Nick Saban has said in the past that too much positive press for his Alabama team is like "rat poison," but Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is afraid the legend is receiving just the opposite of that following the Crimson Tide's 32-31 loss to LSU at Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
"I texted [Paul] Finebaum on the way over here when I saw his quotes when he normally does and he says the Nick Saban dynasty is over and all that," Kiffin told reporters Monday. "Every time he says this—which I tell him—all he does is, I call it, like, GOAT fuel. The opposite of rat poison. You're just like, giving the GOAT fuel, which for him, that works. He goes and proves them wrong every time.
"So really appreciate you Paul saying that right after the game. I'm sure that was on his desk Sunday morning."
Kiffin doubled down on his comments on Twitter:
Lane Kiffin @Lane_Kiffin
How many times is he going to have to prove you wrong??? <a href="https://twitter.com/finebaum?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@finebaum</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/SECNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SECNetwork</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AlabamaFTBL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AlabamaFTBL</a> 🐐 ⛽️!! Stop please!!! <a href="https://t.co/ky7jB6D9n8">https://t.co/ky7jB6D9n8</a>
The Ole Miss head coach, who previously worked for Saban as an assistant at Alabama, also pointed out the Crimson Tide are "two plays" that "could have went either way" from being either No. 1 or 2 in the country.
Saban's first loss this season came to Tennessee when Will Reichard missed a potential go-ahead field goal with 15 seconds remaining and gave the Volunteers just enough time to use solid field position to get their own winning field goal.
Then his loss to LSU happened in overtime when the Tigers elected to go for the two-point conversion after pulling within one with a touchdown and converted.
Both were also road games in front of raucous crowds.
The problem for Alabama, though, is its College Football Playoff chances are now in serious jeopardy. It is in third place in the SEC West at 4-2 in the conference, while LSU (5-1) and Ole Miss (4-1) are in better position.
The Tigers also have the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Just reaching the SEC Championship Game at this point seems like something of a long shot, and accomplishing that would likely mean a date with powerhouse Georgia. Defeating the Bulldogs and benefiting from losses elsewhere with undefeated Ohio State, Michigan and TCU, plus a number of one-loss teams, all hanging around in the playoff race seems like something of a long shot.
For now, Saban's attention is surely on the upcoming contest with Kiffin's Ole Miss team, which gives the Crimson Tide a chance to earn a head-to-head tiebreaker with another SEC West contender.
The macro discussions about the potential end to the Alabama dynasty could be a motivating factor heading into that game, and Kiffin recognized the last thing he needs is an even more daunting matchup with the Crimson Tide.