ATLANTA, Ga. (WHNT) – Alabama comes to the Georgia Dome ranked number two in the country and seemingly one win away from a spot in the college football playoff.
The Crimson Tide arrived in Atlanta Friday ready to face a Florida team most people aren’t giving a chance. In-fact, the Gators are the biggest SEC title game underdog since the mid 90’s. Jim McElwain is embracing his team’s role and enjoying the moment.
“Everybody’s goal in this conference is to get to Atlanta and the Florida Gators are in Atlanta. I’m okay with that,” he said.
On the other side, Nick Saban has no plans of allowing his team to feed into the hype and knows the game won’t be played on paper or in a Las Vegas sports book. He said, “The best fighter doesn’t always win the fight. You got to fight your best fight in the ring. That’s certainly what you are going to have to do in this game.”
The question that invoked the most emotion from Saban Friday centered around his Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart and the virtual certainty of his hiring at Georgia. Saban and Smart have worked together for nine seasons and it’s obvious the relationship means a lot to Alabama’s head coach.
“His leadership with what he’s responsible for which is the defense has been outstanding. He has good relationships with the players they respond well to him. He’s sound in how he goes about doing the things we do, and we’ve worked together for a long, long time. He’s as good an assistant coach and as loyal an assistant coach as I’ve ever had on my staff,” he said.
The coaching carousel is expected to turn for Saban and Smart Sunday afternoon, but first it’s a match-up with Florida on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:00 pm CT on WHNT News 19.