When the news broke Sunday that LSU had fired Les Miles, our inbox lit up like a Christmas tree with questions from FSU fans and LSU fans wondering about Jimbo Fisher and the job in Baton Rouge.
Fisher was an offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-06 under Nick Saban. He’s spoken highly of his time there and LSU has not had good quarterback play on the whole since Fisher left.
Fisher has denied having any contact with or interest in the LSU job, and has stayed on message claiming that all his focus is on coaching his Florida State team.
Here is our best attempt to answer your questions.
Is Jimbo Fisher going to take the LSU job?
This question assumes Fisher is the top target and is going to have the option — an assumption many readers are making.
The answer is that I have no idea. Seriously. And I’d be weary of believing anyone who claims they know for sure unless that person directly knows Fisher or his agent.
Aren’t FSU and LSU both elite jobs of similar caliber?
Yes. Both have elite tradition, fan support, facilities and pay. Both are awesome recruiting spots. FSU actually pays Fisher more than LSU paid Les Miles, but there is no doubt LSU will pay top dollar after firing a pretty successful coach. They are both inarguably top ten jobs.
Objectively, it’s a lateral move. Subjectively, maybe not.
Why would Fisher even consider leaving?
I don’t know that he is considering it. But the usual reasons could apply.
Change of scenery? Realizing most coaches are much better as change agents than maintainers? In the last five years, only Saban has won a national title after being at a school for more than five years. Urban Meyer has won them in years two and four at Florida and year three at Ohio State. Jimbo Fisher won his in year four at Florida State, Gene Chizik in year two at Auburn, and Miles won his in year three at LSU.
Jimbo Fisher will be going into his eighth year as FSU’s head coach in 2017. Is his message still getting through with the effectiveness it once did? Would it work better in Baton Rouge in the years 2017-2022
Might he want the challenge of facing Nick Saban? Maybe Fisher really loves Baton Rouge? Who knows?
What is Jimbo Fisher’s buyout?
Doesn’t LSU have unrealistic expectations?
From my SB Nation article Monday. Miles started 75-17 in his first 92 games and finished 39-17 in final 56.
Miles’ Tigers signed 67 four- and five-star recruits over the last four cycles. Only Alabama and Ohio State signed more. Yet in his last 56 games, spanning from the loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship to LSU’s most recent loss to Auburn, LSU is just 39-17 (.696).
A .696 winning percentage for a team that recruits as well as LSU over a period of four years and change just won’t cut it. The best finish in the division for LSU in that time frame is a tie for second in 2013.
Yes, the 39-17 mark does include five losses to Alabama. And yes, everyone in college football has a "Saban problem." But Miles is also just 24-9 in SEC games not against Alabama during this stretch, including two losses to Arkansas, one to Florida, one to Mississippi State, two to Ole Miss and two to Auburn.
For comparison purposes, Jimbo Fisher is 71-15 at FSU. The Seminoles do play in an easier league, but LSU should expect better than 39-17 in its last 56.
If the expectation is to be better than Nick Saban, then the expectations are unrealistic. But if it’s simply to be better than Miles was of late, that’s fine.
LSU reportedly pursued Fisher last year before it decided to keep Miles. Is the job more attractive now?
Arguably so. Nick Saban is a year older. Auburn also likely will be going through a coaching transition soon. Ole Miss could get hit with NCAA sanctions. And importantly, more LSU supporters seem to be behind the Miles’ move than they were in 2015. That impacts perception of the new guy.
Why are other elite coaches like Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson not mentioned for LSU?
They are either at better jobs or have little to no connection to the school. But it’s still early and entirely possible names like Dantonio and Patterson enter the fold.
If Jimbo Fisher were to leave for LSU who would Florida State hire?
I have absolutely no idea. It would depend on who was available and who else is in the market to hire a coach. FSU is a great job and would certainly be jammed with interest from top coaches.
Would FSU consider hiring Les Miles as defensive coordinator (apparently a serious question)?
Absolutely not. Les Miles is an offensive line coach and coordinator by trade.