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LSU's horrific November got worse, and Les Miles might pay with his job

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Things are going very poorly for the team that was No. 2 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of 2015. Very, very poorly.

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LSU started the 2015 season 7-0, which propelled the Tigers all the way up to the No. 2 spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. And their transcendent running back, Leonard Fournette, was seemingly both the Heisman frontrunner and pursuer of the best season by a running back in college football history by Halloween.

Since then, basically everything has gone wrong for the Tigers. Ole Miss' 38-17 blowout of them on Saturday was just the latest indignity in an 0-3 November.

The Rebels led 24-7 at halftime, bottling up Fournette and ripping apart the LSU defense. Then, after LSU rallied to score the first 14 points of the second half, the Rebels answered with two more scores, the first on an acrobatic touchdown by Chad Kelly and the second on a back-breaking throwback screen to tight end Evan Engram.

Kelly threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 82 yards and two more scores, and played as well as he has all season, including his stellar performance in the Rebels' defeat of Alabama. But as good as Ole Miss was for most of the game, LSU being bad was a recurring theme, too.

Fournette finished with 110 yards, but required 25 carries to do so, and didn't break one longer than 32 yards. Brandon Harris threw for 295 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions, and completed just 26 of 51 passes. The suddenly woeful Tigers' offense converted just five of 18 third downs on the day.

The worst sequence came at the last moment when LSU still had a remote chance at a comeback. The Tigers drove down into Ole Miss territory midway through the fourth quarter and converted a fourth down to get first and goal a yard from paydirt. But Fournette fumbled twice, once on a direct snap and another on a pitch that he wasn't expecting -- the latter on fourth down and after a timeout -- to scuttle the possession and snuff out whatever hopes remained.


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That condemned LSU to its first three-game losing streak not just of the Les Miles era, but this millennium.

The Tigers haven't lost three straight games since 1999, when they lost eight straight in a 3-8 season that precipitated the firing of Gerry DiNardo and the hiring of Nick Saban.

"I have not taken in those reports," Miles said after the loss, via ESPN's David Ching. "I'm so busy doing my job that that's secondary in my nature. Eleven years ago, I showed up here and we won our first game at Arizona State and lost our second game and I knew we were soon to be fired. And so what I've always done, and it's strength and weakness, I put my head down and I go to work and I try to do the best things. And if I can get that done, we'd have success. And if I don't, you guys will all be writing a bunch of other stuff."

16 years later, this streak of futility -- in which the Tigers have been beaten by 14, 17, and now 21 points -- might precipitate the firing of Miles.

He was already close to the hot seat prior to this loss, with reports suggesting most boosters have vacated his corner. But a Saturday report that suggested even winning out this regular season might not save Miles made things sound even more dire than previously known.

And that was before this 21-point loss to Ole Miss, LSU's worst in the rivalry since a 32-0 Rebels shutout in 1992. It was before LSU trailed by double digits for almost three whole quarters, and looked both listless and disorganized.

Disorganization is often controlled chaos for good Miles teams, who have thrived on their head man's eccentricities, but something about this team feels different. Even Miles loyalists are sensing that things are at an end.

And if this is the way the reign of Les Miles in Baton Rouge ends, he's going out with a whimper.

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