LSU announced Sunday that they are parting ways with coach Ed Orgeron. That means speculation season is in full swing.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is among the big names that LSU could go after, one national pundit reported Monday, while another suggested the ACC Tigers leader should be the No. 1 target for the opening.
“LSU AD Scott Woodward LOVES splashy hires and to swing for the fences,” said Bruce Feldman, a national writer for The Athletic and contributor to Fox Sports.
Orgeron led the school to the 2019 national championship in a win over Clemson. The school is letting Orgeron finish out the season.
Feldman said Swinney could get strong consideration as a candidate, evening citing a source as saying Woodward is “gonna make him say no.”
Another national analyst thinks Swinney would be a good fit for the LSU job.
Fox Sports national college football writer RJ Young has Swinney on the top of his list of coaches that LSU should target. Others on the list are Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher.
Fisher is a former LSU assistant and just signed a contract extension with the Aggies through 2031. He addressed the LSU rumors on Monday.
“I love being here. I plan on being at A&M and fulfilling my contract,” Fisher told reporters. “... I love everything about the people here and the administration here.”
Unlike Fisher, Swinney has no direct ties to the LSU program. At 4-2 this season, Clemson is struggling this season by its high standards and is not ranked in the Top 25. The Tigers are a 3-point underdog at Pittsburgh this week, the first time Clemson has not been favored in a regular-season game since 2016.
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Dabo Swinney buyout
In 2019, Swinney signed a 10-year, $93 million deal that at the time made him the second-highest paid coach in college football per year behind only Saban. If Swinney leaves on his own for a college head coaching position, his contract buyout is $3 million in 2021, $2 million in 2023 and reaches its lowest point at $1 million in 2026.
There is no buyout if he leaves for an NFL job.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about it. I’ve come a long way, that’s for sure,” Swinney said after signing the extension. “But just blessed to have been around a lot of great people along the way and just try to be a good steward of all the blessings God has given me, and hopefully, like I said, we can be here for a long time.”
Swinney is often mentioned as a possible successor at his alma mater when Nick Saban retires — but his buyout increases if he leaves for Alabama, according to a clause in his contract.
Some have written that Swinney might be a good fit in the NFL, and his name was mentioned for the Jacksonville Jaguars opening last year when the team had the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Jags eventually hired former Florida and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, and selected former Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
“Reaction was just, laughed at it. Had a little fun with Trevor,” Swinney said in September of 2020. But man I’m not worried about the AFC or NFC — I don’t even know what they are.”
Swinney built Clemson into one of the elite college football programs after taking over for Tommy Bowden in the middle of the 2008 season. The Tigers have made six straight appearances in the College Football playoff and won national championships in 2016 and 2018.
Next LSU coach betting odds
For what it’s worth, the betting site sportsbetting.ag doesn’t list Swinney among its list of favorites to be the next LSU coach. That site considers Kiffin, Fisher, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Louisiana’s Billy Napier as the favorites.