Campus Corner

Nick Saban says distractions cost Alabama heading into playoff

Alabama coach Nick Saban at the SEC Media Days.
Alabama coach Nick Saban at the SEC Media Days. The Associated Press

Something impacted Alabama’s chemistry between its SEC Championship Game victory over Missouri and meeting with Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal, and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban believes he knows the source.

On Dec. 15, juniors can submit for an NFL Draft grade with the evaluation back to the school before Christmas. That’s when teams are preparing for the postseason and Saban believes his team was distracted by process. Top-ranked Alabama fell to Ohio State, which went on to win the national championship.

“It’s my obligation as a coach to inform that young man when I get that information because it’s his information,” Saban said. “We’re talking about a young person who has to deal with a lot. We had six guys in this situation this past year, 11 the year before.

“We’re trying to get ready for the game, and all the sudden a guy finds out he’s a first-round draft pick or a guy who thought he was a first-round pick finds out he’s not.”

As for the Jan. 15 deadline to declare for the draft, Saban would like to see that date moved a week to 10 days later.

Saban would like the draft status information to players delayed until after their season is completed.

Of course, something else affected the Crimson Tide in the national semifinal: Ohio State was college football’s best team at the end of the year.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff.