The hottest name in college football right now is Tom Herman, as oddsmakers have made him the top candidate to replace recently fired LSU head coach, Les Miles. Betting lines on who will replace this mega-successful coach opened with Herman at -115, but we'll dig the market a little more before placing any bets on Houston's coach. Make sure to join us as we preview the offerings and serve a free pick on the best available value.
Crushing Loss Last Straw For Miles
Is it shocking that Miles won't be LSU's coach next season? No, but the suddenness this year is. Miles was nearly fired at the end of the 2015 season. The Tigers started 7-0 last year and looked like legitimate national championship contenders at No. 5 in the polls. Running back Leonard Fournette was the Heisman Trophy favorite on college football odds. But then LSU lost to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss by double digits. There was a lot of talk that the team's Nov. 28 home finale was going to be it for Miles, but LSU beat Texas A&M 19-7, Miles was carried off the field by his players and the school announced he was staying.
But certainly, Miles entered this season on one of the hottest seats around. It only got warmer when the No. 5 Tigers were upset in Week 1 by unranked Wisconsin. The final straw was Saturday's 18-13 loss at unranked Auburn, which essentially ended LSU's hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff. It's amazing what a difference one second can make. That's because LSU QB Danny Etling appeared to get a last-gasp snap off and throw the winning touchdown pass, but officials ruled Etling didn't quite get the ball snapped before the clock reached all zeroes. Miles said afterward that officials told him they were adding three seconds to the clock but that didn't happen.
Miles was hired by LSU in 2005 after serving as Oklahoma State's coach the previous four seasons. Miles succeeded Nick Saban, who left for the Miami Dolphins, and led LSU to the BCS national title in 2007. Miles finishes his LSU tenure with a 114-34 record. Also fired was offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Assistant Ed Orgeron, a former Ole Miss head coach, and USC interim head coach, takes over the rest of the season.
Herman, Fisher Then The Rest
No shock that Houston's Herman is the -115 favorite at BookMaker. He is quite simply the hottest name in college football for what he has done in his not even two full seasons with the Cougars. Herman is often compared to Urban Meyer when Meyer was a rising superstar in the coaching ranks at Utah. Of course, Meyer took the Florida job in 2005 over the Notre Dame opening. Now at Ohio State, Meyer has won three national titles in his career. When the Buckeyes won it all two seasons ago, Herman was Meyer's offensive coordinator.
LSU likely did this now instead of waiting after the season so it could get a head start over any other top programs that could have an opening after the season. Southern Cal, for example.
There have been reports that LSU already has reached out to Herman's agents. "I can say unequivocally nobody has contacted me," Herman said Sunday night to the local Houston media. Last season Herman was linked to job openings at South Carolina, Missouri, and Georgia. The LSU job is certainly better than the South Carolina or Missouri jobs.
Herman certainly won't disrespect his own players by addressing the LSU opening. The Cougars are unbeaten and No. 6 in the nation. If they win out, and only a visit by No. 3 Louisville likely stands in their way, Houston should get a spot in the College Football Playoff. But what might determine if Herman decides to stay there is whether the Big 12 decides to expand and chooses Houston as one of the schools. if that happens, UH will be flush with new money and can make Herman one of the highest-paid coaches in college football. And he would be in a Power 5 Conference. The Big 12 is expected to make a decision next month. Herman also could be a top candidate at Texas if that school fires Charlie Strong.
Florida State's Jimbo Fisher is +250 on college football odds. Fisher was the guy whom the influential LSU boosters were targeting last year when thinking about firing Miles. If Fisher had agreed to leave, then Miles would have been gone. Fisher is at a pretty good spot where he is but is also a former LSU assistant. Fisher helped develop JaMarcus Russell into a No. 1 overall pick while in Baton Rouge.
There's a huge drop-off after Herman and Fisher; the other betting options are Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury (+1600), Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin (+2000), TCU's Gary Patterson (+2000), Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy (+2000), Orgeron (+2300), Louisville's Bobby Petrino (+2500), North Carolina's Larry Fedora (+2500), Utah's Kyle Whittingham (+3000), Boise State's Bryan Harsin (+3500), Cal's Sonny Dykes (+4000), Arizona State's Todd Graham (+4000), former Baylor coach Art Briles (+6000), North Dakota State's Chris Klieman (+6000) or any other coach at +350.
The thinking is that LSU wants an offensive guy because the offense was always the problem under Miles. I believe all those guys listed above would take the job except for Petrino as he owes Louisville for saving his career. Briles would be a fantastic hire from an offensive standpoint but his reputation is in tatters at the moment with all the off-field issues while he was at Baylor. The only way Orgeron keeps the job is if LSU wins out.
NCAAF Free Pick: I think Herman either stays put or waits for the Texas job, which is one of the few jobs in the country better than LSU. While I think the field is the best bet -- Chip Kelly anyone? -- I'm going to go with Fisher here. Might be time for him to leave Tallahassee, and he was genuinely interested last year.