Wednesday was the day that no Alabama football fan would ever be ready for. Legendary head coach Nick Saban announced his retirement after being with the program since 2007.
During that time, Saban won six national titles and went an astonishing 201-29. His Tide were pushing for another national title this year, but eventual national champion Michigan came from behind to beat Alabama in overtime, effectively ending the impressive career of Saban.
On Wednesday, he announced he would be retiring after arguably the best coaching career of any college football coach in the history of the sport.
The seven-time national champion turned 72 this year and everyone kind of felt like it would be his last year even if he didn't come out and say it.
So who would be the ideal replacement for a guy who has won more than anyone in college football? You can't easily replace the best head coach of all time, but if there's someone who seems to be on track to be one of the greats in the college football world, it's Dan Lanning.
The Oregon head coach has excelled in two years at Oregon, going 22-5 in that time and he's familiar with Alabama as he was a grad assistant in Tuscaloosa in 2015 under Saban. He followed Kirby Smart to Georgia and became the defensive coordinator for a national title team before getting hired at Oregon to replace Mario Cristobal.
All he's done in two years with the Ducks is win 10 games and then 12 games. If it weren't for a close road loss to Washington this past season, there's a chance Oregon would've been in the playoff.
Lanning has proven he can win big games and his Ducks have gotten better in each season that he's been there and there's a good chance they'll be ranked somewhere close to the top five next season after landing Dillon Gabriel and Dante Moore in the transfer portal. He was also responsible for the complete career turnaround of Bo Nix.
If Alabama wants to continue to sit atop the college football world, Lanning would be a great choice and probably the No. 1 option right now.
The only real question here is: would Lanning leave Oregon?
This could be a wild offseason, but you can ensure it starts with a win thanks to BetMGM. Just sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on any NFL Wild Card game this weekend. You'll instantly win $158 in bonus bets! Sign up for BetMGM today.