Less than 48 hours after the College Football National Championship, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban (72) has formally announced his retirement after 17 seasons with the Crimson Tide. Saban is arguably the best coach in college football history with an unimpeachable 297-71-1 record. He won seven national championships — six with Alabama and one with LSU — and 19 bowl games over the course of a 28 season career. No coach has won more national titles in the poll era of college football.
Nick Saban is retiring, sources tell ESPN. He won six national titles at Alabama.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) January 10, 2024
In November, Saban said “I’ve always said that if you’re thinking about retirement, you’re probably already retired, and I’m not there yet.” Saban led Alabama to the CFP Semi Final in the Rose Bowl, where they suffered a 27-20 overtime loss to Michigan, the eventual national champions. Alabama had been seen as one of the early favorites for the 2024 championship, but their odds have changed dramatically without Saban.
Odds Markets React
As Saban’s retirement reverberated through the college football landscape, the odds markets were quick to react to the major development. Alabama’s national championship odds had been priced as low as +550, and the odds dropped as low as +1200 in the wake of the bombshell report. The new odds for the 2024 title are after some buyback on the Crimson Tide.
Meanwhile, the odds of other teams in the championship picture will change as a result of this news. Georgia has shortened to as low as +250 to win the 2024 national championship and will presumably be heavily favored to win the SEC. The odds markets will continue to react and shift, especially as we find out who Saban’s replacement will be.
With Saban moving on after an incredible career at Alabama, the Crimson Tide must have a contingency plan in place for who their next head coach will be. It’s difficult to imagine Saban retiring without a clear idea of who his successor will be. Let’s break down some of the top options for Alabama’s next head coach.
Dan Lanning: Currently the Oregon head coach, Dan Lanning has led the Ducks to a 22-5 record across his two seasons. Lanning has an SEC background, and he was Georgia’s defensive coordinator before heading to Oregon. He was also previously a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2015.
Lanning has a strong understanding of the mechanics of SEC football and has proven to be a successful recruiter on a national level – Oregon has the 6th-ranked recruiting class in the country this year per 247. Lanning orchestrated the Georgia defense that beat Alabama in the national championship game in 2021.
While Lanning has a buyout of $20 million, that’s not a real barrier for Alabama and it sounds like he’s the leading candidate to replace Saban at this time.
Lane Kiffin: Could the Lane Train be heading to Tuscaloosa? Lane Kiffin has Ole Miss in a strong position to compete in 2024 with the return of several key players and the top-ranked transfer class in the country per 247. But what if his eyes are set on something bigger?
Kiffin was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama under Saban from 2014-2016. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2014 and has proven success as a coach at the collegiate and professional levels since 1997.
DeMeco Ryans: In his first season as the Houston Texans’ head coach, DeMeco Ryans has his team hosting a playoff game on Saturday. C.J. Stroud looks like a franchise quarterback and the roster is loaded with young talent. Would Ryans walk away from that?
Ryans was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a Unanimous All-American at Alabama in 2005 before having a very successful NFL career. A return to his alma mater would almost certainly mean a bump in salary from his current contract that pays just under $5 million a year with the Texans.