Alabama football is always expected to contend for a national tile. Under head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide has won six national championships — which is still only a third of the program’s total.
As the years come and go, it’s important to step back and look forward. Where will the Crimson Tide be in a few years?
When talking about the future of football in Alabama, many questions can be raised. First and foremost the question of who will replace Saban.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg ranked the top 25 teams in college football and included specific rankings for certain parts of their program based on how they lined up going forward. A bit confusing but interesting.
Alabama opens up as the top-ranked team and Rittenberg offers an interesting paragraph on the future of the Tide.
Future QB Ranking: 3rd
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Future Offensive Ranking: 2nd
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Future Defense Ranking: 4th
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Future team ranking: 1
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
The only hesitation in keeping The Tide at the top is trainer Nick Saban’s future. At 70, he’s the second-oldest coach in FBS, despite looking and acting like a man who can stay at elite level through 2024. But Saban’s frustration with how the sport has changed in the NIL era suggests he might consider retiring sooner, especially if he still wins a national title. After coming up short against Georgia in January, the Tide are ready to fight for their seventh national championship under Saban. They bring back a Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Bryce Young and the nation’s most dominant defenseman in outside linebacker Will Anderson, whose 2021 numbers are still confusing (17.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss). Though both will leave after this season, Alabama is strong in both positions and across the team. The recent addition of quarterback recruit Eli Holstein, ESPN’s No. 59 overall prospect for 2023, adds to the long-term depth. Alabama poised to run back with Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs and others There are some questions at the receiver and developing younger players like Ja’Corey Brooks and Agiye Hall will be key. But the track record under Saban is extremely strong. Offensive line play is an area to watch, but Alabama has an excellent interior and plenty of options around the edges.
Alabama’s defense plans very well for 2022 with Anderson, linebacker Henry To’o To’o, lineman DJ Dale, safety Jordan Battle and others. A moderate improvement could be enough to bring home a national championship. Alabama’s hiring also jumps into defense as the team adds five-star end Jeremiah Alexander, top inside linebacker Shawn Murphy and others in the 2022 class, and signings from top 2023 prospects Jahlil Hurley and Elliot Washington , Has. Saban was clearly upset by Texas A&M’s run on defensive top recruits for 2022, and Alabama’s reaction should be intriguing. Alabama also needs to strengthen its secondary education, especially for 2023 and 2024, and will focus on developing non-seniors like Kool-Aid McKinstry and Brian Branch.