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Rivals Names 6 Candidates To Eventually Replace Nick Saban

Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks with head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers after the Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks with head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers after the Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Nick Saban will retire...someday. The Alabama head coach seems to have plenty in the tank, and it may take another decade, but at some point, the Crimson Tide will have to replace the legendary head coach. Speculation as to who the next Alabama coach will be so pops up just about every off-season.

Dabo Swinney is the most obvious choice. The Clemson head coach has developed into one of the top head coaches in college football in recent years, and has defeated Saban in a national title game. He is also an Alabama alumnus.

Swinney has kept things close to the vest when asked about Alabama. However, it just makes too much sense that he would take over his alma mater at some point.

That doesn't mean it will definitely happen though. Alabama will have its choice of coaches, and of course, Swinney could prefer to stay and continue building a legacy at Clemson.

We don't know when Nick Saban will retire, but Rivals has already put together a list of candidates to be the next Alabama coach.

Swinney is the No. 1 candidate as expected. He's not the only big name with Alabama roots included, however.

Former Saban defensive coordinators Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt are both included. Smart left a few years ago for his alma mater, Georgia, and reached the title game last season. Pruitt is taking over Tennessee this season.

The other inclusions are wild cards. Penn State's James Franklin cracks the list, and is the remaining guy with SEC experience, after he served as head coach at Vanderbilt. His recruiting acumen would definitely fit in at Alabama, which has dominated on the trail under Saban.

The final two: Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente, and Texas's Tom Herman. Both would have to prove that they are elite coaches for Alabama to come calling, but definitely have upside.

Herman would be an especially interesting name, after a few years of speculation that Texas could try and poach Saban from 'Bama. The Crimson Tide would really need to pony up to pry someone out of Austin.

[Rivals]