Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to a former Saban assistant for the first time this year, falling at Texas A&M 41-38 on Oct. 9.

Since then, the Tide have rattled off 7-straight wins, claiming the SEC title and earning the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff.

So, what changed after the loss to the Aggies? On Sunday, Saban said it comes down to how you deal with success. He added that it is important to respect winning and how difficult it is (via 247Sports):

“I think that one of the most difficult things to do is probably deal with success. I think most of the time when you have a negative thunderbolt, people are much more willing to respond and do the things that you’ve been trying to get them to do to the standard that you’ve been trying to get them to do it. And I think we won something like 19 games in a row. I think that happened one other time where we won that many games in a row and had a very similar loss at South Carolina, where the other team really played well and we weren’t up to the task, and I think there were a lot of lessons learned in that.

“I think sometimes when you win, you lose respect for winning. But really what you lose respect for is what it takes to win, what it takes to prepare to win and to respect the challenges that the other team certainly brings so that you can go out and play well from start to finish, which is what you need to do on a consistent basis when you play against good teams, especially in difficult environments to play in. And that was certainly a difficult environment to play in.

“So I think we matured some as a team. I think we gained a little respect for what it takes to be successful, and I think our players have done a little bit better job of trying to create the right habits so that they could play with consistency and performance, which sort of defines success, and they had to overcome a lot of adversity to be here. We surely didn’t get it done that night, but I’m kind of proud of the way they responded and what they’ve been able to do to get here.”

That’s a very well-thought-out answer, much different than the coachspeak many answers from coaches consist of.

Now, the Tide are playing their best football of the year. Will it be enough to get them past Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Eve?