Why Ole Miss football's Lane Kiffin should (and shouldn't) consider LSU, Oklahoma vacancies

Asia's Tech News Daily

OXFORD — Well, Lane Kiffin didn't go to Florida.

Nevertheless, the Ole Miss football coach spent the weekend after his team's 31-21 Egg Bowl win pouring heaps of gasoline onto the fire, staying on brand in coaching search season.

Hours after Florida hired Louisiana coach Billy Napier and USC hired Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, Kiffin started tweeting. With the LSU job still open, he tweeted a picture of a Louisiana license plate. Then he tweeted a picture of the New Orleans Superdome. Then he tweeted a picture of a Texas license plate, making his way through the southwest toward Oklahoma and its newly vacated coaching job.

TOPPMEYER: Where's Lane Kiffin headed next? To the New Year's Six with Ole Miss football

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: No one saw the best season in Ole Miss history coming. Except Lane Kiffin and his players.

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Kiffin's on the road recruiting. He retweeted a photo of himself and offensive line coach Jake Thornton visiting with three-star offensive line recruit Cam East on Sunday night. East lives in New Orleans. This isn't scandalous.

Still, Kiffin is coming off a 10-win season at Ole Miss, and LSU and Oklahoma are two schools with the best resources and biggest budgets in America. If they're interested in him, Kiffin should at least listen.

So just as we did with the Florida vacancy last week, let's break out the pros and cons and see what the verdict is for Kiffin pursuing these jobs.

The case for leaving Ole Miss

It's the same argument every week. Ole Miss is a smaller school with lesser resources than behemoths like Oklahoma and LSU. Mississippi doesn't have the same recruiting footprint as Louisiana nor does Ole Miss have the ability to win over recruits in Louisiana and Alabama like Oklahoma can in Texas.

Ole Miss' roster will need a complete overhaul next year. The Rebels may need to replace 14 starters, including quarterback Matt Corral, defensive end Sam Williams, linebackers Chance Campbell and Mark Robinson, safety Jake Springer and receivers Braylon Sanders and Dontario Drummond. Contrast that with Oklahoma returning all-world quarterback Caleb Williams and LSU having a commitment from 5-star quarterback Walker Howard.

And let's not dance around the money factor. Riley made about $8 million annually at Oklahoma. Orgeron made more than $9 million at LSU. Those are some of the biggest contracts in college football. If Kiffin can pull that kind of money, it'd be hard to turn down.

The case for staying at Ole Miss

First, and most importantly, these schools might not want Kiffin. The LSU job has been open for months and Kiffin has never felt like a serious contender. Kiffin has no serious connection to Oklahoma or recruiting in Big 12 country.

Kiffin's name comes up in these discussions because he left Tennessee for USC 12 years ago. Since then, he's shown a lot more patience than people give him credit for. He stayed at Alabama three years when he could've left after making the College Football Playoff in Year 1 or winning a national championship in Year 2. He stayed at Florida Atlantic three years after turning a 3-9 team into an 11-3 conference champion in Year 1.

His track record doesn't point to him jumping for any opportunity. He moves when the time is right. And it's yet to be seen if the time is right for LSU, which still has a cloud of doubt hanging over it with potential NCAA and legal investigations stemming from past regimes, or for Oklahoma as the Sooners transition into the SEC and winning might be a tougher task.

The verdict

These are two of the best jobs in college football. If you're offered them, you take them. Anyone would be foolish to turn down Oklahoma, especially an offensive-minded coach like Kiffin with the opportunity to lead an offensive powerhouse and coach a future NFL No. 1 pick in Williams.

LSU is a little more complicated. Oklahoma hasn't fired a coach since 1998. LSU has fired two national-championship-winning coaches since then. It's a place where coaches can win big, but it's also a place where two stagnant seasons lands you on the hot seat.

Ole Miss isn't a consolation prize. The ceiling isn't as high in Oxford, but the expectations are a lot lower. If Kiffin wants to win a championship, Oklahoma and LSU are better options. If he wants to hold out for whatever the dream job is and do so at a place where he'll have a much longer leash, staying put is the right choice.

Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or nsuss@gannett.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Why Lane Kiffin to LSU, Oklahoma does (and doesn't) make sense

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