There are already a handful of head coaching vacancies on the college football landscape in 2021. Those include TCU, Virginia Tech, amongst others with plenty more to come. While those openings are important, those are mostly niche for close followers. This article will examine two of the bigger roles schools are looking to fill. Those are the LSU and USC jobs.
Those positions garner national attention as both universities have had great success in program history. With that spotlight comes pressure. Not all coaches can handle that which is part of the reason both are open. Speculations have been coming and going since those spots became available. I will attempt to navigate those tsunami waves and find the individuals that can fill those roles.
The USC position has been one of the more sought-after roles in college sports. The football team has had amazing success in its recent history. They have won several Pac- 12 conference championships and a national title as well since the 2000 season. Being located in the southern part of California brings some of the nicest weather in the entire country. It also helps that Hollywood and all its major players in that industry are located close to the school. All this combined should make the job easy for a coach. That has not been the case recently.
Former head coach Pete Carroll was an amazing leader for the program. That was until he took the job to become the Seattle Seahawks’ new head coach after the 2009 season. The team has since been good but has not been a powerhouse in college football. USC recently decided it was time to move on from Clay Helton. They knew that the team needed a new figure to return the program to its former prominence.
Candidates for the Vacancy
One of the main factors in hiring a new head coach is their recruiting ability. High school athletes should want to play for the Trojans in their historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The fact that so many players from the area are not attending the school and even going to play in other conferences is not good for the university.
A person that seems like a great fit for the program is James Franklin. The Penn State coach has done an excellent job in returning the program to where it once was. A lot of this was due to his recruiting abilities. Signing players away from conference rivals Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State is no easy task. He could do the same for USC. Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell also fit that job description. He has turned that football team around and into a national name. What sets him apart from Franklin is his connection with USC athletic director, Mike Bohn. Bohn held the same position with the Bearcats when they hired Fickell. The two could team up once again and do the same for the Trojans.
Another name that has been rumored is Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meyer was an amazing college coach but has shown questionable decision-making skills since joining the NFL. He was filmed out at a club, consuming alcohol, and grouping a young woman. If they are looking for a person to connect with the players, he is your guy. If they want him to be their head coach though, I would not even consider him.
As much as this pains me to say, I believe USC will offer the job to Fickell. He is exactly who they are looking for in a leader of the program. The only thing that may prevent this from happening is he is incredibly close with his family who has always lived in Ohio.
The football program at LSU brings more pressure than other schools typically do. Louisana has an extremely humid climate which may deter some athletes from signing there. They also play in the incredibly competitive SEC conference. This makes it nearly impossible to post an undefeated season. That being said, being a member of that exclusive club makes recruiting much easier. Players want to come to the school to play in that division and enjoy some of the best cooking in the country. It also prepared athletes that want to become professionals to make that leap.
The university won a national title just a few years ago, but the luster of that has worn off. The coach that led them to that championship, Ed Orgeron, and LSU have agreed to part ways after this season. That leaves one of the most prestigious jobs in college sports open to allow the school to find its next coach.
Candidates for the Vacancy
There is a lot of pressure to succeed that comes with the LSU job. Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher has plenty of experience with handling that. Prior to his time with the Aggies, he coached at Florida State for eight seasons. He also has a relationship with LSU’s athletic director, Scott Woodward. Like Fickell and Bohn, Woodyard hired Fisher to be head coach at Texas A&M. However, Fisher has denied his interest in taking over at LSU. The coach has said he is happy where he is with the Aggies and is in the process of signing the top recruiting class right now.
Another candidate is Lincoln Riley. The Oklahoma head coach has been rumored to be a candidate for any major coaching job in the NCAA, as well as the NFL. This is mainly due to his offensive scheme and ability to mentor great quarterbacks. Normally. I would say there is a chance he may accept an offer from LSU, but I am not so certain now. The Sooners are currently in the process of joining the SEC. They will officially be a member by 2025 at the latest. If he is willing to wait a little while longer, he would be a head coach of a team in that conference without having to change programs.
My final potential coach is Dave Aranda from Baylor. Aranda knows LSU and the program as well as any candidate. He was the defensive coordinator for their most recent national championship team. Since becoming the Bears’ head coach, he has done well in the two years there. Aranda would be welcome back to Baton Rouge with open arms from everyone associated with the football program. The only concern about him is his lack of experience leading a team. If LSU is able to determine that he is capable of doing that, he could be the next man in charge of the Tigers football program.
This article was published on the Belly Up Sports website and specifically its college football page. Belly Up Sports also has a Twitter page where you can interact with the network. I also have written for this outlet before so see my most recent story if you would like. If you would like to talk to me directly, feel free to chat with me on my Twitter as well. Try to keep it clean and proper. If you are incapable of doing so, ignore that completely and battle it out with me. Just a few warnings for those who dare challenge me. I am highly competitive and hate to admit when I am wrong. So be prepared for a war of words.