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Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban wears the leather helmet following the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against the Miami Hurricanes, Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels reacts during the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Baylor Bears at the Caesars Superdome
Left: Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Right: Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Before Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban won any national championships or SEC championships at LSU and Alabama, he played defensive back at Kent State University. A young Saban even helped the Golden Flashes win the MAC Conference for the first time in 1972.

That being said, the 70-year-old grandfather is in no shape to put the pads on and try to cover a wide receiver. Don’t get me wrong. His wife still makes him jog on the treadmill and he can dance a mean “Cupid Shuffle,” but the guy had a freaking hip replacement, for crying out loud.

Lane Kiffin doesn’t care. Leading up to Alabama’s 2020 matchup against the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi, he called out the coach he formerly served as offensive coordinator.

Kiffin Calls Out “Elderly” Saban

RELATED: Lane Kiffin?s Impression of Nick Saban Cracked Everyone Up

That’s Kiffin, who is 47, telling Dan Patrick on his radio show that a man 28 years older than he is, can’t cover him. This is why I love the SEC and am so excited for Kiffin to be a part of the SEC West.

“I don’t play and he doesn’t play. We’d have better chances if that was the case. I don’t think he can cover me,” Saban told Patrick. “I was talking to him the other day I’m really worried about coach. He’s elderly.”

Well, Kiffin is very correct. ‘Bama opened at 24-point favorites against Ole Miss. Kiffin is also much younger and briefly played quarterback at Fresno State University.

Don’t think Saban didn’t have an answer for that.

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Saban’s Response to Kiffin’s Ageist Comments

Thank you to whoever asked Saban this question at his mid-week press conference, because it needed a response.

“I think he’s probably right. I wouldn’t disagree with him. I guess what I would ask is when he’s my age what’s he gonna be like?” Saban said as he cracked a smile. “It’s a little bit of a disadvantage to be my age and have had a hip replacement, but I still pride myself in my ability to cover. I just don’t think I could cover him.”

This whole ordeal is hilarious and figures to be a main talking point during their matchup.  expect any surprises, though, because Saban previously improved to 20-0 against former assistants after beating Jimbo Fisher‘s Texas A&M Aggies in the season warped by COVID-19.

The Final Battle: The Only Thing That Really Counts

DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide pulls in this reception against Jaylon Jones #31 of the Mississippi Rebels
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So what happened during the game? Well, Alabama fans can answer this one pretty easily considering the 2020 Crimson Tide went undefeated in 2020, on their way to a National Championship title. Saban’s squad hung 68 points against Kiffin’s Rebels, who did manage to score 48 of their own.

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The stat sheet for this game is also hysterical. Both quarterbacks, Alabama’s Mac Jones and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, threw for over 365 yards, with Jones tossing 417 total on the day. Ole Mis wideouts Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah amassed over 320 yards of offense through the air, while their Alabama counterparts, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, hauled in 280 yards on 19 catches.

The offensive explosion didn’t stop in the air. On the ground, Alabama’s fleet-footed phenom, Najee Harris, rushed for over 200 yards and FIVE touchdowns against the Ole Miss defense. Alabama had difficulty stopping Ole Miss’ ground attack as Jarod Conner and Jarrion Ealy put up a combines 248 yards, with both rushers eclipsing the century mark.

I know what you’re thinking. Where there any defensive players playing in this game? Did Ole Miss and Alabama agree to field Pop Warner defenses just for one day?

Ole Miss would then go on a three-game losing-streak, finally stopping their skids against Vanderbilt, which is Vandy’s only real purpose in the SEC. Lane Kiffin’s first season wouldn’t recover as the Rebels finished the season 5-5 in his first season as head coach. Alabama’s 63 points would be the most Ole Miss would surrender all year.

It’s All Water Under the Bridge… For Now

Head coach Nick Saban (L) of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hands with head coach Lane Kiffin (R) of the Tennessee Volunteers after the Crimson Tide's 12-10 win
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Saban and Kiffin’s college football and NFL coaching careers (and personalities) are quite different. Saban’s stops included Michigan State, LSU and the Miami Dolphins. Kiffin spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, USC Trojans, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers, Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida Atlantic Owls before earning becoming the Ole Miss coach.

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Fans in Tuscaloosa certainly remember Saban’s sideline blow-up on Kiffin against Western Kentucky years ago. Kiffin’s “rat poison” comments gave NCAA fans a good chuckle as well.

What if they settled their differences by guarding each other? I think just about any route Kiffin runs against the Alabama coach results in a touchdown, personally. I’m not sure social media is ready for that.

But then again we’ll find out in 2022, when Alabama and Ole Miss face off on November 12, 2022.

This article was originally published on October 8, 2020, and has been updated since. 

MORE: Amari Cooper?s 99-Yard Catch Historically Embarrassed Auburn

Patrick covered the Florida Gators during the forgettable Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras before spending two seasons writing for Major League Baseball. He's an SEC homer and a baseball junkie who spends his days defending the Miami Marlins. When he's not glued to a TV, you can find him ...Read more
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