The Alabama football dynasty is far from over

Nick Saban may be retiring, but the dynasty that he and Bear Bryant built with the Alabama football program is far from over with Kalen DeBoer on his way in.
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

In 2023, 72-year-old Nick Saban led Alabama football to a 12-2 finish with an SEC title and a College Football Playoff berth. In 17 seasons, Saban led the Crimson Tide to a whopping nine SEC Championships and six national titles, leading most to dub him the greatest coach in the sport's history. Yet, even though Saban is leaving Bama, the Tide's dynasty appears far from over as the Kalen DeBoer era is officially here.

No one will ever be Nick Saban -- that much is certain. He was unique, and what he did for Alabama football and the game itself is owned only by him. Then again, the same could be said for Bear Bryant and what he did during his days with the Crimson Tide. That is to say, just because Saban is gone does not mean that Alabama's success story has to stop; in fact, it appears to mean quite the opposite.

Soon after Saban retired, the University of Alabama hired the best possible candidate on the market, a coach who has done nothing but win no matter where he has been: Kalen DeBoer. On the same day, Saban coached his final game, DeBoer led Washington past Texas in the CFP semifinal before falling to Michigan in the title game.

While DeBoer only has a few years of Division I head coaching experience, his track record is impeccable. Let's start from the top.

In 2005, Kalen Deboer took over as the head coach of Sioux Falls, a Division II football program. In just one season, Deboer went 11-2 with Sioux Falls, finishing No. 4 in the coaches poll that season; however, in the years to follow, Deboer's teams only lost one single game, claiming four-straight conference titles and three national titles before Deboer took a Division I coaching job with Southern Illinois. His stint with Sioux Falls saw a 67-3 overall start to his coaching career with many titles and top-ranked finishes. But that's not where things ended for Deboer as an elite football coach.

Deboer's next head coaching gig came in 2020 when he took over Fresno State for two seasons. Before his regime, Fresno State had only managed a 4-8 season in 2019, so needless to say, it was a rebuilding project for Deboer and his staff. In year one, he went 3-3; however, in year two, Fresno State went 9-3 (including a victory over No. 13 UCLA), which earned Deboer yet another promotion in the world of college football -- he was hired by the Washington Huskies heading into the 2022 season.

In 2021, Washington's season ended with an ugly 4-8 finish, which included a home loss against an FCS school and a 40-13 home loss against in-state rival Washington State. The following year saw DeBoer take over, leading the Huskies back to national prominence with an 11-2 finish and a victory in the Alamo Bowl, which placed UW at No. 8 in the season's final polls. The following season was one to remember for Washington and DeBoer, likely the main reason that Alabama football decided to make him Saban's successor.

In 2023, Washington went 13-0 with a Pac-12 title before downing Texas in the Sugar Bowl (CFP) and losing to Michigan in the title game. All said and done, the Huskies finished 14-1 and earned the No. 2 spot nationally after just two seasons of DeBoer's reign -- two years after going 4-8, I might add.

My point is this: DeBoer is 104-12 overall as a head coach and typically turns losing programs into national winners in just a few years. If he can get Washington from 4-8 to 14-1 and a title game berth in just a few years without recruiting better than most of the country, imagine what he can do with the resources found within the Alabama football program.

With a rapidly changing landscape within the sport of college football, DeBoer undoubtedly has his work cut out for him. However, this year's Crimson Tide are as talented and capable as any team in the nation and could easily be contending for yet another national title by the end of the year.

Nick Saban may be in retirement, but Alabama football isn't going anywhere.