LSU's ready to let the good times roll as it preps for future without Joe Burrow, Joe Brady, Dave Aranda

NEW ORLEANS – The question in the aftermath of Monday's generational national championship win: How does it get any better for LSU? Odell Beckham Jr. appeared to provide the answer.

The former Tigers star receiver looked to be handing out cash to LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson and other players on the field after the game. On its face, that's an NCAA violation whether an existing player has exhausted eligibility or not. However, Derek Ponamsky, coach Ed Orgeron's special assistant, approached CBS Sports to note that the bills were fake. Ponamsky produced a bill that displayed President Donald Trump's face in the middle with "2020" in the corners where the denomination would be.

Since then, LSU star quarterback Joe Burrow told the "Pardon My Take" podcast that the cash was real, and LSU has launched an investigation into the incident: "absolutely, no question about it," a LSU source said. Beckham's presence around LSU has also led to the Browns star wide receiver being accused of simple battery for slapping a police officer on the butt.

Schools participating in the College Football Playoff National Championship are allowed pregame and postgame passes to distribute to dignitaries. Schools have to submit a list of people who are going to be on the sideline during the game. However, one source said there are "hundreds" of passes that can be given out by the schools and sponsors in pregame and postgame. And even though Beckham is a former player, LSU would still be interested how Beckham got on the field if he violated NCAA rules. 

For now, we will have to go with a controversy-free definition of LSU's current mindset: laissez les bon temps rouler.

Let the good times roll.

The school, the state, this city is at all-time high still celebrating LSU's fourth national championship.

"I do believe it's one of the greatest accomplishments in college football history," Orgeron reiterated. "We didn't have a bad game."

Now, what's next?

A projected minimum of only seven starters return with as many as seven underclassmen expected to turn pro. Burrow is gone to be the projected No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft after arguably the best season by a signal caller in college football history.

Staff adjustments must take place, too, now that 30-year-old offensive wunderkind Joe Brady -- the team's passing game coordinator for this magical season -- has taken the offensive coordinator job under Matt Rhule with the NFL's Carolina Panthers. On Thursday, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda agreed to become the next coach of Baylor, a source confirmed to CBS Sports.

As late as Monday, LSU was convinced Brady was returning for 2020 after agreeing to a memorandum of understanding with the program despite an NFL out clause on the paperwork. The Tigers feel they are ahead of the curve in hiring his replacement as Brady was not a member of the team until Jan. 28 last year.

Aranda was mentioned as a candidate for the Baylor job, but it appeared as if the Bears were attempting to bring in Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente. When Fuente announced he was staying at VT, the deal with Aranda came together quickly.

Despite all of these changes, this is LSU. It's where some of the best college talent resides on an annual basis and where assistants across the country want to coach, especially now.

A bedsheet hung in one Mercedes-Benz Superdome end zone hinted at the greatness of Monday's accomplishment and the pressure ahead: "Build the statue. Retire the number now. Burrow forever."

"It's going to be difficult to replace these guys, but at LSU, you should be able to do it," Orgeron said.

Only at LSU do football national championships get compared to baseball. Orgeron was asked by one media member about Paul Mainieri's 2009 baseball title when the coach concluded: How do I do this again?

"I'm already planning," Orgeron said.

He'll have to speak to a number of juniors who have a decision to make. That includes ultra-athletic tight end Thaddeus Moss and linebacker Patrick Queen, Monday's defensive player of the game.

"It's tough to beat the feeling of last night," Queen said, "but I know my best football is ahead of me."

None of this would have been possible had Nick Saban not made LSU a national program, helping lead it to its first modern championship in 2003. Les Miles followed with another 2007. It was because of those accomplishments that LSU continued to shoot for championships. That wasn't always the case during the days of Gerry DiNardo, Mike Archer and Curley Hallman.

"When you come to LSU, that's the expectation, and I embraced it," Orgeron said. "You surround yourself with a great recruiting base. … You're playing in the SEC, so if you can get through the SEC and especially the SEC West, it gives you a chance to be in the national championship hunt."

The Tigers became the second team in the modern era to go 15-0. Clemson was the other just last season. The difficulty of repeating showed. The South Carolina-based Tigers were devastated by their first loss in two years.

In an age where the playoff is the ultimate goal, how does LSU sustain what just happened? There were few comebacks for LSU this season. The Tigers led 10 of their 15 games start to finish.

Meanwhile, Orgeron's career is one big comeback. A rocket start at Miami that was also rocky. Orgeron won two national championships with the Hurricanes, but a series of off-field run-ins eventually led to his departure. Later in his career, he addressed a personal problem and got sober. Pete Carroll retained him on the USC staff when he arrived in 2000. It's a well-told story that Carroll and Orgeron went recruiting together the day Carroll was hired.

After winning two national championships at USC, Orgeron was never hotter than when he got the Ole Miss head coaching job. Three years later, he had won just 10 games and only three in SEC play. His head coaching career at the Power Five level was at least on hold, if not completely over.

The second rehab of his career began with the New Orleans Saints as defensive line coach (2008). Lane Kiffin then hired him for that one 2009 season at Tennessee before bringing him back to USC. From there, Orgeron did nothing to diminish his reputation as a top recruiter.

There was a career crossroads in December 2013 when USC went with Steve Sarkisian instead of Orgeron, then the interim coach. The snub bothers Orgeron to this day. He said only his father's death in 2011 surpasses it.

"He comes from right from the bottom," said Brian Kennedy, a USC booster who met Orgeron when he got to USC in the late 1990s.

There was more of a USC flavor Monday. In Orgeron's private box during the game were USC billionaire booster Wayne Hughes and former USC player (and O.J. Simpson confidant) Al Cowlings. It's more than ironic that USC is struggling while Orgeron has made his own comeback.

In the end, Orgeron's humble Louisiana roots showed as Monday night blended into Tuesday morning. He and his wife, Kelly, shared Popeyes Chicken. They went to bed at about 3 a.m. while the celebration outside raged on.

"It wasn't a night out on the town or nothing like that," he said. "It was just a good night, but we did thank the good Lord for all the opportunity he's given us."

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories