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Paul Finebaum Predicts Who Will Eventually Replace Nick Saban

Alabama head coach Nick Saban looks on during the SEC Championship.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 04: Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on before the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It feels like Nick Saban can and will coach Alabama forever, but eventually, he's got to step down at some point.

When that happens, Saban's successor will have enormous shoes to fill. It won't be an easy task, but someone is going to have to do it.

Just who that someone might be has been the source of speculation for years now. The most popular answer has been Clemson's Dabo Swinney, an Alabama alum, but it seems more and more like he will remain with the Tigers. 

In an interview with Awful Announcing, ESPN's Paul Finebaum took some guesses at who might take over in Tuscaloosa if Saban leaves soon.

“That’s probably the most difficult question I could possibly be asked," Finebaum said. "If it happens in the next 2-3 years, I would keep my eyes on Mario Cristobal, Billy Napier, and Dave Aranda. Those are three candidates that would be worth paying close attention to.

"If something happened right now, Bill O’Brien would be the most serious candidate, the offensive coordinator. He’s got head-coaching experience."

The first three names Finebaum mentioned are all guys currently serving as head coaches elsewhere. Napier (Florida) and Cristobal (Miami) have also worked under Saban at Alabama. 

O'Brien is a current member of the Crimson Tide staff, and he's run his own program at the collegiate and professional levels. 

All of this might be moot though. Saban, who turns 71 in October, isn't really showing any signs of slowing down or considering stepping away.