It wasn't until Jimbo Fisher chose to remain at Florida State and Tom Herman opted for Texas that LSU turned its coaching search toward the interim incumbent, Ed Orgeron, and handed over the keys to a coach who as of that 2016 season was largely viewed as boyfriend material: good enough to date, surely — and he'd been a successful and beloved interim coach at two of the sport's elite brands — but not to marry.
That may be a kind description of Orgeron's brand value, even after he piloted the Tigers to a 5-2 finish to the regular season following Les Miles' dismissal that September. Three years earlier, he'd performed a similarly effective midseason turnaround amid emotionally charged circumstances at Southern California, going 6-2 as the replacement for Lane Kiffin and being carried off the field after one November win.
But old impressions die hard. In Orgeron's case, the stink of a failed three-year turn at Ole Miss from 2005-7 carried extensive weight among detractors unable to overlook that damaging first impression. He won only 10 games across his three seasons with the Rebels, capped by a disheartening Egg Bowl loss to rival Mississippi State, and was quickly pegged into the bittersweet category of talented assistant coaches not built to lead their own program.