It took a blocked extra point, but the Florida State Seminoles eked out a road victory over the rival Miami Hurricanes last Saturday night, winning by a final score of 20-19. Although the Seminoles fought valiantly and earned their seventh straight win against the Hurricanes, the 2016 campaign is already a lost cause for FSU, as two early-season losses prematurely ended any realistic hopes of the ‘Noles winning the ACC or earning a College Football Playoff berth.
Sure, the ACC is having a solid season in terms of top-tier teams, while the SEC is having an uncharacteristically sub-par year in that regard, but championships still run through the SEC. The ACC has several bottom feeders showing no signs of reaching college football prominence anytime soon, and the SEC has only a few such teams. Therefore, it would be perfectly understandable for Fisher to be considering a return to the LSU Tigers.
Rewind to LSU’s national championship-winning 2003 season. Nick Saban was then the head coach of the Tigers, and his right-hand man was none other than Jimbo Fisher, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Tigers. Later opting to join the Seminoles in 2007 as an unofficial coach in waiting under Bobby Bowden, Fisher has since experienced ample on-field prosperity in Tallahassee as both a coordinator and a head coach. Fisher’s Seminoles won the ACC title three straight years, from 2012 to 2014, with a national title in the middle of that stretch. But has Fisher maximized his success at the program?
Last season ended on a conspicuously low note for the ‘Noles, when they were trounced by the Houston Cougars in the Peach Bowl, and, thus far, this season has been the most underwhelming FSU football season since Fisher was hired as the head coach. The Clemson Tigers seem to be the new sheriff in town for the time being, as far as conference dominance is concerned, and, with excellent leadership at the head coaching position, the Louisville Cardinals, Miami Hurricanes and North Carolina Tar Heels have all returned to prominence. For most of Fisher’s tenure as the head ball coach in Tallahassee, the ACC has been conspicuously weak, but, due to recent conference expansion and the aforementioned smart coaching hires, that paradigm has shifted, and should continue to shift, in the opposite direction.
With all of that being said, it should not be considered a surprise if Fisher bolts Florida State to take the LSU head coaching job. Even with the now former head coach Les Miles on the hot seat since the middle of last season, LSU was primed to sport a top-10 2017 recruiting class, so Fisher could walk right into a gold mine. Fisher’s current monster contract with FSU runs through 2022, but he could garner just as lucrative of a deal in Baton Rouge if he chose to take his talents there.
LSU is certain not to rush the hiring process, likely choosing to wait until after the season to begin a legitimate search for potential candidates. One of those candidates will almost definitely be Fisher, and, if the Seminoles’ season continues to follow its current trajectory, Fisher might requite that interest. Some of Jimbo’s best coaching years occurred at LSU, and he may be viewed by the LSU administration as the best man for the job of returning the Tigers to national championship form.
There is still plenty of football to be played in 2016, and Florida State could very well use the momentum produced by the victory in Coral Gables to turn its season around. But the wheel might already be turning in Coach Fisher’s mind regarding where he might roam the sidelines in 2017. Chances are, he will stick around for ultra-talented quarterback Deondre Francois’s redshirt sophomore season under center at Florida State, but he could venture back to the bayou for an exciting new challenge at LSU. Stay tuned.