ATLANTA -- Nick Saban gathered his coaches for one final staff meeting before Alabama traveled to Atlanta for the SEC championship game against Florida on Saturday.His message: Ignore the distractions.There were rumors swirling that offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was a candidate for the same position at LSU and that Houston wanted to interview him as a candidate for head coach. Backup quarterback Cooper Bateman had just been granted his release, and starting cornerback Marlon Humphrey wasnt going to be available because of an injured ankle. And all the while, a narrative was building outside the Mal Moore Athletic Facility that Alabama could afford a loss and still make the playoff.It drove Saban mad. He scolded the media early in the week, telling them in no uncertain terms that it was never OK to lose a game.According to Kiffin, Saban advised his coaches to keep the focus on the players and all the work theyd put in during the season. Kiffin recalled Saban saying, What a shame it would be to let Florida take that away, to let them be champs.Because thats all anybody would have talked about, Kiffin said. Nobody would have talked about the first 12 games.Real or imagined, this was the threat Alabama felt heading into the weekend. Winning was about respect. Remaining unbeaten meant no one could deny its No. 1 ranking.The talk about losing being OK was all a setup, an annoyed Ryan Anderson explained.We dont listen to that s---, man, the senior linebacker said.Instead, Alabamas 54-16 win over Florida did all the talking. The defense forced three interceptions, including a pick-six, and allowed a net of zero yards rushing on 30 attempts. Special teams blocked a punt and returned the deflection for a touchdown, and the Tides trio of Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs combined for 214 yards and three touchdowns rushing.From the outside, the outcome was predictable. Alabama did what it had all season in dominating every phase of the game. Come Sunday there would be no debate that Sabans squad would be No. 1 in the playoff rankings.But inside the locker room of the Georgia Dome, the mood was a mix of relief and defiance. Going wire to wire as college footballs No. 1 team wasnt something to celebrate. Instead, it represented a target on everyones back.Sophomore defensive lineman DaRon Payne said that this season was the same old song and dance with everyone waiting on Alabama to fail.Thats always it, he said. They never like to see us on top.The Birmingham native added: Everybody is tired of seeing Bama win.Tim Williams calls Saban the fearless general.There are two types of coaches, Alabamas veteran outside linebacker explained. That players coach and that fearless general. And thats who he is.He just gives us the power to overcome fear.But its not just that. In going 13-0, Alabama has also overcome complacency. Sabans mind games, pushing mottos like Be where your feet are rather than looking ahead, have worked.Remember, this team wasnt always a sure thing. It lost its Heisman Trophy running back, 3,000-yard passer and first-round center from the year before. It saw the heart of its front seven vanish when middle linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive linemen AShawn Robinson and Jarran Reed turned pro.Alabama didnt have the returning team of Clemson on paper, yet it was the consensus preseason No. 1 all the same.We knew we had a target on our backs at the start of the season, really the entire time, cornerback Tony Brown?said. So we knew we had to elevate our game because everyone would play us harder, and thats what we did every week, in the summer and all of that.If there was ever a season to slip up and let the pressure get to them, this was it.Before the season, there were issues off the field with a handful of player arrests, including that of star left tackle Cam Robinson. Alabama didnt make it out of September before Week 1 starting quarterback Blake Barnett left the program. Then, in late October, star safety and team leader Eddie Jackson was lost for the season with a broken leg.Through it all, Alabama didnt flinch.It didnt matter that true freshman?Jalen Hurts had to learn on the job at quarterback or that the secondary had to rearrange itself with Minkah Fitzpatrick changing positions. Instead of a typical Alabama workhorse, the running game became a rotating cast of underclassmen. When Hurts and the offense struggled, the defense and special teams picked up the slack, scoring a ridiculous 13 non-offensive touchdowns.There were close calls at Ole Miss and LSU, but for the most part Alabama dominated. In eight ranked matchups, the Tide won by an average score of 41-16, and the defense didnt give up a touchdown during the month of November.Rather than rest comfortably as No. 1, Saban drilled home the idea that the playoff didnt start on Dec. 31. Rather, he preached, it was every game Alabama played.These guys have been challenged all year long, playoff game after playoff game, Saban said.According to Williams, the only team that could test Alabama was Alabama.Just dont beat ourselves, man, he said. Just trust in the system and the process. ... We just know that Alabama is built on that: grind, grind, grind. Fight, fight, fight on every play, no matter the circumstance.Theres a reason some racehorses wear blinders.Theres no room for distractions. Theres only the next step, nothing but what lies ahead.Its that way at Alabama.Ryan Anderson said there were times this season when he didnt even know whom the Tide were playing that week, that Saban had trained us to live in the moment.Asked what he thought of going undefeated, Anderson went blank.It was the same story when he was asked what going wire to wire as the No. 1-ranked team meant.We dominated the season we just finished, he said. We have a whole nother season now. Well celebrate tonight. But it is what it is.We didnt come this far just to participate.On Sunday morning, there was no watch party at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility. There was no spontaneous celebration. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt walked in at 6:15 a.m. to get to work. Players came in around 2 p.m., well after the semifinal pairings were announced.The next nameless, faceless opponent for Alabama to dominate: No. 4 Washington on Dec. 31 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.Huskies coach Chris Peterson said he didnt even have to turn on film to see what Sabans team was about.It wasnt his idea to hold up a We want Bama sign in the background of ESPNs College GameDay set earlier in the season.Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, Peterson said.With a month to prepare, it will be interesting to see what Peterson and his coaches come up with to try to stop the Tide.The SEC proved no match for Sabans squad. USC, which proved to be a Rose Bowl-caliber team, had its doors blown off by Alabama in the season opener, setting the tone for the rest of the season.If youre looking for a game plan to knock off the No. 1 team in college football, good luck.Williams advice?Bring your heart, man, he said. Because everyone on our team has heart. Like Coach Saban says, we have some hateful players, some competitors.He added: We know everybody wants to beat us. Were the No. 1 team, undefeated, have all these accolades going for us. So were going to get every teams best. Xavier Munford Jersey . Thats not a comment on the suspension that banished the Portland Winterhawks general manager and coach from his Western Hockey League teams bench for most of the 2012-13 season. John Henson Jersey . 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Cheap Swingman Bucks Jerseys .Y. -- Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers had no intention of changing his hard-hitting style before taking part in a disciplinary hearing for his illegal check to New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus head. As the 2016 season nears, were asking our NFL Insiders to make some predictions. On Monday, we touched on 2016 award winners. We devoted Tuesday to the rookies.For today, lets dive into all things overrated and underrated: the players we should be talking more about, the teams who are getting too much hype and much more.Whos the best offensive player no one is talking about?Matt Bowen, NFL writer:?Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks. Baldwin caught 14 touchdowns in 2015. And he took over the league during the second half of the season. That doesnt happen by mistake.John Clayton, senior NFL writer:?Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints. Rememmber: Cooks plays in an offense that can gain 5,000 yards through the air.dddddddddddd He will easily exceed his 1,138 receiving yards from last season.Mike Sando, senior NFL writer:?Terron Armstead, LT, Saints. Armstead is one of the more talented left tackles, but ESPN had him as only the 21st-rated offensive lineman in its recent #NFLRank project. Armstead did not crack the top 100 overall. Hes better than that already and should emerge as a top-tier left tackle (health permitting) in 2016. ' ' '