For the first time since 2013, Alabama will not have a chance to play for the national championship.

The Crimson Tide made the College Football Playoff every year of its existence from 2014-18 and played in the CFP Final every year from 2015-18. This year, Alabama is playing in the Citrus Bowl, the first non-BCS or New Year’s Six Bowl for the Crimson Tide since 2010.

Heading into the game, there have been some questions about the motivation factor for Nick Saban’s team. With a roster full of potential NFL talent, some have wondered if a number of players would sit out the game without the chance to play for a championship.

During his Monday press conference, Saban said he is actually pleased with the attitude the team showed in preparation:

“The attitude was good today, the energy was good today,” Saban said. “The last two times we were in this situation, whether it was to play Utah or to play Oklahoma, the other team sure had more to prove in the game than we did and the result certainly showed it. So hopefully we can learn something from those experiences as well.”

He also went on to say he believes in his team and players and the leadership on the team. Following the Iron Bowl loss to Auburn, he expects the team to be disappointed and try to play well against Michigan:

“I don’t think anybody’s happy with the Iron Bowl, I think everybody’s really disappointed,” Saban said. “It’s OK to be disappointed. I believe in the team, I believe in the players. I believe in the leadership on this team. I believe this team has had a lot to overcome, and it continues to grow with what they’ve had to overcome and we’re going to coach the guys that want to play in the game and have a great attitude about playing in the game and that’s who we’re going to play in the game.”

Alabama will have plenty of talent on the field, but the Crimson Tide will be without two key defenders for the game. Hopefully, Michigan can come out hot and make a statement against a premier SEC opponent.