Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban believes his squad earned a little more respect following Saturday's 41-24 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game.
“Everybody wanted to gain a little respect, and I think maybe we did," Saban said, per David Cobb of CBS Sports.
Saban added, per Dan Wolken of USA Today: "What these guys wanted to gain was more respect. Not just the fact they were underdogs, but you guys gave us a lot of really positive rat poison. The rat poison you usually give us is fatal. This rat poison you gave us this week was yummy."
It sure seems like Alabama earned that respect, too, with many on Twitter recognizing the Crimson Tide after their big win:
Skyler Waterman @CCS_SkylerW
I love to root against Bama, but man if I can’t help but have an immense amount of respect and admiration for how Nick Saban is able to get this Alabama team to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CFBPlayoff?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CFBPlayoff</a> every single year. The 🐐 of college football, and it ain’t even close.
Alabama played great on both sides of the ball against Georgia. The Crimson Tide offense, led by quarterback Bryce Young, put up 536 yards of total offense. To put that into context, the Georgia defense entered the SEC Championship Game allowing just 230.9 yards and 6.9 points per game.
Young completed 26-of-44 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 40 yards and a score. The sophomore signal-caller also broke SEC title game records for total offense and passing yards.
As for the defense, Alabama limited Georgia to 449 yards of total offense and also forced two interceptions. The second pick tossed by Stetson Bennett was returned for a touchdown.
While Alabama has been viewed as one of the top programs in the nation for a long time, the team was often not viewed to be on the same level as Georgia. In addition, the Crimson Tide have been ranked behind both Cincinnati and Michigan at points this season despite losing just one game.
With the opportunity to win a second successive national title, Alabama surely won't be overlooked in the College Football Playoff.