LSU football is a program in crisis. And the claustrophobic, unfolding horror of it is there may be no way to coerce the Soviets to pull the missiles out of Cuba anytime soon.
LSU has now suffered two historic defeats in the last three games.
First was a 37-7 rout at Mississippi State that included the most points ever scored by the Bulldogs against the Tigers. Said Bulldogs were so inspired they lost their next two games by a combined 80-13 to Georgia and Auburn.
The second was Saturday’s 24-21 loss to Troy, a three-touchdown underdog and the first non-Power Five conference team to beat LSU in 17 years. That was sandwiched around an unimpressive 35-26 win over Syracuse in which the Tigers failed to cover the point spread by double digits.
The question now deserves be asked:
They fired Les Miles for this?
I understand many of the reasons LSU parted ways with Miles a year ago. Looming large among them was the Tigers’ eroding depth on the offensive and defensive lines, which is coming home to roost for Ed Orgeron this season.
I also understood then as I do now that it would be quite a task for his replacement, any replacement, to win 77 percent of his games, win a national title and play for another, win two Southeastern Conference titles and play for a third, and make a bowl for 11 straight seasons as Miles did.
Can't see video below? Click here.
As was the case with Miles, especially over his last five-plus seasons, it’s not just the games LSU is losing but the perception of the program that the losses and even the wins leave behind.
Orgeron said he would let Matt Canada have autonomy to run his new-fangled offense. But he admittedly vetoed the game plan against Troy. He said it was the first and last time, but the lack of Canada’s patented shifts and stunts in earlier games suggests it wasn’t the first time. And it leaves one to doubt whether Orgeron can be taken at his word moving forward.
Orgeron threw shade on running back Nick Brossette after he fumbled on LSU’s first play from scrimmage against Troy, referring to him as the Tigers’ “third-string running back.” That follows an earlier statement after the State debacle in which he said running backs coach Tommie Robinson handles the running back rotation. Both imply a lack of preparation and basic knowledge by the head coach. Then there’s the haphazard-looking way LSU has alternated Danny Etling and Myles Brennan at quarterback.
These stomach-churning episodes and losses have caused many to question the decision to hire Orgeron, the fear being he’s closer to being the coach who won three SEC games in three seasons at Ole Miss than the one who went 6-2 in interim stints at LSU and Southern California.
It’s time to get back on track, time to mature and time to start winning.
Someone started a GoFundMe.com account called “Save LSU Football,” targeting a goal of $12 million to buy out Orgeron and athletic director Joe Alleva.
As of Tuesday evening, $340 was raised.
Maybe the GoFundMe thing was intended as a joke, but the notion of buying out Orgeron after one full season is absurd from at least a financial perspective.
LSU wouldn’t owe Orgeron $12 million after this season, but about $8.8 million if it paid him $3.2 million of his $3.5 million salary over the first 11 months of 2017. After paying Miles $133,000 a month a year into his buyout, LSU still owes him about $7.9 million, minus any TV salary he’s earned.
Then there are the coordinators. You have to assume a new coach would want to hire his own staff, not even keeping defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. That’s about another $6 million to buy out the highest-paid pair of coordinators in college football.
Christian LaCouture does not want to hear anymore about how LSU coach Ed Orgeron should be f…
That brings that tab to $22.7 million. That’s before buying out any position coaches, or Alleva, who as I wrote in November has tied his fate as LSU’s A.D. to Orgeron like an anchor or a savior.
LSU doesn’t have a spare $23 million-plus just lying around, nor the deep-pocketed boosters often assumed to be waiting to scratch a check for a million or so. The water around Alleva may get hotter, but he still has friends in high places, like in the LSU president’s office and on LSU’s Board of Supervisors. It’s important to remember that though Alleva got on the radio about a year ago and huffed “I’m the search!” he had four others on the search committee. Those are people who would now have to fire him, deciding Alleva couldn’t be trusted to make yet another football coaching hire if Coach O really has to go.
If you’re an LSU fan, you have to hope Orgeron isn’t Ole Miss Ed but Interim Ed. Or that it derails so badly changes have to be made ASAP. Either way, LSU football is currently in a crisis. Like a ship caught in a storm at sea, there’s no choice but to plow through.