Nick Saban and Urban Meyer saw their teams both face a bit of adversity in 2014, yet here they are just two games away from a national title.
But ask Saban and he'll tell you his team has been in playoff mode for a while.
"This is the only game that matters," Saban said, "We played 13 games and since the Ole Miss game, we've sort of been in a playoff of our kind. We were always one negative experience away from being out of the mix relative to getting in the college football playoff. Now that we're in the playoff, the circumstance is really no different, so everything is about this game."
At Alabama Media Day on Tuesday, Saban told a story about his head coaching days at Bowling Green in the late 80's. Nick's wife, Terry, answered a phone call from a bright and charming young man who was looking to looking for an assistant job. Terry urged Nick to call the man back, but things came up, Saban got busy and never returned that phone call.
As it turns out, it was Urban Meyer who was on the other line and on Thursday night he'll be on the other sideline coaching against Saban for the right to go to the National Championship Game.
Even though he was never a part of the Saban coaching tree, Meyer was asked if it's maybe just a little too early to talk about Saban's place among the all-time greats.
"I don't think it's too early," Meyer said. "He's won a bunch of national championships. Very consistent winner at several different schools. I think obviously he's one of the great coaches in the history of college football."
With six national titles between them, either Saban or Meyer is going to have a chance to add to their legacy after Thursday night.