LSU couldn't help itself but fire Les Miles considering the attractive candidates
From Tom Herman to Jimbo Fisher, there are more than enough great candidates to coach the Tigers
The Tom Herman Sweepstakes has begun. Or maybe we just call it the Jimbo (Fisher) Jamboree at LSU.
The line forms to the left after LSU -- upon further review -- decided to fire Les Miles on Sunday. Sure, the move was less than surprising considering the agonizing start to the 2016 season followed an agonizing conclusion to the 2015 season.
But LSU just needed a reason after experiencing the same-old, same-old quarterback woes and clock issues. It found part of that reason at least in the possibility it can land a kinetic 41-year-old coach with similar quirks to Crazy Les but whose promise is vast.
LSU moved so decisively because there's a good chance Houston's Tom Herman will be available at the conclusion of the season. It matters little that the season might have more than three months left in it -- or that Herman could very well play for a national title this year -- LSU's courting starts now.
On Sunday, the school proudly and flamboyantly became the first Power Five school with an opening. That's Step 1. Step 2 is signaling to Herman or Fisher or Art Briles or all of them and more that this opening exists.
LSU officials -- unencumbered by their consciences -- can now conduct an "open" coaching search.
No slinking around. No third-party contact. No high-school prom date notes slipped under desks: If I was to ask you to coach the Tigers, would you say yes?
That's about what this is about -- urgency. LSU needs to be remodeled. Quick. In the SEC, there's no time to waste. By all accounts, Herman is the hottest coaching candidate since Urban Meyer left Utah in 2004.
We were all shocked when Florida fired Ron Zook in October that year ostensibly to get ahead of Notre Dame in the pursuit of Meyer. We know how that turned out.
Eighteen games into his head coaching career, Herman has similar promise. How ironic that he has fallen from that Meyer coaching tree to this moment. In the last two seasons, Herman has coordinated a national championship offense at Ohio State and led Houston to a New Year's Six bowl win over Florida State.
Houston may ride the football momentum created by Herman all the way to inclusion into the Big 12.
A promotion to somewhere almost certainly awaits Herman. Soon.
If not LSU then USC or Notre Dame. Possibly Texas. Herman told me earlier this year he wants to be somewhere he can win a championship. A national championship.
Slot those schools accordingly.
If Herman isn't available, Fisher might be. The former LSU offensive coordinator under Nick Saban was mentioned prominently in November when Miles' job hung in the balance.
LSU surely wants one of them. Or at least it should. You don't fire Miles without a solid succession plan.
State finances, Miles' buyout and the administration's late realization of the head coach's popularity snuffed out an ill-conceived plan to run him out last season.
This time a combination of bad football and a super-rich coaching pool made the rip cord easy to pull. In fact, one of the reasons Miles may have been fired so early was to prevent another rehab of his prospects.
LSU is first with an opening, and first means a lot with so much at stake. USC has to decide whether to keep Clay Helton after one season that has started 1-3. The last athletic director at the school to have previous experience hiring a head coach was Mike McGee in 1984.
And current AD, Lynn Swann, is best known as Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver and sideline reporter -- not a savvy veteran of coaching searches.
Brian Kelly fired his defensive coordinator Sunday after Notre Dame's own 1-3 start. If the Irish keep losing, there won't be too many other assistants left to can before the administration comes looking for Kelly.
Auburn's Gus Malzahn probably bought himself some time by beating LSU. But as I reported last week, there is so much gridlock currently on The Plains it's unclear what process exists to actually get rid of Malzahn.
LSU is ahead of all of them if for no other reason than the ability to advertise its job opening. It has a plan.
Forget search committees, headhunters or the like. For all practical purposes, LSU AD Joe Alleva should do just that. The man can look himself in the mirror, pick up the phone and start calling agents.
There's no one to undermine, no hidden agenda. LSU needs a coach. Are you interested?
LSU may be chucking away a season but that's part of the reason, too. If Zook was a shock 12 years ago, we've become desensitized. The so-called Silly Season of hiring/firing no longer has a start date. It is year-round.
It's about feeding the monster that is major-college football, even when actual football gets in the way. LSU coaches and players no doubt will be distracted by the upheaval.
But LSU also needs to get younger, more dynamic at the school's highest paid position. First and foremost it needs someone who knows how to coach and recruit quarterbacks.
Herman may best fit that job description.
For now, LSU has kicked off a months-long hiring drama that is just getting started.
The line forms to the left to be Tigers' next coach. It's about to get very crowded.
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