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Losing to Auburn was like losing playoff, says Nick Saban

May 27, 2014

Auburn's Gus Malzahn topped Nick Saban last season

By Charles Goldberg

DESTIN, Fla. -- Alabama coach Nick Saban is OK with college football's new four-game playoff format. He's used to playoffs. He plays in the SEC. 

Saban said playing in the SEC is like playing in playoff, especially with the tough week-to-week competition, and with the West Division winner having to play in the conference title game. 

Saban said losing to Auburn 34-28 last year was like losing a playoff game. It knocked the Tide out of the national title hunt. He'll get a chance to make up for that when Alabama plays host to Auburn on Nov. 29. That's Game 12 on your Auburn schedule. Game 12on Alabama's, too. 

That's why we care.

"I think that we, obviously, didn’t have the right stuff to finish the season the way we needed to finish it," Saban said at the SEC spring meetings Tuesday. "I think we knew when we were going to play the last game of the season (against Auburn), if we were successful in that, we’d play in the SEC Championship Game. If we were successful in that, we’d play in the national championship game, so we in effect were in a playoff. 

"Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, you know you’re in a playoff, you better win the games or you don’t play the next game. I think our players understood that and I don’t that we finished the way that we would have liked to. 

"I think there’s some real lessons to be learned for our future teams and certainly this year's team, that we may be able to do it better in the future." 

SEC teams have played for the national title in the BCS Championship Game the last seven years. Auburn won one. Lost one. The BCS is gone, in favor of a new playoff that will likely feature a playoff-tested SEC team. 

That was one of the low-keyed topics for Saban on Tuesday.

"It always makes me nervous when there are no issues … because then somebody creates one, which has happened to me a couple of times here in the past," Saban joked.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:
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