File this one under “the one that got away.”
Luke Fickell was seemingly hours away from being Michigan State’s next head coach back in 2020, but he and his wife decided that they were going to remain at Cincinnati for reasons that were never quite confirmed but only rumored — there was speculation that his wife didn’t like the culture that Michigan State had developed.
Who knows how true that is or was.
Either way, why not circle the wagons again and see if Fickell would opt to join a program with arguably a higher ceiling than Wisconsin (MSU is the 19th-best college football program all time according to the AP; Wisconsin is 23rd). He’s had a decent first year at Wisconsin, however, going 4-2, but he has hit some speed bumps, like scoring six points in an ugly home loss to Iowa.
The recruiting ceiling is higher at Michigan State, the resources are probably better, and the facilities rival whatever he may be looking for.
Fans would be all on board with Fickell if he were to change his mind again and shed that “waffling flake” tag for a “program-saver” one.
And any coach who can lead a Group of Five team to the playoff would be a home run in my books.