OXFORD, Miss. (WLOX) - Ole Miss will take the momentum from their first win of the season, an overtime thriller against Kentucky on the road, and will now face the number two team in the country in Alabama.
The main storyline of this weekend’s bout is Lane Kiffin facing off against his former boss Nick Saban. Prior to Kiffin taking the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic, he was the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016, winning a national title in 2015 in the process.
Saturday in Oxford will mark the first time Kiffin and Saban will meet as opponents since 2009, when Kiffin’s Tennessee team nearly upset Alabama who went on to win a national title. In his Monday weekly press conference, Kiffin said he and Saban don’t keep in touch and downplayed any talk of having an edge over the six-time national champion head coach after working with him for a three-year stint.
“I think that’s a storyline, but I know everyone downplays those things, but I don’t think it’s really that big a deal. We worked together for three years, learned a lot from him. Had a great run," Kiffin reminisced about his time in Tuscaloosa. "I think we won 24 or 26 straight games when I was over there. Very productive times with a lot of great players and a lot of great wins. Only two regular season losses were to Ole Miss. Good time and obviously very grateful to him.”
Kiffin said that knowing Saban and how he operates and vice versa with him goes both ways, but added that if “you think working for him gives you an advantage, you’re not a very good gambler” seeing as how he is 20-0 against his former assistants.