Orgeron, LSU not so bad in the wacky world of college coaches, elite programs
When considering the plight of Ed Orgeron, whose fortunes improved dramatically in one week, one must consider the entire horizon of college football, including some traditionally strong programs and elite coaches.
Everyone remembers the Joe Alleva coaching search to replace Les Miles.
Jimbo Fisher said no. Tom Herman used LSU to get the job at Texas. Houston remains solid without Herman, starting 4-1 under new head coach Major Applewhite of Catholic High in Baton Rouge. The only Cougar loss was a 27-24 defeat at the hands of a top 25 team in Texas Tech.
While Orgeron has LSU at 4-2 and 1-1 in SEC play, Florida State is 1-3 and unranked under Jimbo Fisher.
Texas is 3-2 and unranked under Tom Herman.
Jim Harbaugh, considered to be the transcendent coach in the country at Michigan, lost to Michigan State at home. He is now 1-4 combined against Michigan State and Ohio State.
Urban Meyer lost at home to Oklahoma and had a flag planted on his team’s logo.
Oklahoma, in turn, lost at home to Iowa State under its first-year head coach Lincoln Riley and had a flag planted on its field.
How unusual is the state of college football in 2017? Two teams from the state of Washington are in the top 10. North Carolina State is a top 25 team.
Consider the fact that San Diego State and Navy are in the top 25. Washington State is a top 10 team. South Florida and Central Florida are ranked while Florida and Florida State are not ranked. Such is the world of college football in 2017.
While Mark Richt was a good coach at Georgia and remains a good coach at Miami, the Bulldogs are unbeaten and ranked fourth in the nation under Kirby Smart.
Then, of course, there is Nick Saban.
He is in a different league and so is his program, with all due respect to Dabo Swinney, who has done it brilliantly over a much shorter period of time. There is no denying Saban’s sustained excellence over an extended period of time. He will go down in history as one of the best ever, much to the chagrin of many LSU fans. Swinney, an Alabama product, is as good as it gets as an outstanding coach, motivator and positive thinker.
Miles now has his own blog. No doubt he does not miss others blogging in critical, negative fashion about the job did at LSU. No doubt that he sees some or the blog conversations concerning Orgeron.
With scholarship limits, everyone on television on a regular basis and the three-year rule in place for NFL draft eligibility, the playing field has leveled, to a degree. The powerhouse programs remain at or near the top of the heap. Where things have leveled off are in the 20-60 range. Teams at the lower end of that spectrum can now compete and compete very well with those at the top of the equation.
Fisher is still an elite coach. He had the bad fortune of scheduling Saban and Alabama to start the season and lost his star quarterback, Deondre Francois, for the season. Herman got a big overtime win over Kansas State last week and he inherited a program that has had three consecutive losing seasons. Harbaugh has clearly improved the Michigan program while making enemies along the way as only he can. Meyer always Ohio State knocking on the door of the playoffs.
The path is simple, yet complicated.
You must make sound decisions in recruiting, make the right talent evaluation, choose players who fit the respective schemes you employ and then develop the talent on hand.
In the case of LSU, there have been less than sound decisions in recruiting, some misses in talent evaluation, trying to fit square pegs into round holes in terms of schemes and respective player talents and some clear questions regarding developing those players who were signed.
That said, there is still some talent on hand at LSU and the fact that Orgeron has been forced to play a slew of young players will improve yearly, if not weekly. He is not responsible for most of the talent on hand. That would be attributable to Miles.
Orgeron is just starting. He deserves a chance. Would you rather be in his position or in the one Fisher or even Herman is now? Such is the current state of the wacky world of college football.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…