Nick Saban is fond of saying he pays the media no attention.
However, the Alabama coach went on a spectacular rant with reporters on Monday that made it obvious he heard very clearly the tone of reporting that came out of the Crimson Tide's 43-37 home loss to Ole Miss last month.
"It really doesn't matter what you think. It really doesn't matter what you say. I'm hoping that nobody on our team is playing for you. I hope they're playing for each other, and their team, and what they want to accomplish, and not what you think. Because that's not, certainly, what I'm doing," Saban said. "... it's not going to be for you. The fans? Yes. Because if it was up to you, we're six feet under already. We're dead, buried and gone. Gone! So if that was the case, we'd have to get respirators or something down there to put life back in people."
The Ole Miss loss put Alabama in an 0-1 hole in SEC play and raised serious doubts about whether the Crimson Tide can rebound well enough to win the SEC West, and perhaps get back in the national-championship race. Both tasks could require seven straight SEC wins, along with two losses by the Rebels.
As daunting a challenge as that remains, Saban was in not-so-rare form Monday, and it must be seen to be fully appreciated:
After a 38-10 road win over previously unbeaten Georgia on Saturday, it's not surprising that Saban is riding high this week. Alabama made its way back into the top 10 of The Associated Press Poll with the victory, and it's the first one-loss team this season to do so.
No, Alabama isn't buried. It was similarly dismissed a year ago when it lost to Ole Miss, and recovered to win the SEC and a spot in the College Football Playoff. But with tough games still ahead against the likes of Texas A&M (Oct. 17) and LSU (Nov. 7), it will be a shovel-ready job for as long as it takes the Crimson Tide to reach the top of its division again.