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    Next Alabama football coach odds: Dan Lanning, Lane Kiffin, James Franklin, Dabo Swinney lead favorites to replace retiring Nick Saban

    Nick Saban stunned the college football world on Wednesday by retiring.
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    Wednesday was quite a day for football news, as we learned in the NFL of the departure of Seattle's Pete Carroll and that Chicago's Matt Eberflus is staying. But that was all trumped in the evening when arguably the greatest college football coach ever, seven-time national champion Nick Saban, sent shockwaves through college football by announcing his retirement. SportsLine offers odds on his replacement.

    One quick aside: Some sportsbooks have shifted Alabama's odds to win the new 12-team College Football Playoff next season and some have not. DraftKings now has the Crimson Tide as +800 third-favorites behind Georgia (+425) and Ohio State (+700), while FanDuel now has Alabama as a +1000 fourth-favorite behind Georgia (+300), Ohio State (+700) and Texas (+750).

    If a bunch of 2024 recruits decommit now – five-star receiver Ryan Williams did after the news emerged Wednesday; he didn't sign in the early period – and players enter the portal, obviously those futures could change more. FanDuel has already posted an Alabama over/under win total of 9.5. The Tide won seven games in Saban's first season and at least 10 every year after.

    Saban was reportedly interviewing candidates for vacancies on his staff as late as Wednesday morning but later in the day told his players that he was retiring. How dominant have the Tide been under him? They were incredibly only underdogs 11 times in his 17 seasons. From Oct. 10, 2015 through Nov. 27, 2021, Alabama was favored in 92 straight games, the longest streak by any team dating to 1980. The Crimson Tide also own the second-longest streak during that span: 72 straight games from 2010-2015. There was a stretch in which Alabama was favored in 164 of 165 games.

    The Tide went 37-14 (.725) vs. top-10 teams in the AP Poll under Saban. That would be the ninth-best overall record in the FBS since 2007. Saban coached 235 games at Alabama and only eight resulted in a loss by more than one possession (3.4%). He had more players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft (44) than he had had losses (29).

    Finally, Bama had just six individual major national award winners when Saban arrived on campus, but Crimson Tide players have secured 60 national awards since – including four Heisman Trophy winners. Returning quarterback Jalen Milroe (might he change his mind now?) is currently a +850 third-favorite for the 2024 Heisman.

    This is obviously one of the top five jobs in college football, but some big-name coaches will not want to follow a legend due to the sheer level of expectations that come with the position – somewhat like what will happen in the NFL in New England with Bill Belichick, one of Saban's buddies. 

    Multiple reports are that Alabama's top target is Oregon coach Dan Lanning, a former graduate assistant under Saban who has rocketed up the coaching ranks. The 37-year-old is 22-5 in two seasons in Eugene and of course the Ducks are upgrading to the Big Ten next season. Lanning's buyout is $20 million. With Phil Knight's backing, Oregon could pay Lanning whatever necessary to stay.

    Texas coach Steve Sarkisian resurrected his career at Alabama and appears to have the Longhorns back among the national elite – including a win in Tuscaloosa in the 2023 regular season. The Longhorns also are upgrading conferences next season to the SEC. Texas also has money to burn, so that won't be an obstacle to keep Sarkisian. His buyout is reportedly $13 million.

    Clemson is no longer one of the dominant programs in the country, so would Dabo Swinney finally leave for his alma mater? If Swinney is fired, his buyout is somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million, but just to leave it's $7.5 million. Clemson wants out of the sinking ACC as is.

    Personality-wise, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin would be about the polar opposite of Saban. Kiffin resurrected his career as a former offensive coordinator under Saban. Alabama is a big step up from Ole Miss, although the Rebs are pretty loaded for 2024.

    Penn State's James Franklin ($6 million buyout) can't beat Ohio State or Michigan, so maybe he would prefer a return to the SEC, where Franklin worked wonders at Vanderbilt. The stock of Washington's Kalen DeBoer may never get higher after leading the Huskies to the College Football Playoff title game and his buyout his $12 million. Washington is also joining the Big Ten next season.

    Florida State wants out of the ACC more than any school, and perhaps coach Mike Norvell doesn't want to wait for that to happen after his Seminoles became the first Power 5 unbeaten team to be left out of the playoff. His buyout is a scant $4 million.

    Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be the next Alabama football coach?

    • Dan Lanning +250
    • Lane Kiffin +400
    • James Franklin +500
    • Dabo Swinney +600
    • Steve Sarkisian +900
    • Mike Norvell +1000
    • Glenn Schumann +1500
    • Kalen DeBoer +1800
    • Bill O'Brien +2000
    • Pat Shurmur +2200
    • Deion Sanders +2500
    • Urban Meyer +3000

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