Paul Finebaum: Dabo Swinney to Alabama 'no longer off the board'
Paul Finebaum is known for stirring the pot in the Southeast, and he did it again Monday morning on The RoundTable on JOXFM.
This weekend, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame, and Finebaum was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.
Although Finebaum has been under the impression that Swinney wouldn’t take the Alabama job when Nick Saban retires, he’s now singing a different tune after spending time with him.
“Who knows when Saban’s day will come, but I’m going to put a couple chips down on the long-shot now,” Finebaum said. “It’s no longer off the board. I saw it. His wife grew up in Alabama. His family is from Alabama. That will be a fascinating gravitational pull when Alabama calls and says, ‘OK, Dabo. It’s time to come home.’ I don’t know if it’s as absolute as it was a couple months ago.”
After being around Swinney and seeing how he interacts with Alabama folks, Finebaum knows there’s only one man to replace Saban at Alabama — whenever that time comes, and that’s Swinney.
“I’m probably going to upset somebody here, but you get right down to it, it’s Alabama versus Clemson,” Finebaum said. “It’s no contest. If you’re thinking about, ‘OK, where do I really want to be long-term,’ and I think because he’s from Alabama, I’m going to keep pushing that ball up the hill. And the fact that he’s already won that championship … Nobody wants to replace Saban — it’s an impossible task, but I will say this, before anyone says it’s impossible to replace Nick Saban, I think the only person who can replace Nick Saban is Dabo Swinney.”
No doubt Swinney has built a powerhouse program at Clemson, and it certainly begs the question as to why he (or anyone) would want to follow Saban at Alabama. But Swinney is a little bit different in that he’s an elite head coach and a former Alabama player. It’s almost too good to be true.
Of course, we’re talking years ahead here, but there’s little doubt who will be Alabama’s first call. The Crimson Tide will make Swinney say no first.
You can listen to Finebaum’s full interview here.