Auburn. “They run the ball effectively,” Saban said. “They’ve got a lot of diversity on offense. Their quarterback’s a very athletic player who can run and throw. Tank is one of the better backs in the SEC. Their defense is very, very aggressive. (Owen) Pappoe is a really good inside backer. (Derick) Hall is a really good rusher, creates a lot of negative plays. They’re very good on special teams. This is a very challenging game for us, and our players are going to have to do a great job of getting prepared to play as well as we’ve played all season.”