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Jones: Ignore the siren call of the SEC, Jimbo Fisher

Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher during the Camping World Kickoff against the Mississippi Rebels on Monday September 5, 2016 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Final Score FSU 45, Ole Miss 34.
Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher during the Camping World Kickoff against the Mississippi Rebels on Monday September 5, 2016 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Final Score FSU 45, Ole Miss 34.
Published Sep. 28, 2016

Don't do it, Jimbo Fisher. Don't even think about it.

Order all the Cajun food you can eat. Binge watch Swamp People every night. If you want, go ahead and buy a pet tiger and call him Mike.

Do whatever you need to do to quench your thirst for Louisiana. But don't you dare leave Florida State for LSU.

You'll regret it. You have a better job now. You might have the best job in the country.

FSU is where you belong. Now and forever. Well, maybe not forever. But definitely for now.

Of course, where Fisher should be isn't going to stop the rumors.

Almost as soon as Les Miles was fired by LSU the rumor mill churned out a bunch of names. The first one was Fisher's.

Makes sense. For starters, Fisher is a heck of a coach. If any school in the country had an opening, he would and should be on a short list of candidates.

But Fisher especially makes sense for LSU.

Fisher spent seven years as an assistant there, helping the Tigers to a national title and two SEC championships. And when Miles was inches away from being fired last season, there were rumors that Fisher's agent was in talks with LSU.

Fisher seems perfectly happy at Florida State, but everybody has a dream job and, for Fisher, that dream job could be LSU.

For sure, LSU is an elite job.

A head coach at LSU would have great facilities and a great paycheck. Miles was making $4.3 million a year. LSU has a rabid fan base and it plays in the SEC, the best conference in college football and, arguably, the most powerful.

It is a great job. But Fisher has a better one.

Let's start with the salary. Fisher earns $5.15 million, making him the highest-paid public employee in the state. It also makes him the fifth-highest paid college football coach in the country.

Fisher makes that much money because he wins so much, and winning at Florida State is much easier than winning at LSU.

At LSU, Miles was run off because he didn't win enough even though he went 114-34 in 11-plus seasons. That's a heck of a record. That's the kind of record that gets you a statue outside the stadium.

But in the SEC, it gets you fired if too many of those losses are conference losses. Miles was 15-11 in the SEC since the start of the 2013 season. That's what you get when you have to play the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Auburn every year just to get to an SEC Championship Game where you're going to run into another buzz saw.

Toss in some tough nonconference opponents like LSU has had over recent seasons — teams such as Wisconsin, TCU and Oregon — and a big-time bowl game, and you have to play incredibly well to avoid losing more than two or three games.

Who needs that?

At FSU, you have to win a couple of tough games a year. Typically, all you have to do is beat Clemson and Florida and you're in good shape. This year, Louisville is good, and FSU occasionally will mix in another solid team like Ole Miss or Oklahoma State. But when you play in the ACC as FSU does, the land mines are few and far between.

If I'm Fisher and my livelihood partially depends on trying to beat Nick Saban every year, you know what I would say?

No thanks.

Just ask Urban Meyer. Saban drove Meyer to Ohio State. I firmly believe Meyer left Florida because he realized that Saban was going to beat him up and take his lunch money for years. And even in the times Urban might beat Saban, he'd still have run the rest of the SEC gauntlet.

Fisher should realize the same.

If the money is the same and the prestige is the same and the quality of life is the same, why go to a place where it's harder to win? Why go to a place where the boosters and fans and university just proved that someone who won 77 percent of his games will get fired?

Fisher has all he could want at FSU.

He has a university and fan base that adores him, quite the achievement for a man who replaced a legend such as Bobby Bowden.

He makes a ton of money. He plays in a football-rich state where he currently is king. He plays in a conference that he can win most years. And he lives in Tallahassee, a fine place to be.

But would Fisher think about leaving for LSU?

When asked on Monday, Fisher said he hadn't talked with LSU, then quickly said, "I'm not talking about LSU.''

Not exactly the same as pounding the podium and saying he has no intention of leaving.

Fisher is a smart guy, and the smart choice is to stay at FSU. But you never know what drives someone. Maybe there is something about LSU that pulls at Fisher's heart. Maybe there's something about being in the SEC and playing against Saban every year that gets his motor running.

But, if I'm Fisher, the only way I'd ever consider leaving Florida State is if the NFL came calling. And even then I'd think long and hard because the FSU job is so good.

Meantime, FSU fans will have to nervously put up with the rumors for a while. You'd better believe LSU will call.

Just let it ring, Fisher, just let it ring.