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Post Are you kidding me? I’m the HEAD coach!

Thursday November 29, 2007


You can’t blame Les Miles for being a little snippy this week. How many teams get a second chance when it comes to the national title? Not many get a third.  Miles is a bit upset that Georgia stands a better chance than LSU of making the national title game even if the Bayou Bengals win the SEC this weekend.

“I certainly think the champions in that position should be allowed every opportunity to play in the most prestigious bowl and certainly be the highest ranked,” Miles said. “I would like to envision an opportunity for the team from Louisiana that, if fortunate enough to win the conference championship and who played the schedule that we did with the victories that we’ve achieved and not lost a game in regulation yet, to have that opportunity.”

You’ve got to love the spin. His Tigers are certainly tops in the Regulation Championship Series standings. I understand and accept the sentiment that a conference title should be a requirement for the BCS championship participants, but it’s not – even though more and more people think it’s OK to change the rules on the fly.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. Miles has been positioning and campaigning for his team since the summer when he stood on the shoulders of the SEC to take shots at Southern Cal’s schedule. Alas, the dream matchup between USC and LSU won’t happen, but Miles is still leaning on his schedule to make the case for his team now that the results of the season aren’t on his side.

The irony is that LSU handled (barely) the “stiffer competition” at the top end of the SEC in 2007. Auburn and Florida were nice wins. LSU’s two losses came at the hands of a pair of teams at or below .500 in SEC play – teams that Miles probably would have mocked Southern Cal for playing.

Back in July when Miles was making his case, Stewart Mandel had a perceptive angle on Miles’ strategy: CYA.

Yep. That’s right. Miles’ comments were one big excuse-in-the-making. He’s seen the prognostications. He knows the experts are projecting a USC-LSU matchup. He knows his fans are foaming at the mouth for just such an outcome. And he’s trying to diffuse those expectations — and temper the possible letdown — by saying, “Hey, I’d love to play USC, too, but if they get there and we don’t, it’s because we had to play Florida while they got to play Stanford.”

Miles’ ridiculous “haven’t lost in regulation” line is just more of the same: CYA. Since October 1st, the BEST DEFENSE EVAR (werewolves, chainsaws, etc.) has given up at least 24 points in every conference game. LSU has won several big games this year, but reputation-wise the case could be made that they are still coasting on the first three games of the season. Even a one-loss LSU team would be far and above ahead of Southern Cal and Georgia right now regardless of schedules. The tough schedule and close games are a convenient crutch for Miles, but one wonders what he’d use for an excuse in Ann Arbor.

I really want to like LSU. I was fine with them as the standard-bearer for the conference and thought they’d make a proper national championship contender. They have a silly amount of talent, playmakers all over the field, and enough heart to win a lot of close SEC games – some in which they had to overcome a late deficit. But wouldn’t it be something to see them lose in overtime again this weekend and keep that all-important regulation streak alive?

One Response to 'Are you kidding me? I’m the HEAD coach!'

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  • Is this hockey? This isn’t hockey! I think Less should campaign for his team to get credit for a half of a win for each regulation tie. Maybe that will get them a better seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Too bad no one would watch, though.