Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin as head coach for eight games in 2013. He led the Trojans to a 6-2 record and the team finished No. 19 in the final Associated Press top 25 rankings that season. However, he was passed over for the permanent role and left the program.
Steve Sarkisian, a former Pete Carroll assistant, became the head coach for USC, but it wasn’t clear exactly why Orgeron was snubbed, especially with his sudden rise to prominence at LSU. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, a college football insider, had one theory about why Orgeron was not given the opportunity to take over USC. He said in an interview on “The Rich Eisen Show” on Monday that Orgeron didn’t fit the certain profile USC officials were hoping for.
“I really think it’s a USC issue,” Feldman said. “A lot of people at USC, especially back in that [former USC athletic director] Pat Haden regime who couldn’t get past what Ed Orgeron sounded like. They didn’t listen to the players. They didn’t listen to the staff. I think at the end of the day … Ed Orgeron is not a country club guy.”
Orgeron, who is from Larose, La., was hired as LSU’s defensive line coach in 2015 and was the replacement for Les Miles after Miles was fired in September 2016. Since then, he‘s put the Tigers back into the national spotlight and has them on the brink of a national championship game this season.
In four seasons at LSU, Orgeron is 38-9 and is 2-1 in bowl games. The team is ranked No. 1 this season and has a College Football Playoff semifinal matchup with Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, Sarkisian lasted less than two seasons at USC. The Trojans have not been in the mix for a national championship since the Carroll days and were under .500 in 2018 for the first time since 2000.