Nick Saban wants no part of any conversation about Alabama football losing the SEC Championship Game.
The Crimson Tide are heading back to Atlanta for the third straight year for a date with Florida on Saturday. Alabama is 12-0 and has been the No. 1 team in the country all season. With other teams struggling around the country, the Crimson Tide are a clear favorite to win the national championship.
There's been talk of Alabama still being able to make the playoff even if the Tide lose to Florida on Saturday.
Saban doesn't want his players or anyone around the team thinking it's OK to drop the SEC title game.
"That's certainly not the mindset that we want," Saban said. "This is a big game for us, it's an opportunity to win the SEC championship, which to me is a very, very significant accomplishment. We hold that in very high esteem, having the opportunity to do that, having the ability to do it, having the ability to play for it."
Alabama has a chance to become the first team to win three straight SEC championships since Florida won four from 1993 to 1996. Alabama has made the College Football Playoff in both years with a loss. Alabama has lost a game in three of its four national championship seasons.
"You all want to put everything on the playoffs, man. That's all you care about," Saban said. "You don't care about bowl games, you don't care about any teams in the country that aren't in the playoffs. I don't know. If we don't win this game, maybe we throw a stink bomb out there, maybe we don't get in the playoffs. I don't know. You guys have all the answers to that, but I don't.
"All I know is that if we play and we play well, we control our destiny in terms of what we do. So I'd really rather not have any more questions about 'Is it OK to lose this game?' It's never OK to lose a game."
Kickoff for the SEC Championship Game is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on CBS. Alabama's players are locked into Saban's way of thinking as well.
"You don't ever want to lose really," Alabama tight end O.J. Howard said. "You don't want to have to let the season to come down to the committee choosing what your stakes are. We just have to take care of business on the field ourselves and we can control our destiny."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
--WR ArDarius Stewart caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown against Auburn.
--LT Cam Robinson posted a grade of 89 percent and recorded a team-high five knockdown blocks against Auburn.
--LB Shaun Dion Hamilton recorded a team-high eight tackles to go along with his first career interception.
--DL Jonathan Allen finished with six total tackles, including two tackles for loss against Auburn.