By Ed Daniels, Clarion Herald Sports
For LSU, it is a home run hire.
Scott Woodward, an LSU and Catholic High graduate, comes home to be the new director of athletics.
Since LSU made the announcement, stories have popped up in print about Woodward’s deep ties to his home state. He fishes at Port Fourchon, owns property in the French Quarter and counts political consultant James Carville as one his many friends.
As great as all of those stories appear to be, my guess is Woodward came home for another big reason. That is, the LSU job is a better job than the one at Texas A&M.
That’s right. Even though A&M has enough cash to offer its new football coach a guaranteed $75 million contract, with no buyout, LSU is still the better spot.
The SEC, for all of its notoriety in multiple sports, will always be a football league. And, in football, LSU’s resumé dwarfs that of their affluent neighbors to the west.
Since 1998, Texas A&M has had one 10-win season.
In the same period, LSU has had 10 seasons of at least 10 victories, including two national championships under two different coaches and another appearance in the championship game.
Since Texas A&M joined the SEC in the summer of 2012, the Aggies have one football victory over LSU, and it took seven overtimes to get it last November.
The hiring of Jimbo Fisher as the football coach in College Station was supposed to be the great equalizer for the Aggies in the SEC West. Fisher was hired to get Texas A&M past LSU and move the Aggies to the same level with the University of Alabama.
It may happen. However, in the latest 2020 recruiting rankings by the website 247sports, Alabama is No. 1, LSU is No. 2, and Texas A&M is No. 23. Again, it is very early in the game. But, the website gigemgazette.com notes that the Aggies were a consistent top five in the recruiting rankings a year ago.
In Louisiana, LSU is expected to get most of the outstanding players. In Texas, A&M recruits against the University of Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, TCU and others. The best players in that state have many options to play top-shelf college football. In Louisiana, there is one option.
Athletic directors at LSU will always be judged by results in one sport. LSU legend Paul Dietzel was sacked by the board of supervisors after a 3-7-1 season in 1981, including an unthinkable 48-7 loss to Tulane in the Superdome.
Joe Dean’s tenure as the LSU AD included the hiring of football coach Curley Hallman (not good) and Gerry DiNardo (good for a while).
In November 1999, when LSU hired Nick Saban, the search was led by chancellor Mark Emmert. And, of course, Joe Alleva was on the clock after the mismanagement of Les Miles, who was on the chopping block but given a reprieve after, ironically, a win over Texas A&M in 2015.
Woodward came home, because well, it is home. But, his top priority is to advance the cause of overthrowing a team in crimson to the east.
While a daunting task, history tells us it will be easier to accomplish from Baton Rouge than from College Station.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.