This is all so strange, a quick and hard yank of the steering wheel to a barren exit on the superhighway of catch me if you can.

I’m not exactly sure what Alabama coach Nick Saban is trying to say or prove, but I sure know what it sounds like.

An excuse.

The greatest coach in the history of college football — who has built the program everyone measures itself by — is sitting on the floor in a full-blown tantrum because the mean committee took away the Playoff.

Saban joined Fox college football analyst Joel Klatt’s podcast recently and spoke about the 2022 season. Alabama didn’t win its division, much less its conference, but Saban thinks the Tide were robbed.

“When they told me that we would be favored against three out of the four teams that got in the playoff, I’m like, why aren’t we in the playoffs?” Saban said. “Does that mean they have a better team? Or does it mean that those people don’t know what they’re talking about?”

It is here where we return to the classic, tried and true Saban axiom. It’s who he is, and how he was raised by his dad Big Nick Saban — and you better believe if that car isn’t washed and waxed without a spot on it, you’re going to do it again, Nick.

Mediocre people don’t like high achievers, and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.

Guess who just took Exit Zero onto Mediocre Avenue?

To be fair to Saban, Alabama would have been favored over Michigan, Ohio State and TCU. And Georgia may have been a pick ’em.

But — and here’s the key — what message is he sending his team? The coach who practices harder than any other, whose preparation goes deeper and tougher than any Game Week practice in the NFL (his players say this over and over once they get to the NFL), who demands perfection and pukes at the very thought of ordinary, is leaving the door cracked for an excuse.

Because that’s what this tantrum is.

It’s the excuse for Tennessee starting at its own 32 with 15 seconds remaining in a tie game, and driving 45 yards with 2 completions in 2 plays — in 13 seconds! — to get to the Alabama 23 and kick a game-winning field goal.

It’s the excuse for not being prepared for the rub (you say rub, I say pick) play in LSU’s game-winning 2-point attempt. The same play that Clemson used to beat Alabama for the 2016 national championship.

Heck, maybe the Alabama staff knew the pick play was coming after the timeout to reset. Maybe the players on the field simply didn’t execute it.

Whatever the case, someone is making excuses. And that someone has been doing it all offseason.

It was Saban who complained about the new proposed 9-game SEC schedule — after advocating for the very schedule over the past decade. He didn’t like that Alabama’s permanent opponents were Auburn, LSU and Tennessee, and actually had the gall to proclaim Tennessee’s newfound national presence — after the Tide had won the previous 15 games between the teams — as Exhibit A.

The tantrum looks like this: Why does Alabama have to play such difficult permanent opponents, and no one else does?

Well, Auburn had the 2 best teams in college football as its permanent opponents (Georgia, Alabama). Florida has the best team in college football (Georgia), and a program (Oklahoma) that has reached 4 Playoffs while Tennessee was searching for 2 decades to recapture the glory years of the 1990s.

But Saban spoke loud, and because he carries such a big stick, he gave cover to Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas, which would rather have 7 home games than a 9-game schedule. When Saban moved to the 8-game schedule, so did Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas — and the coup was complete.

So was the excuse.

During the SEC spring meetings when it all went down, Saban again took a swipe at other programs in the new and untamed NIL world. He said all the right things about NIL during his time at the podium, and then when pulled aside away from the throng of media, was asked if NIL leads to more parity.

Understand that Saban says nothing without intent. Nothing.

“You think (parity) is here?” Saban said. “I think the way Southern Cal, Texas and Texas A&M are spending money … it hasn’t hit yet. What are you willing to spend?”

What is Alabama willing to spend? Because if you think players are taking less NIL money to sign with Alabama — and Alabama isn’t spending just like everyone else — you’re the same guy who thinks Alabama should have been in the Playoff.

Translation: another excuse.

“If you’re going to have parity,” Saban told Klatt, “you have to have a better way of figuring out who has the best teams, not just because you lose 2 games on the last play of the game. That knocks you out when you may be better than somebody else who didn’t have the same circumstances that they had played.”

The undeniable visual is Saban grabbing the wheel and yanking it to the right, searching for Exit Zero and the excuse for how and why the season ended.

I’ll tell you the how and why: Tennessee and LSU made plays when they had to. Alabama didn’t.

Imagine the stones of not only declaring “why weren’t we in the Playoff?” — but doing so while ignoring that the team Alabama lost to (Tennessee) had the same record and beat the Tide head-to-head.

But you better believe there’s an excuse at the ready for that, too. Tennessee, you see, was blown out by South Carolina.

So the Vols’ loss at South Carolina is worse than Alabama’s last-play loss at LSU, and that, of course, negates the Alabama loss at Tennessee.

Maybe Saban just needs a new axiom, a new standard to refresh the Process that made him the greatest coach in college football, and led to the greatest run by any program in the history of college football.

Something simple, and directly to the point.

High achievers don’t look for excuses.