Alabama coach Nick Saban is consistent.
Saban spent the days before the College Football Playoff field was announced campaigning for Alabama to be a part of the four-team field. And after Georgia throttled TCU 65-7 in Monday’s national title game, Saban voted Alabama second behind the Bulldogs in the final USA Today coaches poll of the season.
Saban had TCU at No. 3 followed by Michigan and Ohio State.
The Tide coach wasn’t shy about voicing why Alabama should have been a part of the playoff before it was selected on Dec. 4. Despite losing two games in the regular season, one of the reasons Saban gave for Alabama’s playoff inclusion was because the Crimson Tide would be favored over every other team in college football outside of Georgia on a neutral field.
Saban had the ability to campaign vigorously for Alabama because his Alabama team wasn’t playing on conference championship weekend. The Tide’s loss to LSU meant the Tigers won the SEC West. With Alabama not playing that weekend, Saban even went on Fox’s Big Ten title game halftime show to make the case that Alabama — not Ohio State — should be in the playoff.
Alabama’s playoff case was always a long shot, however. The Crimson Tide would have been the first team with two losses to make the College Football Playoff. Ohio State had a significant edge for the fourth and final playoff spot because it had just one regular-season loss. And even though the Buckeyes nearly beat Georgia in that dramatic Peach Bowl semifinal, Saban still voted them fourth among the four playoff teams.
Saban not the only coach to have TCU outside top 2
While TCU finished at No. 2 in the coaches poll ahead of Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama, in that order, Saban wasn’t the only coach to vote the Horned Frogs outside the top two. Four other coaches had TCU lower than No. 2. UTEP’s Dana Dimel voted TCU at No. 9, Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman and Boston College’s Jeff Hafley had the Horned Frogs at No. 5, and Southern Miss coach Will Hall had the Horned Frogs at No. 6.
Both Hafley and Freeman voted Ohio State No. 2 while Hall had Michigan at No. 2. Dimel agreed with Saban and had the Crimson Tide second to the Bulldogs. The votes of coaches are kept private throughout the season before their votes for the final poll are annually revealed.
Final 2022 coaches poll
4. Ohio State
7. Penn State
10. Florida State
14. Kansas State
17. Oregon State
18. Notre Dame
19. Mississippi State
23. South Carolina
24. Fresno State