January 2 represents uncharted territory for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
Because for the second time since the inception of the College Football Playoffs, Alabama finds itself outside the top four.
Considering the number of NFL-level talent running through Tide’s roster, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see a wave of removals from the team’s draft-eligible stars. Will Anderson, Bryce Young and Brian Branch all plan to be first-round selections.
Still, all three plan to play Bowl of ‘Bama, the 2022 Sugar Bowl. In fact, Saban told reporters he didn’t expect any of the Crimson Tide players to retire. Game.
It’s a curious choice, especially compared to that of other big prospects. But it’s one that Anderson, Young, Branch and their other draft-eligible teammates are comfortable doing.
Young explained his decision simply, indicating he didn’t want to pass up the chance to take the field with his Alabama teammates one last time.
“I have another chance to be a leader and play with my brothers, and that’s not something I can pass up,” Young said Dec. 19.
Anderson made similar remarks, saying he is a football lover and would feel “bad” for him to sit at home to watch the game.
“When you love football, you also have this competitor who is part of it,” Anderson said. “And me just being at home and training and sitting down to watch the game, I would feel so bad or I wouldn’t feel good about myself – like it was just the competitor in me. »
Young and Anderson are the No. 1 and No. 2 predicted overall picks in SN’s final mock Vinnie Iyer draft in 2023.
Per Young, the Tides are hoping to silence doubters with a tell-all display in the Sugar Bowl.
“We have a lot to prove,” he said. “We have a lot to show that we should have a shot at making the playoffs. We’re going to take this opportunity and go out there and make the most of it. »