FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Alabama is the only team that has made the College Football Playoff in every year of its existence. That’s five years in a row now. The Crimson Tide won it all in two of those years, this one still pending.

Nick Saban has been coaching at UA since 2007 and led the program to five national championship titles. The key to his continuous success is often questioned.

“We sometimes use the analogy of every season is like climbing a mountain,” Saban said Friday at the Orange Bowl semifinal’s final head coaches news conference. “Obviously when you get in a situation like we’re in now, both teams, it gets a little more treacherous at the top in terms of the consequences of mistakes and things that can happen. But when next season starts, you kind of push the boulder up the hill or up the mountain this year, but next year it starts all over.”

Second-year Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley would call that mentality Saban’s “formula for winning.” It’s different for every team. His has placed OU in the middle of its third CFP  run.

Clemson has had the second-most appearances with four. It’s set up to play Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, the same day Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. All of this year’s CFP teams are repeats besides Notre Dame.

Yet none of that matters since it’s in the past.

“Just don’t look back,” Saban said “Always look ahead.”


Anyone on social media who goes by the name of Nick Saban is in fact not Nick Saban. He made it clear he has not joined any platform, nor does he have any intentions of doing so.

“You know, I’m a little older than a lot of you folks in here,” said Saban, who is 67 years old. “And we’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time. … I really don’t email. I don’t have Twitter, don’t have any social media type stuff, which I think is a great way to communicate. I just like to make it a little more personal.”

When Saban needs to get ahold of someone he picks up the phone and calls them. That includes players. No miscommunication that way.

“I hate it when somebody said, I texted him to be here at 9:30 but he’s not here,” Saban said. “And I’m saying, why didn’t you just talk to him? Why didn’t you just tell him to be here at 9:30? How do you know he even got the text? Did he respond?

“So I guess I’m a little old-fashioned, but works OK for us.”