Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama football: All you need to know for the start of the 2024 season

CW/ Riley Thompson
Alabama wide receiver Isaiah Bond (#17) jumps to make a catch for the touchdown that put Alabama in the lead over Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

Saban’s departure 

After the retirement of head coach Nick Saban and a crushing loss in last year’s Rose Bowl, Alabama football is headed into one of the most pivotal seasons in program history. Here is everything that a freshman should know before kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium Aug. 31.  

For the first time since 2007, Saban will not be the head coach of the Crimson Tide. Saban shockingly retired in January. He is widely considered one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, winning six national championships and nine SEC championships at Alabama.  

DeBoer’s introduction 

Following Saban is former University of Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer, who is fresh off a national championship appearance last season. UA athletic director Greg Byrne had high praise for DeBoer when talking about the kind of culture DeBoer brings to a program. 

“Coach Saban had an incredible culture in his program,” Byrne said on “The Game With Ryan Fowler.” “I think we have an opportunity to have a very good culture with coach DeBoer and his staff. 

The family type of culture DeBoer brings in mixed with the hunger that this roster has after last year’s early playoff exit could be a recipe for success in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide was one of the most improved teams in the country last season after upsetting Georgia in the SEC championship and losing an overtime thriller in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl game. This is a team full of driven players who believe they have what it takes to win a national championship this season.   

Backup quarterback Ty Simpson voiced this conviction in a conversation with DeBoer where he told him he would not be entering the transfer portal. 

He told coach DeBoer, ‘I want to be a part of your first national championship team,”’ said Simpson’s father, Jason Simpson.  

Changes in the College Football Playoff  

It will be tougher than in years past to win the national championship this season. With the expansion of the College Football Playoff to a field of 12, teams will have to win more games to claim a title.  

Changes in the SEC 

Changes will also be coming to the SEC with the introduction of two new teams, as well as new ways to make it to the SEC championship.   

The fresh faces in the SEC, Texas and Oklahoma, will enter their first year in the conference July 1 after leaving the Big 12. Alabama will face Oklahoma on the road late in the campaign and will not face Texas in the regular season for the first time in two years. The Longhorns notably defeated the Crimson Tide last season in a nonconference battle in Tuscaloosa. 

The SEC has also done away with the division format, meaning that the two teams with the best records in the conference will qualify for the SEC championship game. 

Despite the dissipation of the division format, Alabama will still face three of its biggest rivals in 2024: Auburn, Tennessee, and LSU. The Crimson Tide exacted revenge on 2022 losses to Tennessee and LSU in 2023 and handed in-state rival Auburn a heartbreaking loss in the Iron Bowl.  

There likely won’t be a taller task than the Crimson Tide’s home faceoff versus preseason SEC favorite Georgia. The Bulldogs will be looking to avenge their 2023 SEC championship loss to Alabama, which kept them out of the playoffs. This game will speak a lot about the season that the Crimson Tide will have in 2024. 

The story for 2024 will be about old and new faces in Tuscaloosa trying to put the pieces together to make a run for the national title. Alabama is still a place where the expectation is the immortality of a national championship, and this is clearly not lost on the new head coach in town. 

“That’s what you come here for,” DeBoer said.  

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