Nick Saban’s Coaching Tree Blossoms in the 2021 Football College Football Playoff Selection
The 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide football team was a special team. The team road a 15-1 record into the college football playoffs and won Nick Saban's fourth national championship at Alabama.
The 2015 Alabama team boasted the Heisman Trophy winning running back, seven NFL draft picks and one of the Crimson Tide's best coaching staff's ever.
Six of the 11 on-field coaches for the 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide are current FBS head coaches. The remaining five coaches on the staff continue to serve in high profile coaching roles, most as assistants to the six head coaches.
The initial College Football Playoff poll of the 2021 season was released on Tuesday night and featured several familiar faces to Alabama Crimson Tide fans.
Outside of Alabama's debut at the No. 2 position, the other three programs appearing in the top four of the initial poll all are led by coaches that worked with one another on the 2015 Alabama football team.
Kirby Smart once again has his Georgia Bulldogs in contention as they appear to have a firm grip on the No. 1 seed at the moment. Dominating defense and an offense based on power and precision has Georgia already qualified for the SEC Championship and eyeing its first national championship since 1980.
Mel Tucker, in his second season in charge of the Michigan State Spartans has his stock on the rise. The Spartans debuted at No. 3 in the initial College Football Playoff Poll and are currently undefeated with wins over Miami, Indiana and rival Michigan to give them confidence.
Michigan State still has Ohio State and Penn State left on its regular season schedule and a pending matchup in the Big 10 Championship but for now, Tucker has Sparty in its best playoff position in six years.
Mario Cristobal, in his fourth season in charge of the Oregon Ducks, is looking for his third consecutive Pac-12 championship but he also has his sights set higher. The Ducks sneak into the College Football Playoff poll's No. 4 position despite having one loss. A huge road win over No. 5 Ohio State is all the evidence that the Ducks belong but does the Oregon schedule have enough strength to keep Cristobal and company in playoff position?
Despite not being in playoff position, the remaining two head coaches from the 2015 staff, Lane Kiffin and Billy Napier are both experiencing successful seasons. Kiffin has his Ole Miss Rebels up to the No. 16 position in the College Football Playoff poll and Napier has his Louisiana Rajun' Cajuns at 7-1 with its only loss coming in the season opener against the Texas Longhorns.
Nick Saban's coaching tree has been called into question at times as he has a strong record in games against former assistant coaches and only Jimbo Fisher has won a national championship in his own program.
Derek Dooley, Jeremy Pruitt and Will Muschamp stand out as particular duds but in 2021 with Smart, Tucker and Cristobal all leading their programs into playoff contention the Saban coaching tree is blooming beautifully.