football Edit

Nick Saban warns of "rat poison" before matchup with Texas A&M

 Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts to a call in the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama won 49-26. Photo | Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts to a call in the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama won 49-26. Photo | Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban's rants take on a life of their own.

When the 16-year head coach starts tapping his lectern and his face turns a darker shade of red, a visible change in his demeanor occurs, which has yielded some explosive responses at the expense of the reporters over the years.

While there is now a catalog on YouTube of his explosive responses, a trend has ensued where you can almost time when the rant is going to happen and while they won't carry over from day-to-day, Saban will get his point across by any means necessary.

One of those topics that elicits an electric response from Saban is the notion of "rat poison." The phrase that was born in the visiting press conference room at Kyle Field, has become a yearly catchphrase. On Monday, the phrase resurfaced against the team it will be forever linked to — Texas A&M.

"I was talking about rat poison last year we played this game nobody would listen to players would listen, y'all didn't listen," Saban said. That last week before we were big favorites, it was like no big deal. To show up for this game. Go play the next game. And I don't get affected by it because I don't listen to you all. I really don't have any interest in what anybody thinks about any of this stuff. I do have an interest in how it affects and impacts the players on our team and I think it does.

"I think they have to show maturity and how they manage it and know that external opinion external noise whatever you want to call it, rat poison, whatever it is, absolutely has nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Just like fans have nothing to do with the outcome of the game. They don't block. They don't tackle, they don't catch passes. They don't make sacks. All they do is make noise and if you want to take them out of the game is play well, execute, and then they won't be there — they'll leave."

Last season, Alabama traveled to College Station where they were favored by 18 points facing a Texas A&M team that had lost two of its prior three contests before hosting the Crimson Tide.

Alabama would go on to lose the game 41-38 in Kyle Field, spurned on by an electric offensive performance by the Aggies.

Saban and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher followed that game up with some fireworks of their own when Saban claimed that Fisher and his staff "bought every player" in its top-ranked recruiting class with name, image and likeness deals.

The two-month-long spat was put to rest at SEC Media Days in July when both coaches settled their differences, but it put a giant target around this week's game between the two schools.

Couple that with CBS making the matchup the primetime game of the week, which further confirms how much of a stir these two programs have kicked up over the past year, and how it has piqued the interest of college football fans from across the country.

Alabama opened as 23.5-point favorites, according to Vegas Insider, which only fueled Saban's explosive remarks on Monday.

"These are external factors that cannot affect how you think as a competitor, in terms of respecting winning, respecting what you have to do to win and how important that is," Saban said. "Knowing that we're going to get the other team's best game because they can all get well beating us. That's how I try to handle it. Does anybody listen? Sometimes (and) Sometimes not."