The polls are out and controversy has already begun.
The College Football Playoff Committee released its initial rankings for the 2017 season, giving the media plenty to dissect.
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is furious over the polls, but not for the reason you might think.
Despite being number 1 in both the AP and Coaches’ poll, Alabama found itself ranked 2nd behind Georgia in the initial playoff poll.
Some might consider that a sign of disrespect, especially considering Alabama’s and Saban’s track record, but Saban couldn’t care less.
Saban believes polls and media hoopla are “rat poison.”
It’s safe to say that Nick Saban isn’t looking forward to the first release of the College Football Playoff Rankings this week.
Alabama is No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches polls and is a strong candidate to be in the top spot when the College Football Playoff Committee’s rankings come out Tuesday night.
“I could care less about the poll,” Saban said. “What significance does a poll have right now? All we’re talking about right here is the challenge of our season, and where are we going to be in the poll if we don’t play well in the next four games? So I’m focused on the next four games. I could care less about the poll. You won’t see me waste any time watching TV or who is 1 and who is 2. It doesn’t really matter. What really matters is how you play the rest of the season.”
“If our players think anything of [the poll], then that could be an issue,” Saban said. “These are the things we try to categorize as poison that you really don’t want your players to be focused on.”
He grinned and added, “But I appreciate you asking so I could get that off my chest.”
Saban, who has seen his team go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country this season, made headlines earlier this month when he likened the positive coverage of Alabama to that of “rat poison.”
Coaches are constantly fighting to keep their players properly motivated and focused on the upcoming opponent.
The media likes to tally wins ahead of time, but coaches despise that mentality. It’s why they implore their players to avoid the press clippings.
Saban, known for his irascibility, takes it to another level. He routinely goes on post-game rants after his team just won by four touchdowns because he wants his players to maintain an edge.
Whatever Saban’s doing, it’s working. When Alabama isn’t ranked number one, it becomes a story. Since Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa 10 years ago, the Crimson Tide have won four national championships, and been close three other times.
Here’s a look at the initial playoff rankings:
First Rankings: Top 2️⃣5️⃣
With a month to go and conferences races tightening up, the media will have a field day.
But coaches like Saban will be sternly focused on Saturday.