Alabama head coach Nick Saban looks on during media day...

Alabama head coach Nick Saban looks on during media day for the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. Alabama is slated to square off against Ohio State on New Year's Day. Credit: AP / Brynn Anderson

For the past few years, Alabama coach Nick Saban staunchly has rebuffed all speculation about his desire to return to the NFL, and in the wake of Jets owner Woody Johnson's decision to clean house by firing general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan, Saban's stance remained steadfast Tuesday.

Responding to a Newsday query about whether he would consider a move to the NFL if he received full control of an organization, Saban said: "Let's start with the fact that I'm not really interested in any situation in the NFL. Rex Ryan is a great friend of mine, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. We're hopeful that he gets an opportunity . . . We have a tremendous amount of respect for the New York Jets."

Saban, 63, is at a point where he might feel the NFL ship has sailed, especially after all he has accomplished since ending his two-year stint with the Dolphins (2005-06) with a 15-17 record.

"I think sometimes you've got to pick what you want your legacy to be," said Saban, who has won three national titles at Alabama and makes $6.9 million per year. "We're extremely happy with being a college coach."

Conference pride?

While most from Ohio State downplayed the significance of trying to win one for the Big Ten and put a dent in SEC supremacy, Buckeyes defensive end Joey Bosa said: "I think it's huge because the SEC has been looked at as the top conference for so long now. If we could take down a team like Alabama, it would be huge . . . I can definitely sense it around the team. People are out to prove a point."

Sugar not sweet last year

Alabama safety Landon Collins admitted his teammates were disinterested in last season's 45-31 Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma after losing to Auburn in the regular-season finale and missing a shot to defend their 2012 national title. "We didn't want to be in the Sugar Bowl," Collins said. "We wanted to be in the SEC championship and then playing for the national championship."

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