10 college football coaches with the best chance of winning first national championship next

Somebody has to lead their college football program to a national championship next season, so it might as well be somebody on this list. Which coach who has not done it yet could do it in 2024?

Jim Harbaugh, J.J. McCarthy, Michigan Wolverines
Jim Harbaugh, J.J. McCarthy, Michigan Wolverines / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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7. Kalen DeBoer may need a few years, but he can bring Alabama back

Kalen DeBoer does not have the momentum Sherrone Moore is inheriting. When he agreed to leave Washington to replace Nick Saban at Alabama, that sent shockwaves throughout the college football world. It was a complete outside hire that caught most of us who cover the sport for a living completely off-guard. Again, this is still Alabama, but you have to remember who is calling the shots.

Is DeBoer an outstanding head coach? Yes. Has he won everywhere he has been? Yes. Is he ready for all that comes with the SEC? I don't think so. Washington does not recruit anywhere close to an SEC level. If the Huskies were in the league, they recruit closer to how Arkansas does under Sam Pittman than they do to how well Josh Heupel recruits at Tennessee. He must find a way to bridge the gap.

While I would be foolish to doubt the amount of talent still in place at Alabama, it is going to take a Michael Penix Jr.-level season out of Jalen Milroe to get the Crimson Tide back to the national championship next year. He may be a great pick to win the Heisman Trophy, but Alabama is probably the third-best team in the new SEC at best this season, probably closer to five, or even six right now.

If DeBoer wins a national title at Alabama either this year or next, he immediately becomes a legend.