LSU's search for a new head football coach is in the home stretch. Since the announcement in mid-October (doesn't that seem like a year ago!) that Ed Orgeron would not return for the 2022 season, speculation as to who would be at the Tigers' helm next fall has filled websites and airwaves.

Early frontrunners including Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher (who proclaimed himself "dumb" if he were to leave College Station) and Mel Tucker at Michigan State (amazing how a $95 million contract extension inspires loyalty to ol' Sparty) have fallen by the wayside.

Other seemingly solid candidates, Cincinnati's Luke Fickell and Carolina Panther's Offensive Coordinator (and former Tigers assistant) Joe Brady, never seemed to get any real traction.

And a last minute name, former Penn State and Houston Texans boss, Bill O'Brien, was immediately shouted down by both boosters and fans.

But now, according to the the experts, it seems to be down to three. Two of the top candidates were mentioned early. One is a just-in-the-running possibility. One would leave Tigers' faithful cheering. One would leave them hopeful. The third would have them saying, "Who?"

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Matt Campbell - Iowa State

Campbell, the current Iowa State boss, is the late-comer to the LSU coaching sweepstakes. He's young (41), a former offensive coordinator and pretty inexpensive (about $4 million a year now). The drawbacks? Iowa State is only his second big-college coaching job. And that's only if you call Toledo big. Plus, do LSU fans really want a new head coach whose record in 2021 is 6-5?

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Billy Napier - University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The selection of Napier would make fans across the state cheer with hope. His success in Lafayette is impressive (38-12) and his coaching pedigree is top notch (pre-UL assistant jobs at Clemson and Alabama). But, LSU fans think they deserve a Top 10 Division I coach. The question is, does the LSU brass think the same thing?

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Dave Aranda - Baylor

Without a doubt, Aranda would make LSU fans across the state stand up and cheer. Not only was he the defensive coordinator on the 2019 National Championship team, but he's turned around a moribund Baylor program in only his second season (the Bears are 9-2 this year). Drawbacks? The fans in Waco are far more patient - and forgiving - than the ones in Baton Rouge and Aranda knows it.

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