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Finebaum Says One Top Program Under Pressure To Extend Its Head Coach

Paul Finebaum makes comments about roy Williams.

Mel Tucker landed his first true signature win at Michigan State on Saturday, handing rival Michigan its first loss of the year. After the win, the Spartans debuted at No. 3 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

Tucker is in year two in East Lansing, after just one 5-7 season at Colorado. While he went to Wisconsin and is from Cleveland originally, he has plenty of SEC roots as well.

He coached defensive backs under Nick Saban at LSU back in 2000, and 15 years later re-joined Saban in the same role at Alabama, taking on the assistant head coach title as well. He became Georgia's defensive coordinator a year later, a job he held until landing his first head coaching gig in Colorado for the 2019 season.

LSU is already on the hunt for its next head coach, after reaching an agreement with Ed Orgeron that makes this his final year with the Tigers. Rumors that LSU could target Tucker have been around for a few weeks, but they really gained momentum with the Michigan win. Now, it is up to athletic director Alan Haller, who is just months into his tenure, to make sure Tucker stays in East Lansing. Paul Finebaum has been banging that drum this week.

“What’s interesting, three weeks ago when Mel Tucker’s name came up, a lot of people are shaking their head," Finebaum said on Keyshawn, JWill & Max. "Who’s Mel Tucker? He’s moved jobs. He was an assistant under Saban and then Kirby Smart and then went to Colorado for a year and then he went to Michigan State. But that was a signature win the other day and I think what it’s done it makes it easier for him to be hired at LSU and he's clearly near or at the top of that list."

Now that Tucker has Sparty rolling, it is natural for an SEC power like LSU to tab him as their next guy, especially with experience under the league's two top coaches: Saban and Smart. Poaching a coach from Michigan State sure worked out two decades ago.

With that interest reportedly out there, it's on MSU to pony up and keep Tucker, Finebaum says.

“I also think it puts a lot more pressure in East Lansing to keep him. A win like that and suddenly you call the big boosters, the guys that own the big food chains and everything else, and go ‘Hey, we need money to keep this guy here.’ And the fact he just beat Jim Harbaugh I think makes that easier I think to make that happen.”

Tucker is the 13th-highest paid head coach in the country right now, per USA Today, at just over $5.6 million, with a buyout of over $19 million on Dec. 1. Of course, LSU is paying Coach O nearly $9 million this year, so they will happily spend if it means bringing in a winner. Michigan State can make it that much more difficult, or at least up the buyout number for any school looking to poach Tucker, but it has to act fast.