Crimson Tide fans feel like they've been hit by a truck as former Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced his retirement from college football on Wednesday evening.

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Where does Alabama go from here? Replacing Nick Saban is going to be the biggest hire of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne's career.

Athletic directors of almost any 10-win team across the country are all of a sudden fearful of the Alabama Crimson Tide knocking on the door of their head coach.

Who could be the man that replaces the man? Does Byrne try to hire someone who tries to replicate Nick Saban, or does he hire someone with their own flare and style?

Here are a couple of names that could replace the legendary Crimson Tide head coach:

The Favorites

Lane Kiffin

Arguably the first name that people turn to, Lane Kiffin has not shied away from his Alabama past. He often took jabs and poked fun at Saban during press conferences. Kiffin spent 2014-2016 as the offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide. Kiffin was a part of the 2015 team that won a national championship. After his time at Alabama, Kiffin spent three seasons as the head coach at FAU before becoming the head coach at Ole Miss in 2020. He has led Ole Miss to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history, and in 2023, led the school to 11 wins for the first time in school history.
During his time as a head coach, Kiffin has a 94-49 record in college and is 3-4 in bowl games.

Dan Lanning

The current betting favorite, Lanning is the current head coach of the Oregon Ducks. He had Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game in just his second year as a head coach. While his inexperience might be something that makes fans question his legitimacy, Lanning boasts a 22-5 record in his first two seasons with the Ducks. Before his time at Oregon, Lanning spent 2015 as a GA on the national championship team that defeated the Cmeosn Tigers 45-40. Lanning left Alabama to be the linebacker's coach at Memphis for two seasons. Lanning then was hired by Kirby Smart to be Georgia's outside linebacker coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator just a season later. Lanning was the defensive coordinator at Georgia when they beat Alabama in the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff National Championship.

Steve Sarkisian

Sticking with the theme of coaches who have prior experience in Tuscaloosa, Sarkisian has spent two tenures in Tuscaloosa. The current head coach of the Texas Longhorns was an analyst and interim OC for Alabama during the 2016 season and the 2016-2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. Alabama went undefeated in the regular season when Kiffin was the OC, but lost the national championship when Sarkisian took over.
He spent a second tenure in Tuscaloosa as Alabama's offensive coordinator in 2019 and 2020. Alabama had the sixth-ranked total offense that season and was tied with LSU for second in yards per play (7.89). In 2020, Sark led a prolific Alabama offense that was second in yards per play (7.81) and fourth in yards per game (third among teams who played more than five games in 2020) with 541.6. Alabama went 13-0, won a national championship, and had a Heisman Trophy finalist and a Heisman Trophy winner.

In the Hunt

Mike Norvell

There's some form of irony if the current Florida State head coach decided to become the next head coach at Alabama. Florida State went undefeated during the 2023 regular season, only to find themselves out of the College Football Playoff on Selection Sunday when Alabama's script A appeared in the fourth slot.
Florida State is Norvell's second head coaching job, which he took in 2020 after being the head coach at Memphis for three seasons. Norvell boasts a 69-31 record as a head coach, but he is just 1-4 in bowl games. 

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Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison