Alabama is back in the College Football Playoff, and former Tide cornerback Fernando Bryant says the sport can’t have a real playoff without them.
Alabama was the fourth and final team to get into this year’s playoff and it has a rematch set with Clemson in New Orleans on January 1.
Former three-time all-SEC selection and Alabama alum Bryant was on 1010XL Jax Sports Radio in Jacksonville earlier this week to talk about his alma mater once again being among the nation’s elite.
“You can’t have a playoff without Alabama, at least that’s what we have shown over the past couple years,” Bryant said. “I think they were deserving, but I know there was some controversy about them not winning their division and not winning the SEC. But after last year and Ohio State getting in over Penn State, I think that set the precedent.
“Regardless of what you say about their schedule, you will take an 11-1 Alabama over a two-loss conference champion anytime and I think they are well deserving.”
Bryant, who was a second-team All-SEC selection in both 1996 and 1997, was also named first-team All-SEC in 1998. His career at Alabama got him selected in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he went on to play 10 years in the NFL.
As an Alabama alum, Bryant, like many former Crimson Tide players, can’t say enough about Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
“It’s just unreal,” Bryant said regarding Saban. “Years from now when people look back on this era of Nick Saban, they will say he’s the best to ever do it. Being at Alabama and the legacy of Bear Bryant, to say that the two best coaches in college football history come from Alabama, now that’s saying something.
“The way Saban has recruited and the guys he has coming in and what he does with them when they get there, you can’t match it right now.”
He’s picking the Tide to roll against Dabo Swinney and Clemson on January 1.
“Well, I’m close with Dabo because he was a coach at Alabama when I was there, but Dabo already has his championship, so I hope Alabama beats the brakes off of him,” Bryant said laughing.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)
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