The coach Alabama football fans want is ...

In the post-Nick Saban world of Alabama Football, there is little consensus among Crimson Tide fans about which guy should be hired.
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

So many names are being thrown around as Nick Saban's replacement, you have to wonder how much some of the sources have closely followed the Alabama football program. Even among Alabama fans who live and breathe the Crimson Tide, there is no consensus about the best replacement for Nick Saban.

Replacement is not even the right word. No one can replace Nick Saban. He can only be followed by a bold man willing to accept that in Tuscaloosa, any season without a National Championship is a failure.

Is anyone up to the task? It will be a long wait for any solid answer. The Crimson Tide fanbase is prepared to get behind a new guy. But that new guy better not field a team that played as Alabama did against Texas and South Florida last September.

Based on way too much time spent on message boards and social media since Wednesday afternoon, it is clear - there is no clear favorite among Alabama fans. Four guys get the most positive responses, Dan Lanning, Steve Sarkisian, Lane Kiffin, and DeMeco Ryans. That is the A-list for Alabama fans. Next, below the four, are Mike Norvell and Kalen DeBoer, and a couple of other NFL coaches.

Unfortunately, the top four also have doubters among the Crimson Tide nation. The real problem is none of them have ever won a National Championship as a head coach. And almost every Crimson Tide fan believes National Championships are our birthright.

I offer no prediction about who will be hired or when it will happen. As an Alabama fan, I am prepared to support the next guy, even if has been someone I have loathed in the past. The thought of a few coaches in Tuscaloosa pains me, but all will deserve a clean slate.

There are other burning questions. When will Greg Byrne announce a hire, and will it be soon enough to prevent a large portion of the roster from transferring to other schools? We can only hope soon, as in the 72-hour window he stated yesterday was his intent.

I am not sure how pertinent it is to review the history. But I can say, having lived through it, when Paul Bryant announced his retirement, it was perceived as a doomsday by hordes of Alabama fans. There was serious doubt Alabama would ever again win a National Championship. We could not have been more wrong. I am more confident this time that Alabama will still be Alabama, no matter who the next guy is.