Alabama coach Nick Saban seemed to appreciate having a rare source of bulletin board material for his team entering Saturday's SEC Championship Game. That source of motivation was the fact that few gave his team a chance to win, as the Crimson Tide entered as the underdog in a game for the first time since 2015. That ultimately proved foolish, as No. 3 Alabama rolled over top-ranked Georgia 41-24.
"You guys gave us a lot of really positive rat poison," Saban said after the game through laughter. "The rat poison that you usually give us is usually fatal, but the rat poison that you put this week was yummy."
The rat poison reference is, of course, a nod to one of Saban's many famous rants about positive press his teams typically receive. Saban has referred to the frequent adulation of his players and teams as "rat poison" in the past because of its potentially negative impact on their play.
"All that stuff you write about how good we are, all that stuff they hear on ESPN, it's like poison," Saban said in 2017 after his team's win over Texas A&M. "It's like taking poison. Like rat poison."
Georgia's 6.5-point spread was the largest against the Crimson Tide since 2008, which was Saban's second season as coach. Apparently, that status as the hunter instead of the hunted suits Alabama well. But after such a dominant performance against the Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide shouldn't get used to it.
"I think what these guys really wanted was to gain more respect," Saban said.