FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Discover BCS National Championship stage has a homey feel to it for Alabama’s Nick Saban.
He’s going for his fourth national title in the last 10 years, counting the ring he won at LSU in 2003.
Every year he’s been here, he’s learned a little more about preparing for this game, and in particular, managing the long layoff.
There is no magic formula.
“Trying to get the kids to focus on what they need to do to play well rather than getting soaked up in the magnitude of the consequences of the game is the biggest challenge,” Saban said.
“There’s so much hype around it. It’s so easy to kind of become caught up in the whole dynamic of the importance of the game rather than focusing on what you need to do to play well. It’s always one of the things that concerns you the most.”
Junior linebacker C.J. Mosley said what has enabled Alabama to play so well in championship games under Saban is the way the Tide prepare so meticulously, yet go about their business the same way they would for a regular-season game.
Since losing to Florida in the 2008 SEC championship game, Alabama is 4-0 in championship games -- SEC title in 2009, national title in 2009, national title in 2011 and SEC title in 2012.
“We have our system down and don’t change,” Mosley said. “Nobody makes the game bigger than it is.”
Saban’s message to his players also doesn’t change.
“I always tell them, ‘I don’t want you thinking about winning a national championship. I want you thinking about what you have to do to dominate the guy you’re playing against for 60 minutes in the game and assume that that’s the best player you’ve ever played against,’” Saban said.