Those who have been around Alabama head coach Nick Saban know he’s a little bit of a jokester behind the scenes but that wee bit of personality seemed to come out a little at Thursday’s press conference for the four College Football Playoff-bound head coaches. That’s because Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was asked about his Coaches Poll final ballot.
While you normally might roll your eyes about how a coach votes in such a poll, the order Dabo had the teams in was a bit eyebrow raising — namely he had Ohio State at No. 4 and his next opponent (and alma mater) Alabama at No. 5 in the ballot he submitted last Saturday after the close of the regular season.
“Literally it was 3:00 in the morning. Man, I got to do this poll. Looking at it, you know, they won 11 games. Alabama won 11 games. They won the Big Ten championship,” said Swinney. “Obviously the committee has a lot of things to look at, a lot of data. They’re going to pick the four best teams however they see it. At that moment, that’s the way I voted. They’re all great teams, man.”
To which Saban followed up, complete with a giant grin: “He was just respecting his alma mater, that’s all.”
“I’m trying to get rid of him, but I can’t shake him,” Swinney retorted.
For what it’s worth, Saban voted the Tigers No. 1 and the Tide No. 4.
The Clemson-Alabama rubber match is going to be fantastic fun down at the Sugar Bowl and especially so since the two head coaches love to have a little bit of fun with each other in press conferences after three postseason meetings.