ATLANTA — Nick Saban smiles after all.
The Alabama head coach caught a good laugh with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney during Thursday’s coaches press conference in Atlanta as the four coaches previewed the College Football Playoff Semifinal Games.
Clemson, the top seed, will play No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, while No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia will play in the Rose Bowl.
The two coaches, who have played each other in the last two national championship games, shared a laugh after a reporter asked Swinney why he voted Ohio State No. 4 in his final poll for the Amway Coaches Poll.
Swinney attempted to play it off as a joke, but was also serious on why he voted the Crimson Tide No. 5.
“It was three in the morning on a bus ride home from Charlotte, a moment of insanity, complete insanity (smiling),” Swinney said. “No, just coming home. Literally it was three in the morning. Man, I got to do this poll.
“Looking at it, you know, they won eleven games. Alabama won eleven games. They won the Big Ten championship. Obviously, the committee has a lot of things to look at, a lot of data. They’re going to pick the four best teams however they see it.
“At that moment, that’s the way I voted. They’re all great teams, man.”
Saban interrupted and was quick to respond.
“He was just disrespecting his alma mater, that’s all,” he said smiling.
Swinney was quick to come back, “I’m trying to get rid of him, but I can’t shake him (laughter).”