Ranking top CFB coaches, Alabama Crimson Tide joy and Auburn sadness

Despite Nick Saban's exit, for the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn football program not much has changed.
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

For Alabama Football, spring football is winding down. It will be soon be three months since Nick Saban's retirement announcement. The change between January and April has been amazing.

Long was the pundit line in January, from celebrating Saban's departure to singing a chorus of the 'Crimson Tide sky is falling.' No opposing group of fans were happier than Auburn's faithful. And they could not have been more wrong.

Predictions from the Aubies were that Hugh Freeze and the Tigers would blow by Kalen DeBoer and the Crimson Tide in recruiting and on the field. Freeze had some success with the 2024 class that finished No. 8 per On3's Industry Rankings. Auburn added one 5-Star and six 4-Stars that included four Top 100 players. Freeze also gained a couple of good transfer pickups, but not a replacement for Payton Thorne at QB. Alabama Football's 2024 class finished No. 2.

In the 2025 class team rankings Auburn is No. 9 and Alabama is No. 6. Auburn has nine current commits, with five 4-Stars whose player rankings rankings range from No. 122 to No. 234. In the spring transfer frenzy soon to start the Tigers have essential needs to fill at wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, and defensive back.

There could be one important reason why Auburn is not coming close to predictions the Tigers would bypass Alabama. That reason is Hugh Freeze. The Reverend is not a bad football coach, though last season it was learned he could not gameplan and recruit in the same week. What he is, is just an average coach, who needed to remain a safe distance from SEC competition.

Never changing, Alabama Football makes a top coaches list

There is recent proof of Freeze being nothing special. A panel of ESPN reporters recently rated CFB's top 10 head coaches and added 11 more that also received votes. Hugh Freeze did not make the list.

To the surprise of no one, Kirby Smart was No. 1. To the surprise of many and to the dismay of Auburn fans, Kalen DeBoer was No. 2. The rest of the top 10 was Kyle Whittingham (3). Dabo Swinney (4), Mike Norvell (5), Dan Lanning (6), Steve Sarkisian (7), Lane Kiffin (8), Lance Leipold (9) and Ryan Day (10).

The others, in the order of votes received, were Brian Kelly (LSU); Lincoln Riley USC); Kirk Ferentz, (Iowa); Luke Fickell, (Wisconsin); Eliah Drinkwitz (Missouri); Mack Brown (UNC); Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State); Jonathan Smith (Michigan State); Deion Sanders (Colorado); Curt Cignetti (Indiana); Chris Kleiman (Kansas State) and Jon Sumrall (Tulane).

Auburn fans who look closely enough at the top 10 could receive a harsh dose of reality. Not only is Kalen DeBoer No. 2, but six of the top 10 coaches have a connection to the University of Alabama.

The Aubies just have The Reverend.

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