Talk of Les Miles’ future at LSU unfair speculation
There's only one word for the way LSU has treated its football coach. And, that word is disgraceful.
After back-to-back losses at Alabama and to Arkansas, speculation about Les Miles’ future heated up. Then, days before a huge game against Ole Miss, with a Sugar Bowl berth still possible, the story of Miles’ job being in jeopardy surfaced.
Those reports – and the controversy that swirled because of it – had its desired outcome. Since those reports surfaced, director of athletics Joe Alleva has refused comment. The rumors quickly made Miles seem like, at best, a lame duck. Miles, who has won a BCS national championship, reached another national title game, and won two SEC titles at LSU, deserves better. Whether you like him, his offense or some of his quirky decisions, Miles has won – a lot.
And, he has represented LSU with class and decency.
Three weeks ago, LSU was No. 2 in the CFP rankings. Three weeks later, after a fifth consecutive loss to Alabama and back-to-back losses to Arkansas, Les Miles was suddenly a huge liability. Even for a league like the Southeastern Conference with unrealistic football fans – and even more unrealistic monty boosters – Miles' troubles set a new bar for overzealousness.
At Ole Miss, Houston Nutt’s last team was 2-10. Before that, Ed Orgeron was fired after a three-win season. David Cutcliffe was dismissed after his last Ole Miss team went 4-7. At Florida, Will Muschamp’s last Gator team went 7-5.
At Auburn, a place that fires football coaches at the drop of the hat, Gene Chizik was dismissed after going 3-9. Tommy Tuberville was 5-7 in his final season, after being shut out by Alabama. At Tennessee, Phil Fulmer was shown the door after finishing 5-7.
Miles is headed to the Texas A&M Game with a record of 7-3.
Let’s hope LSU doesn’t turn into Nebraska. In 2003, Frank Solich was dismissed after a three-loss season. The anti-Solich crowd said Nebraska could no longer compete at the highest level. Since Solich was canned, Nebraska is on its third coach.
First there was Bill Callahan, then Bo Pelini. Now, Mike Riley. Each of those Nebraska coaches has had at least four losses in every season.
Maybe it all works out. LSU moves on from Miles, hires Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State and quickly ascends back to the top of the SEC.
Regardless, a new bar has been set at LSU for how many wins are expected on the field and what happens to any coach who doesn’t realize those expectations.
And, you can thank Joe Alleva for that.