Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Retires

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A little more than a week ago, Alabama head coach Nick Saban had his Crimson Tide in overtime against Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinals. Today, he is retired.

The college football coaching legend announced his decision to leave Alabama and the sport on Wednesday to shocked fans across the country. And as Alabama fans began to wonder what this would mean for them, college football betting sites across the country began to answer that question, dropping Alabama’s odds to win next year’s national championship.

On Wednesday, BetUS.com was paying +600 on Alabama to win another national title next year. When the Saban retirement news first hit, some sportsbooks dropped their odds to as low as +1500. They have now stabilized at around +1000, depending on the book.

Not only will Alabama be without Saban on the sideline next year, some of his recent recruits have decided to test the waters. Ryan Williams is a five-star wide receiver recruit in the 2024 class, and he immediately decommitted from Alabama upon hearing the Saban news. Williams says that he is now interested in visiting Texas A&M, since that is where his Alabama wide receivers coach, Holmon Wiggins, is the new offensive coordinator.

Is Saban the Best Ever?

In 2023, there were 19 FBS head coaching changes, so teams and players are used to going down this road. But no change will be bigger than the change at the premiere college football program in the country.

In his 17 seasons at Alabama, Saban won at least 10 games in 16 of them. He was an SEC champion 11 times, and in his final 16 seasons, he never finished the year outside of the AP Top 10, and his seven National Championships (six at Alabama) is the most in college football history.

Four of Saban’s players won the Heisman Trophy, and 49 times he had a player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Saban briefly flirted with the NFL, coaching two years with the Miami Dolphins after his five years at LSU. But leaving the Dolphins and returning to college football in 2007 was clearly the right choice. 

Saban’s Replacement

In the 24 seasons between Paul “Bear” Bryant and Nick Saban, Alabama had six different head coaches and just three SEC championships. So longtime fans of the program understand that replacing a legend is not easy. No doubt the coaching candidates also understand the expectations that come with taking over the most successful program in the country, and many of them might not want it.

But even as it’s hard to predict which coaches would want the job and who Alabama might hire, college football bettors can already place their wagers.

The early betting favorite is Oregon head coach Dan Lanning at +200. The former Georgia defensive coordinator is 22-5 in his two seasons as the head coach in Eugene.

Lane Kiffin is at +400, and he is a former offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Alabama. He’s been a college head coach at Tennessee, USC, Florida Atlantic, and Mississippi the last four years. 

Dabo Swinney (+500) is a two-time National Champion as the Clemson head coach, and he is a former assistant at Alabama. Kalen DeBoer just led Washington to the College Football Playoff Finals, and he is paying +600. And Deion Sanders, aka Coach Prime, who won just four games in his first season at Colorado, is at +900 to be the next head coach at Alabama.

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