Nick Saban is 67 years old. He is most likely in the twilight of his career. When will he step down? No one knows. Who is in line to replace him? The oddsmakers at SportsLine have come up with a list of potential candidates and their odds of getting the job. The list has several coaches on it...and 2 come from the Palmetto State
Coach Swinney from Clemson is the Early favorite at 3-1.
Swinney loves Clemson and even if his alma-mater comes calling, his current job has everything the Crimson Tide have to offer and then some — college football's top facilities, fertile recruiting developments, staff continuity and best of all, an easier annual schedule. Nothing against the ACC, but the conference slate isn't exactly a meat-grinder when compared to the SEC. Swinney is going to win 10 or more games annually for the foreseeable future and once Saban retires, will move Clemson into the permanent throne room as the nation's top program if he stays.
Big words there on the Clemson coach. Will He make the move?
Gamecock coach Will Muschamp has made the list at 6-1. The story gives the rundown on if Muschamp will make the move.
Would the Crimson Tide really hire a guy who has lost 10 straight games vs. nationally-ranked teams entering his fourth season with the Gamecocks? Muschamp's strengths are obvious as a respected defensive guru and extremely-talented recruiter, but he hasn't proven yet as a head coach that he can produce a contender. In seven total seasons at Florida and South Carolina, Muschamp has an 11-win season (Year 2 with the Gators) and a nine-win campaign with the Gamecocks. The rest have been mediocre. Alabama feels like too big a job for Muschamp, who still needs to prove his worth offensively, in college football's toughest division.
I am not sure Muschamp would make that move. I also think he needs to prove he can bring the gamecocks back to respectability.
My pick is the man from Georgia...
I know he has resurrected the bulldogs. I just have a feeling he would go to take over for his former coach. The odds list him at 5-1.
The SEC's Coach of the Year in 2017 after winning the league and reaching the College Football Playoff in only his second season in Athens, Smart is undoubtedly a premiere up-and-comer as a head coach after a proven track record of success as an assistant. The former Georgia DB spent nearly a decade on Saban's staff at Alabama as defensive coordinator and is one of the most respected defensive minds in the game. The Bulldogs are recruiting at a supreme level (and spend more than any program nationally) and they've been a stop away from beating Alabama consecutive years — once for a national title and last season in Atlanta with another Playoff berth on the line. It hasn't happened yet, but will. Mark Richt's ceiling was high, but 10-win seasons got old for Georgia fans. The Bulldogs are now an actual national contender with Smart in charge and Crimson Tide fans already love him.
Or Saban could coach forever. It would not surprise me. We will discuss this on The Rundown tomorrow afternoon.