Alabama head coach Nick Saban showed a lot of respect to his upcoming opponent ahead of Saturday's battle with Auburn.
"This is the best team we've played, probably, so far this year," the coach said Monday, per Charlie Potter of 247Sports.
It's certainly an interesting take considering the Crimson Tide have already played and lost to current No. 1 LSU. The Tigers went into Tuscaloosa and came away with a 46-41 win in arguably the biggest game of the college football season.
Auburn is certainly a talented team, entering the week 8-3 featuring wins over Oregon and Texas A&M. The team's losses are also as good as anyone in the country, including one-score defeats against playoff contenders LSU and Georgia. The team also lost on the road to Florida.
With an elite defense and a freshman quarterback in Bo Nix, who continues to improve, the Tigers are a legitimate threat to upset Alabama and untested Mac Jones at quarterback.
Of course, Saban could also be sending a message to his team to be prepared for a big fight this weekend.
His words could also be lobbying the College Football Playoff committee to pay attention to the Crimson Tide. A win over Auburn would be Alabama's best of the year and could be enough to sneak into a top-four spot by the end of the season.
Considering this will be the team's final game before the playoffs are decided, Saban will hope his team can send a message Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.