Joel Klatt recently reacted to some interesting comments by Nick Saban. Klatt’s conclusion is also noteworthy, though it’s possible he hit the nail on the head when it comes to Alabama’s season-ending loss.

Recently, Saban shared some interesting comments since his retirement. According to the former head coach, a large percentage of the Crimson Tide roster was only worried about how much they would be playing and how much they would be paid in order to avoid the transfer portal entering the 2024 season.

According to Klatt, it illustrates that Alabama was not devoted enough to beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Even with the shifting landscape, college football boils down to devotion.

“I think within Saban’s answer is a picture of why Michigan was able to win the national championship and go 15-0 and maybe other teams weren’t, specifically this year,” said Klatt. “…This sport is still about being selfless and dying to, as an individual, something bigger than yourself. The best teams generally do that.”

If the equation came down to talent, Klatt believes the Wolverines would not have been able to accomplish what they did under Jim Harbaugh:

“I don’t think Michigan should have been able to beat Alabama. Alabama was the more talented team, Georgia was a more talented team. Ohio State was a more talented team. Michigan was just committed more,” Klatt explained. “They were devoted more to the cause, the selfless cause of the team, than anybody else and they won the national championship.”

Will the 2024 national championship boil down to devotion? Things may play out differently in a new 12-team Playoff, but fans can track the latest odds and line movement with SDS’s online sportsbook apps.

There’s some truth in Klatt’s assessment

To be clear, Klatt’s comments are extremely subjective in nature. Does devotion outweigh talent alone? Well, no, and Michigan maintained an extremely talented roster.

Don’t forget the Wolverines broke the record for invitations to the NFL Combine this year, and it’s likely Michigan will set the record for the number of players selected in a single draft. It’s not that Michigan was playing with a bunch of scrubs, it’s that the Wolverines were playing with elite talent that was equally bought in.

So, does that mean Alabama was less bought in? The immediate reaction would be that’s unclear, until you get to Saban’s own comments.

Saban will go down as the GOAT. Undoubtedly, and for a multitude of reasons. And he, as the head coach, realized that lack of devotion in his own program.

This is Alabama we’re talking about. The jewel of the college football world throughout his tenure.

And yet, the roster — per Saban’s own assessment — was more concerned about personal gain. That can fracture a team faster than a lot of people realize.

What is even more confounding is that the monetary question would take care of itself to any player that capitalized on the opportunities in Tuscaloosa. But that’s the nature of the world — or rather beast — we now live in.

By Saban’s own account, his players were focused on some of the wrong things after the loss, and it’s fair to say that focus played a role in the loss to begin with.