Les Miles out at LSU, let the Jimbo Fisher rumors begin!
UPDATE, 1:45: Sure enough, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was asked Monday about the LSU opening. He said he has had no contact with the Tigers and said, "I'm not talking about LSU." He said the only other school he would talk about is North Carolina, whom his Seminoles face this week.
My original post is below:
After months of speculation, LSU has finally fired coach Les Miles, four games into the season.
So get ready for months of speculation around a different name.
Fisher spent seven years as an assistant at LSU, where he groomed JaMarcus Russell into a No. 1 overall draft pick and was the offensive coordinator for the 2003 national title team. LSU fans (and boosters) have not forgotten that. There are, I believe, four active head coaches who have won national titles. Fisher is one of them.
It's a good bet, too, that the Tigers look for an offensive-minded coach. Despite having Leonard Fournette in the backfield, LSU has the nation's No. 110 scoring offense. The Tigers are No. 112 in passing yards per attempt. Fisher, meanwhile, is regarded as one of the better offensive minds in the game.
The story I've always heard is that Fisher is happy there. His children live in Tallahassee, and being a divorced father living in another state would not be easy. That's a factor that should not be overlooked. He is highly compensated, and FSU has kept up with the facilities arms race (See: the recent renovations at Doak Campbell Stadium and the giant new Jimbotron).
But I've always heard there are a few jobs Fisher could consider leaving for...and LSU is one of them.
The recruiting base in Louisiana is fantastic; seven of the country's top 200 players in this year's class are from the state (according to 247Sports' composite rankings). At FSU, Fisher must compete against Florida and Miami for the top players who want to stay close to home. In Louisiana, LSU is the clear top destination. The prospects there grow up wanting to be Tigers.
The SEC is intense, obviously, but Fisher's division in the ACC isn't what it used to be, either. Louisville and Clemson are both in the top five. As long as Bobby Petrino and Dabo Swinney stick around, those two programs are going to remain near the top. The SEC West, where LSU resides, is still deeper than the ACC Atlantic, but FSU's road to the College Football Playoff isn't as easy as it was, especially with the Gators and Hurricanes seemingly on the rise.
Let's be clear: I'm not saying Fisher will leave for LSU. Fisher might be asked about it today at his weekly news conference. I asked him about that rumor last year, and he said a version of what he'd likely say today (if asked): I won't speculate or comment on any other job, ever, because that's my policy. Which is fine.
But the speculation will likely continue, whether he wants it to or not.