Lane Kiffin thinks he could have helped lift Alabama over Clemson in the national championship game to end last season.
Speaking to The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, the former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator opened up about his thoughts after Alabama lost to the Tigers 35-31 in a dramatic title game in Tampa in January. When asked if he thinks the Crimson Tide would have beaten Clemson if Alabama coach Nick Saban wouldn’t have removed him as offensive coordinator and allowed Steve Sarkisian to hold the role, Kiffin had a simple answer.
“I do,” the Florida Atlantic coach told Kilgore. “It’s no disrespect to Steve. No matter who it was, you’ve been there all year long. You’ve been there for the quarterback. You’re all he knew. You were undefeated together.”
Kiffin went on to say that he might have had a different answer if Clemson had won by at least two touchdowns. But given how tightly contested that title game became, you can’t fault Kiffin for wondering, “What if?”
Of course, time has moved on, and Alabama is in Kiffin’s rear-view mirror. But it’s easy for him to look back in this way and wonder.