COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- After a one-score victory over unranked Texas A&M on Saturday, Alabama coach Nick Saban complained about the positive media coverage of his top-ranked team, likening it to "rat poison."
"I'm trying to get our players to listen to me instead of you guys," Saban said in comments directed to reporters gathered in the postgame news conference. "All that stuff you write about how good we are? All that stuff they hear on ESPN? It's like poison. Like rat poison."
Saban came into the news conference in a predictably feisty mood after Alabama needed to recover an onside kickoff late in the fourth quarter to seal its 27-19 win over the Aggies at Kyle Field. The Crimson Tide led 24-3 early in the third quarter, seemingly on their way to another blowout victory over an SEC opponent after winning their first two league games by a combined score of 125-3.
But Texas A&M fought back, led by freshman quarterback Kellen Mond and a defense that forced Alabama's first turnover since Nov. 24, 2016 against Auburn, a streak of 36 quarters. The inability to put away the Aggies, Saban said, was a "disappointment," a word he used more than a half-dozen times in his opening remarks to media.
Saban got especially animated when he was asked a question about his offense failing to get a first down on three of its first four possessions, the lone exception being a 75-yard touchdown run by Damien Harris.
"I'm asking them, 'Are you going to listen to me or are you going to listen to these guys about how good you are?' Just like your question right now," Saban said. "We get stopped three out of four times, like that's a bad thing. We're not going to beat everybody 66-3."
On Monday, Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin, who was Saban's offensive coordinator at Alabama the previous three seasons before leaving to coach the Owls, tweeted: