One stat shows College football is more wide open than ever

Heading into the 2024 college football season and the 12-team playoff, things are as wide open as ever following the departures of Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh.

Jan 13, 2024; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; The University of Alabama introduced new head football coach
Jan 13, 2024; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; The University of Alabama introduced new head football coach / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

The landscape of college football changed dramatically this offseason. Not only is the sport getting set for the first-ever 12-team College Football Playoff, but two of the best head coaches in the sport have moved on.

Not only did Nick Saban retire, which officially ended the Alabama football dynasty, but Jim Harbaugh the head coach of the defending national champions left for the NFL. It's the first time since the 1997 season and Tom Osborne at Nebraska that the national champs will have a new head coach. They will also have a new starting quarterback and 10 new offensive starters.

In addition to losing Nick Saban, Alabama football also lost a bunch of players to the transfer portal. That's helped level the playing field, but it's already been sort of leveled. Yes, Georgia is still going to be a powerhouse. Ohio State has added a bunch of talent too.

However, there's one crazy stat that illustrates the wide-open level of college football right now. Only two head coaches: Kirby Smart (Georgia) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson) have won national championships with their current teams. And beyond that, only Ryan Day, Steve Sarkisian, and Sonny Dykes at TCU have taken their current programs to the College Football Playoff.

Obviously, there will be more playoff berths, but the truth remains the same. Oregon, Ole Miss, Florida State, USC, Penn State, and other programs are trying to push into that upper echelon. Michigan is trying to stay there just like Washington and Alabama.

The transfer portal seems to have leveled the playing field. However, the departures of Harbaugh and Saban have opened the door even more. So has the 12-team playoff and going into the 2024 college football season, while there are some favorites at the top, the truth is things are more wide open than ever, at least in terms of blue-chip programs are concerned.


Georgia is truly the only elite program without questions and it's going to be fun to see how it all shakes out.