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Nick Saban Calls This Week's Sugar Bowl Prep 'Most Enjoyable Bowl Practice' He's Had

The Alabama head coach said his team has been fully locked in all week in New Orleans getting ready for the Sugar Bowl with Kansas State.

NEW ORLEANS — Since Nick Saban has arrived in Tuscaloosa, it has more often than not that Alabama is playing for a championship at the end of the season. 

This Saturday will be just the fourth time since 2009 that Alabama's season will not end in either a BCS Championship Game or College Football Playoff. It would be easy for the 2022 Alabama Crimson Tide to give in and give up for the Sugar Bowl against Kansas State after a disappointing season, but according to the Alabama head coach, that hasn't been the case. 

"This has been the most enjoyable bowl practice experience we have ever had," Saban said during his radio show Thursday night. 

Saban clarified that the teams that have been in the CFP are always locked in for the bowl game, but this year's team has been the exception. Alabama did win its last non-CFP bowl in the Citrus Bowl after the 2019 season, but the Crimson Tide's last two trips to the Sugar Bowl that weren't part of the CFP (2008 and 2013) resulted in losses. 

"We've only had two or three of these experiences where we're not in the playoffs and that kind of becomes the goal that everybody’s looking to do," Saban said. "And then when you don't make it, it's a little bit of a letdown. And then it's a tough motivation to get the guys going, but it hasn’t been this year. So hopefully it’ll show up on the field on Saturday.”

Even though the Crimson Tide is a little thin at some positions due to transfer portal exits, Saban has had only positive things to say about the players that have stuck around and the opportunity it has been for the younger guys to grow and develop. 

This week has been a great bonding experience for the players with the afternoons and evenings free after practice in the morning. Saban said the captains set curfew for midnight each night, and they have had no discipline issues all week in New Orleans. 

Now, the Crimson Tide locks in for its matchup with Kansas State Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Caesars Superdome. 

"This is a great opportunity against a good team to prove who we are," Saban said. "Like I said before, circumstances don't make you who you are, it reveals who you are.  So we'll see who we are. And I've been pleased with the way these guys have responded so far and hopefully, we'll come out and be able to play and support each other in a way that they'll be successful."

See also:

What the Kansas State Offensive Coordinator, QB Said about Facing Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Who Could Step Up at WR for Alabama in Sugar Bowl

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