LSU and Ed Orgeron are set to part ways at the end of the season. Who should be the favorite to land the LSU job?
LSU is one of the premier jobs in college football, and this offseason will be the first time in a while the athletic department will be forced to fill the vacancy.
When the athletic department hired Ed Orgeron, they made a run at Tom Herman and quickly moved back to their interim coach (Orgeron) when it became apparent that Herman was headed to Texas. Hence, LSU has not gone through a coaching search of this magnitude since they hired Les Miles.
Here are the lead candidates for the job, each with their own positives and negatives.
- Mel Tucker
- James Franklin
- Dabo Swinney
- Luke Fickell
- Jimbo Fisher
- Billy Napier
Mel Tucker: Michigan State Head Coach
Tucker has led the Spartans to an incredible bounce back season this year. Despite the loss to Purdue, Michigan State still has a clear path to the College Football Playoff.
Tucker checks a lot of the boxes needed to coach the Tigers. He’s already coached at both Georgia and Alabama and had great success as a head coach.
Also, the last time LSU hired a coach from Michigan State it worked out pretty well. (Nick Saban)
James Franklin: Penn State Head Coach
Franklin is almost certain to move from Penn State this offseason. USC seems to be deeply connected to the Penn State head coach, but LSU is in position to claim Franklin as well.
LSU is a definitively better job than USC, so it could be in the cards for Franklin to pick them over USC.
James Franklin also had success in the SEC when he was in charge at Vanderbilt.
It seems as if James Franklin is there for the taking for LSU, it’s only a matter of whether or not they see him as the guy.
Dabo Swinney: Clemson Head Coach
If LSU has a job opening, it is imperative to include a few avalanche names. Dabo Swinney is one of them.
It is still unlikely that he makes the move to LSU given how strong his Clemson program is at the moment, but he must be included in this conversation.
LSU should make Dabo Swinney say no before they move to any other candidates.
Luke Fickell: Cincinnati Head Coach
Fickell has helped lead the Cincinnati Bearcats to a top 10 ranking and an undefeated start to the 2021 season. The former Ohio State defensive coordinator has deep ties to the midwest, but has the stones to coach in the SEC.
This seems more unlikely than the other candidates because of Fickell’s allegiance to the midwest.
Many sources in the industry believe Ryan Day will move to the NFL from Ohio State at some point, and Fickell might be waiting for that job to open up.
Similar to Swinney, LSU is in position to make Fickell say no to them before they move on to worse candidates. With that being said, I’d still say Fickell is the least likely candidate of the bunch.
Jimbo Fisher: Texas A&M Head Coach
Although the Texas A&M coach has already vehemently denied any interest in the position, he still must be considered a candidate.
Fisher had a similar reaction when reporters brought up the Texas A&M job when he was at Florida State. Could this mean that Fisher is plotting a move to LSU?
Never say never.
Billy Napier: Louisiana Head Coach
Billy Napier has helped elevate the Louisiana program over the past few years. Napier has experience in the SEC, having coached at Alabama.
Outside of Joe Burrow’s season, LSU has had trouble schematically on the offensive side of the ball. Napier’s offensive background can help bring the Tigers back to their 2019-selves.
If Napier is offered the job, he will say yes. The only question is whether or not the opportunity presents itself.
LSU has had success hiring from Michigan State, and Tucker’s experience in the SEC leads him to be the ideal candidate for the position.
Who can really say though. LSU can do whatever they want and there could be a candidate not on anyone’s radar at the top of their list.