Leonard Fournette, Colin Jeter

LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) hurdles tight end Colin Jeter (81) during last year's Texas Bowl against Texas Tech.

AP Photo by Bob Levey

Amid the rising din of chatter about who LSU’s next football coach will be, a couple of things are getting lost in the noise:

1. LSU still has a game to play Thursday at Texas A&M.

2. That game may or may not go a long way to determining who the Tigers coach will be, but it could have an impact on where LSU goes bowling.

LSU’s Sugar Bowl hopes bloomed and shriveled with stunning rapidity, stuffed into a bag of wishful thinking at the Florida 1-yard line on the final play of the Tigers’ 16-10 loss to the Gators on Saturday.

Now out of the College Football Playoff Top 25 with hopes of playing Jan. 2 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome practically nil, where does LSU go?

After any Southeastern Conference teams get selected Dec. 4 for the College Football Playoff (cough, Alabama, cough, cough), a replacement SEC team will be picked for the Sugar Bowl based on its CFP rankings. Then the Citrus Bowl (Dec. 31 in Orlando, Florida,) gets to pick. Then the SEC slots available remaining teams in its “group of six” bowls: the Outback, TaxSlayer, Liberty, Music City, Texas and Belk. If any teams are left, which this year is likely, they can go to the Independence and Birmingham bowls.

More interesting than where LSU will go bowling is who will be coaching the Tigers when they get there.

If LSU retains Orgeron, he goes forward in his first game as the Tigers’ permanent head coach. If LSU hires someone else, there is the expectation that Orgeron may not stick around.

The new coach then could step in and take control, but this is often not the case. Typically they’re observing from a suite somewhere, looking down on the team being coached by a bunch of lame duck assistants.

The bet here is LSU would have to name yet another interim for the bowl if Orgeron doesn’t get the job. Someone has to make the final decisions, so we’ll say Steve Ensminger over Dave Aranda, though both would certainly have autonomy on their side of the ball to call plays and formations.

Let’s take a look at LSU’s bowl options. I’ve listed them in order of most to least likely:


Dec. 30, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Memphis, Tennessee

Geography and the fact it’s been since 1985 that LSU played in this game make this the Tigers’ most likely destination. LSU would play a team from the Big 12, possibly the winner of Friday’s TCU-Texas game. It would be mighty interesting for the Tigers and Longhorns if Tom Herman or Jimbo Fisher was set to be one of these teams’ next coach. Or both.


Dec. 31, 10 a.m. (ESPN)

Jacksonville, Florida

TaxSlayer Bowl President/CEO Rick Catlett is friends with LSU athletic director Joe Alleva. Though there’s only so much lobbying these bowls and teams can do with the SEC office picking the players, LSU hasn’t played here since this was the Gator Bowl in 1987. The opponent will be from the Big Ten or the ACC.


Jan. 2, noon (ABC)

Tampa, Florida

LSU played Iowa in this bowl just three years ago. The Tigers could go back with a win over the Aggies, but with Florida having played in the Citrus Bowl last year, we think this will be the Gators’ landing spot if they lose to Florida State and Alabama. The Big Ten is the matchup here, possibly Nebraska, which LSU has never beaten.


Dec. 30, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Nashville, Tennessee

LSU lost a thriller to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl two years ago. LSU could get sent back, but this seems much more likely to be an Ole Miss (if bowl eligible), Kentucky or Georgia. With Notre Dame (5-7 at best) likely staying home, the Big Ten will supply the opponent.


Dec. 28, 8 p.m. (ESPN)


The Texas Bowl got a sellout last year for LSU’s 56-27 rout of Texas Tech. But since the Tigers played here last year, and the fact they open the 2017 season in Houston against Brigham Young, LSU fans should figure this is their only trip to Space City in 2016.


Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Charlotte, North Carolina

I keep thinking LSU will never go here because of the distance from Baton Rouge to Charlotte (770 miles). Then again, ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Mark Schlabach project Arkansas making the even longer trip (944 miles) to play North Carolina. If LSU hires UNC’s Larry Fedora, the SEC would have to send the Tigers, wouldn’t they?


Dec. 31, 10 a.m. (ABC)

Orlando, Florida

For LSU to go here it would take Alabama and Tennessee being off the board, Auburn and Florida getting routed in their remaining games and LSU romping past Texas A&M to be ranked again. And, even then, no. Big Ten opponent.


Dec. 26, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)


A 6-5 LSU team could drop to the Indy, but South Carolina, Kentucky and Ole Miss (if eligible) seem more likely. The ACC is on the other sideline.


Dec. 29, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Birmingham, Alabama

Ditto what we just said about LSU and the Independence. It’s the SEC-American Athletic Conference matchup everyone clamors for every year. Thrilling.


Bill Bender, The Sporting News

Liberty vs. Baylor


Outback vs. Nebraska

Brad Crawford, 24/7 Sports

Outback vs. Nebraska

Bryan Fischer, NBCSports.com

Liberty vs. Kansas State

Jason Kirk, SBNation.com

TaxSlayer vs. Virginia Tech

Stewart Mandel, FoxSports.com

Belk vs. Virginia Tech

Brett McMurphy, ESPN.com

TaxSlayer vs. Georgia Tech

Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com

Liberty vs. Baylor

Brant Parsons, Orlando Sentinel

Outback vs. Penn State

Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com

Outback vs. Nebraska

Alex Shirkey, SECCountry.com

Citrus vs. Florida State

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​