Opinion: Why is Alabama football ranked at the lowest they’ve been for years?


Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user R Boed

WSPN’s Bowen Morrison discusses the decline of Alabama football.

Bowen Morrison

The Alabama Crimson Tide has been wearing the crown as one of the greatest college football teams for the past 18 years since hiring Nick Saban, the current head coach of Alabama. But now, it seems that Alabama’s crown may be slipping from their grasp.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is currently sitting at number 6 in the nation according to the latest Associated Press poll. However, in 2022 Alabama finished the season being ranked at number one in the nation. Why have they been doing so poorly after being regarded as one of the best teams in the country for the past 18 years? The blame shouldn’t fall on Nick Saban. He has been an elite head coach for the Crimson Tide for 18 years, and he has proven that by winning six national championships and winning eight Southeastern Conference titles.

Saban must look into this problem from within the team, specifically into the new coaching staff. Saban is used to being surrounded by elite assistant coaches, but over recent years, that same staff has dashed for higher-paying positions in the National Football League. It’s clear that the current coaching staff isn’t working as well as the previous staff had. Without the support of a solid coaching staff, Alabama will need to put in some work to return back to their former glory. This requires taking a look at Alabama’s recruiting process.

The team’s recruiting process has been going great over the past couple of years, with Alabama consistently getting four to five star wide receiver recruits, and first-round draft picks such as Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. However, even Alabama’s current number one wide receiver, Jermaine Burton, is projected to be selected in the second or third round in the 2023 NFL Draft. Burton’s fellow wide receiver, Traeshon Holden, who has a grade of 64.0 out of 100, is projected to go undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. And, it’s clear that Alabama does not have the strong receiving core that they once did. While former Alabama wide receivers like Devonta Smith had a rating of 93.0, and teammate Jaylen Waddle had a rating of 91.0, Burton currently has a rating of 85.2.

The Crimson Tide is used to having elite talent when it comes to receivers, but that elite talent just isn’t there anymore. Recruiting has always been Alabama’s strong suit, but now many five to four star recruits are committing to other Power Five schools, like Ohio State. Ohio State has produced some of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

When a program like Alabama has an elite quarterback like Bryce Young, it is necessary that Alabama surrounds him with as much talent as possible, especially with wide receivers. Young already has three mainstream awards to his name such as the 2022’s Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, AP’s College Football Player of the Year and the Heisman Trophy. In the 2021 season, Young also threw for 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns and only had seven interceptions.

Young won the Heisman trophy in 2021 when he had players he could work with, but now Young has Jermaine Burton and Traeshon Holden, who aren’t playing like four-star Alabama receivers should.

It all comes back around to coaching. Saban needs to focus on surrounding Bryce Young with more talent than what Alabama has currently, and he must work on finding the right wide receiver coach to help these young athletes find their way.

It’s hard to see Alabama lose their momentum after nearly two decades of college football glory, but hopefully Saban can once again do what he does best: get Alabama back on top.