Alabama hasn't won a football national championship since — gasp — 2020, and after back-to-back titles by Georgia, the Crimson Tide aren't even the top dog now in the Southeastern Conference.
But don't think that's going to cause Alabama coach Nick Saban, winner of seven national championships, to start thinking about retirement as he turns 72 next month.
Appearing on ESPN's "Pat McAfee Show" on Thursday, Saban said the R word isn't on his mind.
"It's kind of laughable but, you know, I guess I would ask you," he said to McAfee, "when's the first time you heard that I was going to retire? That started about five years ago, and I think it creates some advantages for people, maybe whether it's in recruiting or whatever it might be. But I love what I'm doing. I'm focused on the challenge.
"I've always said I don't wanna ride the program down, I don't wanna do this if I can't do it anymore, but I feel great right now. I love it. We've got lots of challenges this season. I'm looking forward to it and we're all in."
One of those challenges for No. 10 Alabama is regrouping after a 34-24 loss to Texas, which rose to No. 4 after Saturday's win. The Longhorns trailed 16-13 entering the fourth quarter and outscored the Crimson Tide 21-8 to win.
He said his message to his team was clear: learn from it.
"Adversity, you know, can break some people. Adversity can make some people great. It just depends on how you deal with it, and I think we don't want our players to waste a failing," Saban said. "We want them to learn from the experience that they had so they have an opportunity to improve and get better."
Saban will be looking for Alabama (1-1) to do just that when it takes on South Florida on Saturday in Tampa.
"It's a privilege to play here," he said. "It's a privilege to be a coach here, and I think there's an expectation that goes with all that, but ... everybody should embrace it and be committed to doing the things they need to do to improve and get better."
Saban, who took over as Alabama's head coach in 2007, is 195-28 with the Crimson Tide. Overall, he has a 286-170-1 mark when his stops at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU are added.
—Field Level Media