Everyone loves speculation, so why not go full bore? Les Miles has denied (off the record) that he is interested in the Michigan job. But as the Jim Harbaugh Smokescreen has taught us, nothing is official until it’s official. So what happens if Miles takes the Michigan job? He would almost certainly take coordinators Cam Cameron and John Chavis with him. So then the search is on for one of the five (maybe three?) best jobs in the SEC.
Plan 0 – Make Them Say No
LSU has to at least make calls to Urban, Saban, Stoops, Malzahn and Jimbo to make them say “no thanks”. Jimbo was a coordinator at LSU, and while FSU has a huge advantage in the ACC, it’s still not a top tier SEC program. It is not insane that he might interested, but seems unlikely.
If the rumors are true that Michigan is waiting for Harbaugh to say no first, it’s likely that by the time Miles is fired, Sean Payton’s fate in New Orleans would be known. If he was let go there is no way to at least not pick up the phone and check with him.
Plan A – The Real Candidates
There are three names that make the most sense. All three coach in the SEC currently. All three are up and coming coaches and programs without the ceiling of LSU. Kevin Sumlin, Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen all make obvious sense. Mullen’s stock has never been higher and he would be wise to strike while the iron is hot. Although he might not have been a candidate places it’s interesting that his name hasn’t seem to have come up much at all this month. He would be ludicrous to turn this job down if offered.
Freeze probably has a higher ceiling at Ole Miss and hasn’t had the rocky time Mullen has had so far, so he might not be as quick to pull the ripcord, but this might be too enticing of a job to turndown. Sumlin has the advantage of coaching in Texas, and the NFL rumors are always going to be there, but this would be a step up and the kind of job he could have for 20 years.
Plan B – Beyond the SEC
If none of those guys are smart enough to take this job then it’s time to look elsewhere. Mark Dantonio has done wonders at Michigan St., and the last guy LSU poached from there worked out pretty well. While he seems pretty entrenched, this might be too high profile of a job to turn down. Jim Mora has gotten some buzz this offseason as a guy who might be looking for a bigger job than UCLA. If was willing to kick the tires on the Michigan job it’s crazy to think he wouldn’t jump at this. Rich Rodriguez has his stock pretty high once again. Arizona is not LSU, and there would be no way he could turn this down no matter how happy he is there.
Plan C – No Way It Makes It This Far
It seems impossible to think that all of those guys say no, but anything is possible. At this point LSU would look at guys who 90% of programs would take if they could get them. Mike Gundy at OK ST., the guy who took over for Miles. A step up for him, and he gets out of a sticky situation with justification of joining a truly elite program. Dabo Sweeney of Clemson can probably only get them so far. He is young and a good recruiter and has had moderate success so far. Chronic job hopper Todd Graham of ASU could make sense.
Plan D – The Sure Thing
At this point it would be one name, former LSU assistant Bo Pellini. He could surely manage to get out of the Youngstown t. job he just accepted if need be, and there is a 0% chance he says no.