Texas A&M just guaranteed Jimbo Fisher $7.5 million for 10 years, the kind of third-world country gross national product his agent Jimmy Sexton wanted out of LSU last year to get Fisher to come to Baton Rouge.
Auburn just tore up Gus Malzahn’s contract running through 2020 and gave him a new seven-year deal worth $7 million per year for going 9-3 — a season that included a blown 20-point lead to LSU.
LSU, by comparison, signed Ed Orgeron a year ago for the bargain price of $3.5 million per year for five years, plus a potential $1.5 million in incentives (not such a bargain) that he can earn each year.
The Jimbo Fisher era of Texas A&M football officially began Monday morning as the former Florida State coach made his introduction on camp…
Is LSU going to wind up with buyer’s remorse, wishing it hadn’t been so cheap and gotten Fisher to come for whatever the cost? Or will LSU end up looking shrewd when Texas A&M and Fisher end up breaking themselves on the rock that is Alabama’s Capstone, like everyone else?
LSU may have missed an opportunity with Fisher in 2015, deciding to hold onto Les Miles for 2016. Make that four games into 2016, when after a mismanaged-clock loss to Auburn the school finally dumped Miles and made Orgeron its interim coach.
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It’s worth remembering that there are no givens in college coaching — unless you’re hiring, say, Saban or Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. I used to put Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh in that category, but Harbaugh’s act is starting to wear thin in Ann Arbor now that he’s 0-3 against Meyer’s Buckeyes. Harbaugh faces a big year in 2018.
So does Orgeron. And Malzahn. And what if Saban goes a third straight year without a national championship (Gasp!)?
It’s an increasingly demanding world for college coaches. Schools expect lots of trophies for their enormous investments. Remember, the Auburn that just gave Malzahn a $2 million-plus raise was poised to fire him if LSU won that game in 2016 that got Miles canned.
ATLANTA — Friday marked the 10th anniversary of Les Miles’ bizarre “Have a great day!” speech on the eve of the 2007 SEC Championship Game.
Should LSU have paid whatever it took to keep Fisher out of the SEC West? Maybe. Personally, I don’t think he’s worth what Texas A&M is paying him. No coach is, frankly, unless we’re talking a Saban- or Meyer-type résumé. Maybe.
I really think there should be a $1 million cap on college coaches. After all, it’s not as though they’re curing cancer or solving the North Korean dilemma or even curing the traffic issues plaguing LSU home games.
Is Fisher going to make life tougher for Coach O and LSU? If by tougher you mean that LSU won’t go 6-0 against him like it did against Fisher’s predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, then yes.
But I’m not convinced Texas A&M, which hasn’t won a national championship in 78 years and hasn’t even won a conference title in approaching two decades, is going to suddenly put LSU in a dark hole and throw away the key, no matter who is coaching.
You have to spend money to be competitive in college athletics, no doubt, but throwing gobs of money at a problem isn’t necessarily the right answer.
The jury is still out on Orgeron, who was in boiling water after losing to Mississippi State and Troy but now has LSU in the SEC’s top non-CFP bowl for the second straight year. It was a year in which the Tigers won six SEC games for the first time since 2012, and if they beat Notre Dame, they have a chance to win 10 for the first time since 2013. It’s been two promising months, perhaps making Coach O deserving of a raise.
LSU punter Josh Growden needed one word this year to describe his team’s bowl destination: Again.
It’s going to be a fascinating experiment to see if LSU can return to national prominence despite practicing relative fiscal restraint. If it doesn’t work, though, there will be pressure to raid the treasury as they’ve done at Texas A&M, Auburn and elsewhere for the next coach.