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Lane Kiffin would love to play Bama but would feel sorry for FAU’s players

It’s an appropriately nuanced take.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Florida Atlantic Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Lane Kiffin would very much like Bama, he said after his FAU Owls won the Conference USA title game and entrenched Kiffin as a Coach of the Year candidate on Saturday.

But there is a catch.

“Did you hear our fans at the end of the game?” Kiffin said in an exchange with a reporter. “I bet you didn’t. Did you hear what they were saying? We want Bama. That’s what they were saying. And I was like, ‘No, not so fast. You ain’t ready for that yet.’”

The reporter followed up: Kiffin did not, in fact, want Bama, then?

“Oh, I would love to play Bama,” the coach answered. “I would. I’d feel sorry for our players, but I’d like it.”

Kiffin was Bama’s offensive coordinator for the last three seasons before this one. He helped the Tide win 2015’s national title before departing in the middle of the team’s Playoff run last winter. Kiffin’s departure was sudden, though he’d already accepted the head coaching job in Boca Raton. (Dramatic exits are a Kiffin thing.)

Kiffin’s occasionally tweaked the Tide on Twitter this year. He’s tweeted a few times about “rat poison,” a Nick Saban metaphor for media hype around Alabama.