Texas A M Missouri Football

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, pictured in an undated photo from earlier this season.

As the days until LSU names a new football coach dwindle, so does the list of likely or at least plausible candidates.

We figure athletic director Scott Woodward has been winnowing his list down for a long time now. I would be surprised if he has a list of more than five likely candidates at this point, with the expectation that he would not get to the end of that list before he gets a “yes.”

Our list remains a little longer for now, but we too are starting to pare down. In previous versions we went with 10 names. Today, we trim that to eight. Not all of these can be or are prime candidates, but all are names worth mentioning because of speculation regarding the job.

As before, candidates have been listed in alphabetical order. Odds are my own:

DAVE ARANDA

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Baylor head coach, second.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 45 (Born Sept. 29, 1976); Redlands, California.

SALARY: N/A*.

RECORD: 9-9 overall, 7-2 this season, team ranked No. 18 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? A 30-28 loss to TCU, dropping Aranda’s career record to 9-9, reminds you how small a sample size he has as a head coach. Odds 20-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Oklahoma, 11 a.m., Fox.

LUKE FICKELL

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Cincinnati head coach, fifth.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 48 (Born Aug. 18, 1973); Columbus, Ohio.

SALARY: $3.4 million.

RECORD: 50-21 OVERALL, 44-14 at Cincinnati, 9-0 this season, team ranked No. 2 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Bearcats barely won again, beating Tulsa 28-20. If they stay unbeaten and get in the CFP, Fickell is off the list. Odds 50-1.

NEXT GAME: Friday at USF, 5 p.m., ESPN2.

JIMBO FISHER

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Texas A&M head coach, fourth.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 56 (Born Oct. 9, 1965); Clarksburg, West Virginia.

SALARY: $9 million.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 116-35 overall, 33-12 at Texas A&M, 7-2 this season, team ranked No. 11 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Aggies have bounced back from a slow start and are 17-3 the past two seasons. Jimbo still looks like the apple of Woodward’s eye. Odds 5-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Ole Miss, 6 p.m., ESPN

JAMES FRANKLIN

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Penn State head coach, eighth.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 49 (Born Feb. 2, 1972); Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

SALARY: $5.5 million.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 90-46 overall, 66-31 at Penn State, 6-3 this season, team ranked No. 23 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Snapped three-game losing streak with 31-14 win at Maryland. Odds grow longer each week. Odds 30-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Michigan, 11 a.m., ABC.

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LANE KIFFIN

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Ole Miss head coach, second.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 46 (Born May 9. 1975); Lincoln, Nebraska.

SALARY: $4.5 million (is due $500,000 retention bonus Dec. 31).

RECORD: 73-41 overall, 12-7 at Ole Miss, 7-2 this season, team ranked No. 12 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Do more than gain a lot of yards, Lane. Win a big game and we’ll talk. Saturday would be a start. Odds 25-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Texas A&M, 6 p.m., ESPN.

BILLY NAPIER

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Louisiana head coach, fourth.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 42 (Born July 21, 1979); Chatsworth, Georgia.

SALARY: $2 million.

RECORD: 36-12 overall, 8-1 this season, team ranked No. 24 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? UL won its fourth straight SBC West title, edging Georgia State 21-17. Very good coach, but needs to take lower-level Power 5 job first. Odds 30-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Troy, 2:30 p.m., ESPN+.

LINCOLN RILEY

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Oklahoma head coach, fifth.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 38 (Born Sept. 5, 1983); Muleshoe, Texas.

SALARY: $7.9 million.

RECORD: 54-8 overall, 9-0 this season, team ranked No. 4 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Idle last week, if Riley’s Sooners keep winning they’ll be back in the CFP (currently No. 8). LSU can’t wait out the playoffs for a coach. Odds 35-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Baylor, 11 a.m., Fox.

MEL TUCKER

CURRENT POSITION, SEASON: Michigan State head coach, second.

AGE; HOMETOWN: 49 (Born Jan. 4, 1972); Cleveland.

SALARY: $5.5 million.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 15-13 overall, 10-6 at Michigan State, 8-1 this season, team ranked No. 8 AP.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? A 40-29 loss to Purdue does little to dim Tucker’s star if you’re looking at his overall resume. We’ll rank him just behind Fisher for now. Odds 7-1.

NEXT GAME: Saturday vs. Maryland, 3 p.m., Fox.

OFF THE LIST

Matt Campbell, Iowa State: Always a name when big jobs come open, but there’s no measurable heat here.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: Unless he’s mad at ungrateful Clemson fans grumbling over the Tigers' 6-3 record, why would he leave?

*-Private schools and NFL teams are not required to reveal coaches’ salaries.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com

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