Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin walks the sideline during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
- LSU and coach Ed Orgeron have agreed to part ways following the 2021 season
- Lane Kiffin, Luke Fickell and Billy Napier are the top candidates to replace Orgeron
- See below for odds to become the next Tigers coach, plus betting analysis
A coaching change is coming in Baton Rouge. LSU and coach Ed Orgeron have reached a separation agreement that will result in Orgeron not returning to coach the Tigers following the 2021 season.
Orgeron, who coached the Tigers to a National Championship in 2019, will finish the remainder of the season as LSU’s coach before parting ways with the university. If the team makes a bowl, Orgeron is also expected to coach that game.
Oregon and LSU parting ways in somewhat surprising, but the writing was on the wall. LSU has gone 9-8 (7-6 SEC) since winning the National Title, including some brutal upset losses.
Who will be LSU’s next head coach? Lane Kiffin, Luke Fickell and Billy Napier are the top candidates to be Coach O’s replacement.
Odds to Be Next LSU Football Head Coach
Odds as of October 18th
Kiffin, Fickell Among Top Candidates
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin and Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell are the top two favorites to be Orgeron’s replacement at LSU. Kiffin makes the most sense of the two given his SEC connections. The 46-year-old coached Tennessee in 2009 and spent two years as Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2014-2016 before becoming the Rebels’ coach in 2019.
One thing that can’t be denied about Orgeron was his elite recruiting ability. LSU athletic director Scott Woodward is going to be looking for someone who can recruit at a high level and make use of the resources and facilities at LSU. Kiffin landed the 18th best recruiting class in 2021 and has a great offensive mind.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) October 10, 2021
Fickell is the other top favorite to replace Orgeron, but he may be better suited for the other top coaching job. USC is currently looking for their next head coach after firing Clay Helton earlier in the season. Fickell is a midwest guy, however, and there’s a also a good chance he sticks in Cincinnati as the team transitions to the Big 12.
Louisiana coach Billy Napier rounds out the top-three favorites to be Oregon’s replacement. Napier should likely have better odds to be LSU’s next coach given his resume and location. Since becoming coach of the Ragin Cajuns, Napier has led them to a 33-12 record with three Sun Belt West division titles. Being in nearby Lafayette, LSU has likely been keeping close watch on Napier.
Franklin, Brady Are Intriguing Longshots
Penn State coach James Franklin and Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady are among the intriguing longshots to be the next coach at LSU. Franklin is a top-tier recruiter who checks all the boxes when it comes to a high-profile coaching job. The 49-year-old has proven with his time at Vanderbilt and Penn State that he can turn programs around.
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) October 13, 2021
Franklin is also a top name in the USC discussions, however, which means this could become a bidding war. Both USC and LSU are looking for several similar qualities in their next head coach. Franklin is one of the most accomplished coaches on this list, owning a 65-29 record at Penn State and leading the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Championship in his third year.
Brady is another intriguing option due to the role he played in the team’s 2019 National Championship run. Brady was the team’s passing coordinator during the magical undefeated year in which Joe Burrow won the Heisman and Ja’Marr Chase won the Biletnikoff. It’s believed Brady prefers the NFL to college, however, and his lack of head coaching experience puts him at a disadvantage.
Meyer, Gruden Unlikely Choices
If there’s one thing that LSU is likely going to stay away from when selecting their coach for the 2022 season, it’s controversy. Orgeron was involved in several off-the-field issues during his time with LSU, including a recent lawsuit that lists him as a defendant for failing to properly report an allegation of rape.
The lawsuit alleges Ed Orgeron was told by a former LSU football player that Derrius Guice raped his girlfriend, Ashlyn Robertson, and Orgeron did not report it. pic.twitter.com/IqoA2nry6O
— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) June 25, 2021
LSU wants a great football mind, but they’re unlikely to risk potentially off-field issues when making their selection. Urban Meyer is one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, but his reputation is at an all-time low right now. Not only are his Jaguars 1-5 to start the NFL year, but Meyer has been involved in a myriad of controversies since taking over the job.
Jon Gruden has the worst odds on this list for good reason. The former Las Vegas Raiders head coach recently resigned following reports that emails he wrote over a 10-year period included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language. Given what transpired with Orgeron in recent years, LSU isn’t going to be the team that gives Gruden that second chance.
There’s no clear frontrunner to be Ed Orgeron’s replacement at LSU, but Lane Kiffin, Billy Napier and James Franklin are all strong possibilities. Kiffin is properly listed as the favorite in the betting odds due to his entertaining personality, offensive mind and top-tier recruiting ability. Kiffin’s relationship with Saban is also significant, as LSU wants nothing more than to beat Alabama.
— Laura Goldman (@GOODasGOLDman) October 2, 2021
Franklin is another strong candidate, as LSU wants their defense to return to the standard it’s been in the past. Fickell’s name will continues to come up as well, but he’ll likely end up in Southern Cal if he does change places. LSU places emphasis on recruiting, which is an area Fickell could struggle in coming down south.
Billy Napier is where the value is at in the odds to be LSU’s next coach. He’s worked under two of CFB’s best coaches in Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, and has used his lessons there to transform Louisiana into a powerhouse. Napier already recruits well in the state and has existing relationships LSU would love to capitalize on.
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years of experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.