From ‘rat poison’ to ‘G.O.A.T. fuel:’ Lane Kiffin takes exception to Finebaum’s comments on Saban
OXFORD, Miss. — Professional sportswriters and sportscasters all have one thing in common – each can overreact to things at a world class level. After Alabama lost 32-31 to LSU in overtime Saturday, one television host deemed the Nick Saban Dynasty over in Tuscaloosa.
“It just seems like for starters the window on the (Nick) Saban dynasty is closing,” SEC Network host Paul Finebaum said Sunday. “They are not going to get back in it this year.”
Saban probably took that comment by Finebaum with a grain of salt, but Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, who will oppose Saban this week, cringed when he heard it. He addressed the statement at his Monday press conference.
“I texted Finebaum on the way over here when I saw him, his quotes, like he normally does and says you know the Nick Saban dynasty is over and all that,” Kiffin said.
“And every time he says this, which I tell him…you know I call it G.O.A.T fuel – opposite of rat poison. You’re just giving the GOAT (Saban) fuel for him that works and he goes and proves them wrong every time, so I really appreciate Paul saying that right after the game. I’m sure that was on (Saban’s) desk Sunday morning.”
Coach Kiffin responding to Paul Finebaum’s comments on Saban
With its second conference loss, Alabama’s chances to make the SEC Championship game are slim and none. Slim because the Crimson Tide now needs help from Arkansas and Texas A&M to knock off the Tigers. Should Alabama fall to the Rebels this week, Bama’s chances fall into the none category.
Ole Miss has plenty to play for as well. The Rebels are 8-1 with their lone loss coming at LSU. Should Ole Miss win out with victories over Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi State, it could have a say in who goes to Atlanta — if LSU drops one of its final league games.
But any chances for the Rebels would become moot with a loss to Alabama.
History shows playing Alabama the week after it suffered a loss is not a fun proposition. The Tide has not endured back-to-back losses since 2013 when they lost to Auburn and then to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
The last time Bama lost consecutive regular season games was 2007 when it lost to Georgia and Florida State. Later that season, the Tide lost four straight to LSU, Mississippi State, Louisiana-Monroe and Auburn.
“They’re always ready to play, they always rebound over the years,” Kiffin said.
“You’re going to go play the best offensive player in the country (Bama QB Bryce Young) and the best defensive player in the country (Bama LB Will Anderson) so, very challenging situation but glad to be home, we’ve had a nice home winning streak here and we obviously assume the crowd will be great.”
Coach Kiffin on playing Alabama
The Rebels have won 13 straight games in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
To extend that streak, Ole Miss will have to play well. Alabama seems to rebound well after a loss. This season after losing to Tennessee on a last-second field goal, the Tide crushed Mississippi State 30-6.
And it is not like Bama was blown out in either loss this season. The Vols won with a field goal that just cleared the crossbar and Saturday, LSU made a two-point conversion to win in overtime.
So, how does Saban get his team ready after a loss? Kiffin should know after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Alabama.
“Well, there weren’t many of them (losses),” Kiffin said.
“There were only two regular season (defeats) in three years and both to Ole Miss. I thought he was phenomenal, you would maybe expect it to be the other way, like he comes in and everything is the end of the world like some coaches do. He does a really good job of addressing exactly what it was — and remember, guys, like Finebaum’s stupid statement. They’ve lost two games by two plays. Both games could go either way. Alabama makes the field goal at Tennessee and two-point (conversion at LSU) gets stopped, then they’re the number one, number two team in the country coming in here. So, we’re talking about two plays, two teams on the road in two of the hardest environments, over 100,000 people for both games to play in, so this is a great team and the best coach to ever do it.”
Kiffin on how Saban rebounds from a loss
Ole Miss and the Tide are set to kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on CBS.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.