Alabama lost a heartbreaker to Clemson for the national title, and it’s only fair to question Nick Saban’s move in replacing offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin with Steve Sarkisian one week before the big game.
Sarkisian, of course, thinks the loss had nothing to do with Lane Kiffin:
“I really don’t think the transition had that much of an impact. The week of practice went really well. I wish we would have played a little better. I wished I could have called a better game and helped us to not be in the position we were in late.”
Desmond Howard feels the same way
Lane Kiffin's absence isn't why Alabama lost. Their defense gave up a TD when they absolutely could not afford to.
— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) January 10, 2017
I think the players handled it very well. We scored 31 points in the game, which I think was pretty good against a pretty good defense that actually shut out Ohio State last week. I think we had some drops. I think we had some tipped balls. I think there was things that we could have done better. But I thought the preparation was good. I thought the organization was good, and I thought we gave our players a chance in this game to have success.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach says it’s the biggest “woulda, coulda, shoulda of Saban’s illustrious career, and it was one of the most stunning moves in what has been a “process” built on thoughtful, calculated decisions.” But he ultimately concludes:
While the decision to go with Sarkisian, who already had been named Kiffin’s successor for next season, didn’t result in a victory over Clemson, it was still the right move.
Twitter poked fun at the situation:
Alabama is winless in the Steve Sarkisian era.
— Seattle Sportsnet (@alexSSN) January 10, 2017
LIVE LOOK IN at Lane Kiffin pic.twitter.com/uX3vmlp7VF
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 10, 2017
Lane Kiffin calling Nick Saban tonight pic.twitter.com/Mn5OT7peG7
— Chris Jackson (@ChrisCJackson) January 10, 2017
Sabermetric stat of the night:
Bama in 2016-17 with Lane Kiffin: 14-0
Bama in 2016-17 without Lane Kiffin: 0-1@PardonMyTake
— Pretti (@prettiwap) January 10, 2017
Lane Kiffin in his living room right now pic.twitter.com/gPKdmoqt24
— Shooter McGavin (@ShooterMcGavin_) January 10, 2017
— Rick Stewart (@CoachRikStewart) January 10, 2017
In fairness, Kiffin appeared to be pulling for the Tide (although, it’s hard to take anyone seriously in sweatpants):
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) January 10, 2017
What do you think? Would Alabama have won the title if it had kept Kiffin as its offensive coordinator for another week?