BATON ROUGE - Is LSU just a steppingstone to greatness now?
All over tonight's BCS national championship game between Alabama and Texas, that will be evident.
Alabama coach Nick Saban's unparalleled success at LSU from 2000-04 got him the best NFL offer in history.
Texas defensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp was LSU's defensive coordinator from 2002-04.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, a hot head coaching prospect at the moment, was LSU's defensive backs coach in 2004.
Alabama linebacker coach/assistant head coach Sal Sunseri, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Bobby Williams and defensive line coach Bo Davis, who is a former LSU defensive lineman, were all on Saban's staff at LSU.
Texas coach Mack Brown was a very successful quarterbacks coach at LSU in 1982 and long desired to be LSU's head coach. In fact, when Bill Arnsparger became LSU's coach in 1984, Brown, who had moved on to the head coaching job at Appalachian State in 1983, could have joined him as offensive coordinator with a promise of becoming head coach after Arnsparger left after a few years, which he did.
Yes, Brown could have been one of the first head coaches in waiting. Of course the money and contract were not put in front of him as they were put in front of Muschamp and Jimbo Fisher at Florida State.
Oop, there's another one. Fisher was LSU's vastly successful offensive coordinator from 2000-06 as he mastered both the running game and passing game, made winners out of quarterbacks with less talent than at LSU now and never had his offense anywhere near 112 in the nation, which is LSU's current rank with lots of skill talent.
The BCS national championship game could continue to be filled with head coaches who did their time at LSU - Muschamp at Texas, Fisher at Florida State and Bo Pelini, LSU's defensive coordinator from 2005-07, at Nebraska.
And don't forget Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, an LSU assistant coach from 2000-2004 who will move on to a high profile coaching job somewhere before too long. Smart could, too.
Meanwhile, LSU appears to be going the other way under head coach Les Miles, who is 17-9 in his last two seasons with a 7-9 SEC record after going 34-6 and 19-5 in the SEC in his first three seasons after inheriting Saban's Fortune 500 company. His two latest coordinators - Gary Crowton and John Chavis - may be on the less progressive end of their careers.
LSU in its present state looks very far from another BCS title game.
Which reminds me of something two high rankiing LSU athletic department officials said back in December of 2004 when I asked why wasn't Fisher even interviewed for the LSU head coaching job.
"He's too rough," they both said. And Miles has never been exactly smooth, even when he was winning big.
We shall see.