Alabama football isn't used to losing many national titles, so the program has to come up with unique motivational tactics when it does happen.
Offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor Jr. told reporters on Friday the Crimson Tide have put up a "participation trophy" from the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in the team cafeteria to motivate the players this season.
In the eight-year history of the College Football Playoff, Alabama has made the field seven times and reached the title game six times.
The 2022 Crimson Tide finished the regular season 12-1, highlighted by a 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. They earned the No. 1 seed in the playoff and had no problems in the semifinal with a 27-6 victory over Cincinnati.
Georgia defeated Michigan 34-11 in the second semifinal to set up an SEC Championship Game rematch for the national title. It was also a rematch of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship that was won by Alabama, 26-23, in overtime.
The Bulldogs got revenge on their conference rival with a 33-18 victory to win their first national championship since 1980.
The 15-point loss also marked the largest margin of defeat for Nick Saban's squad since a 44-16 shellacking at the hands of Clemson in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Alabama routinely has the most talented roster in college football. Saban and his coaching staff are among the best in the nation. It's not hard to imagine a scenario in which the team wins a national title this season.
But if the Crimson Tide need to use a second-place participation trophy as motivation to push them over the edge, no one will complain if the end result is another championship.