LSU has a head start in finding Les Miles' replacement, and that's a good thing, because after logical choice No.1, Houston's Tom Herman, there aren't a lot of other big names LSU has a chance to land.
That hasn't stopped many from speculating that everyone and anyone would go to LSU, despite the well-known chaos in the athetlic department and a massive state budget shortfall that could threaten the football program.
Here are eight names that have been suggested to replace Miles at LSU and the reasons why it's a pipe dream they'd take the job in Baton Rouge:
Chris Petersen - Washington head coach
The former Boise State coach is a proven program builder, getting Washington into the Top-10 after years of wild success in Idaho. He would be a perfect hire at LSU, but Petersen wouldn’t leave Washington, a job he held out for, to go to the SEC, where he has no ties. It's a terrible fit.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
Brett Bielema - Arkansas head coach
It’s not outrageous to think that LSU would be interested in Bielema, but it’d be hard to see him heading south. Arkansas already pays him more than $4 million a year and that number could jump significantly should he get interest from a deep-pocketed school. He also has built a foundation of what he’d like to do at Arkansas, and the expectations are far lower there than they would be, immediately, at LSU. He is, by all accounts, completely happy in Fayetteville. Also, if Bielema were to leave Arkansas, he’d be chancing losing to the program he built annually for a few years. Why would anyone sign up for that kind of referendum?
Getty ImagesWesley Hitt
David Shaw - Stanford head coach
Shaw has a great, relatively low-stress situation at Stanford. The only job he might consider leaving the Cardinal for is an NFL gig, but he's passed on those recently. The chaotic situation between the power brokers at LSU would be an immediate turn-off.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Gruden - ESPN announcer
The window for Gruden to return to coaching is nearing an end, if it hasn’t already closed. ESPN pays him as well as a Power 5 head coach, and his life is an estimated 5,000 percent less stressful. There’s a romantic notion of hiring Gruden out there, but that’s more based on the fact that he’s on TV frequently and likable than his credentials to actually coach a team. This would be the ultimate desperation move by LSU.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Art Briles - former Baylor head coach
Briles can apologize and admit that “stuff” happened all he wants -- he’s not been exonerated in Baylor’s sexual assault scandal. Any athletic director that hires him would be banking on the gray area that currently exists to remain gray in perpetuity. But they’d have his word that he did nothing wrong backing up that morally dubious decision... I don’t know how complicit Briles was in creating a dangerous environment at Baylor, but he’s going to need to provide some hard evidence that the claims levied against him are false. He’s yet to do that. He did hire a new agent though…
Jimbo Fisher - Florida State head coach
Why would Fisher leave Florida State? Money? FSU doesn’t lack for money. Program stature? What does LSU boast that FSU doesn’t have right now? And if your goal is to win the National Championship, you’d rather be in the ACC. Fisher would be leaving what might be the best situation in America for a program that has, arguably, a marginally higher ceiling. The only reason he would do that is out of boredom or if there’s some massive issue between Fisher and the FSU administration we don’t know about.
Dabo Swinney - Clemson head coach
All that stuff said about Fisher -- the same goes for Swinney. What would be his incentive to leave? A few extra million? That won’t buy him the opportunity to coach his son’s Little League team, like he does at Clemson. The upside potential of LSU is inarguably higher than Clemson’s, but Dabo has a perfect situation in South Carolina, and it’s almost entirely of his making. Now, if this was the Alabama job, you could make the case Dabo might leave, but LSU is not the job that is going to pull him out of Clemson.
Bobby Petrino - Louisville head coach
Louisville boasts one of the richest athletic departments in the nation, meaning that Petrino can name his price to stay. Petrino has a top team, money wouldn’t be an issue, and he finally seems to have gotten himself back to the top from rock-bottom -- he can thank Louisville for helping him do that. He’s indebted, to a degree. He’s also chased name-recognition jobs before -- it didn’t work out. He’s smart enough to know that and not try again.