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Oklahoma Sooners

Lane Kiffin: Nick Saban preferred Georgia over Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma

Well, one person who is apparently more than happy with the Oklahoma Sooners stunning Rose Bowl loss to Georgia (outside of every Texas and Oklahoma State fan) is Nick Saban.

According to ESPN’s Chris Lowe, who spoke with Saban’s former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, Saban & Co. preferred to face their fellow SEC foe.

“It’s the matchup that Alabama wanted. If you look at who beats Alabama, it’s spread teams with a quarterback that can move around like Baker Mayfield. They probably wouldn’t admit it, but Alabama would prefer this matchup rather than the other way. Whenever Alabama has played the more traditional offenses, that is when Alabama usually shuts them down — the Georgias, the LSUs. So that favors them.”

If you think back on some of Nick Saban’s losses in recent years, they’ve all been against teams that used some version of the spread. There was the meeting, ironically against Oklahoma, the 2013 Sugar Bowl when OU rolled to a 45-31 win over the Crimson Tide. Also, losses to Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M team in 2012, a couple of losses to Ole Miss in 2014 and 2015, and even Clemson in the National Title last year.

Those are the offenses that Saban wants no part of. He’d rather play another SEC team that is trying to emulate his blueprint. But as we’ve seen time and time again, no one beats Saban at his own game. At least not yet.

Saban is 11-0 against his former coaches and has won those games by an average score of 39-10.

Frankly, I think the best match up for ratings and for a must-watch football game would have been Oklahoma vs. Alabama. Baker Mayfield and Lincoln Riley’s offense against the greatest defensive mind with the most blue chip prospects in the country. The young, 34-year-old offensive-minded head coach against the current Godfather of college football.  Mayfield’s flash and arrogance against Bama’s suffocating D. Imagine Mayfield scoring a TD and taunting the Crimson Tide sideline? Oh man.

Instead, we get an All-SEC snoozer. But remember, the 2012 National Title game between Alabama and LSU helped lead us to a College Football Playoff. That game was the third-lowest rated of the BCS era. Maybe this game will begin ushering in an eight-team playoff for those who want it.

If you really want to boycott, just don’t watch the game. All you’ll miss is a 13-10 clunker as Chris Fowler and Herbie wax poetic ove rhow good these defenses are. If I didn’t have to analyze the game for Sports Illustrated’s SI NOW show the following morning, I’d probably pass myself. Alas, I can’t. But you can!

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