Alabama lost to Ohio State 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl, and at SEC Media Days yesterday Nick Saban advanced a bizarre theory to explain that loss. He says that team chemistry was harmed by players learning about their NFL Draft grade in the days leading up to the game, and that somehow hurt preparation. Via AL.com:
“Our team chemistry from the SEC Championship Game to the playoff game was affected by something,” [Saban] said, and he suggested that “something” was the feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee.
“So we’re trying to get ready for a game,” Saban said, “and all of a sudden, a guy finds out he’s a first-round draft pick or a guy that thought he was a first-round draft pick finds out he’s not a first-round draft pick, and we’re trying to get ready to play a playoff game.”
Later in the day Saban went on Paul Finebaum’s radio show and clarified that he was only suggesting a change to the draft process, not making an excuse for Alabama’s loss.
One guy who isn’t buying what Saban is selling? His former player for two seasons at Michigan State, Plaxico Burress. After the 1999 season Burress left for the NFL, where he was drafted eighth by the Steelers, while Saban resigned after the end of the regular season but before the Spartans’ Citrus Bowl appearance to coach LSU. On the way out, Burress says, Saban lied to him and the team, and chased money more shamelessly than any college football player.