Amid 12 years that began with a game relocated by Hurricane Katrina, included the 2007 national championship and 113 other wins, and ended with an astounding loss at Auburn, LSU finally succeeded in firing Les Miles.
After a 2015 near-coup that instead saw him carried off the field in victory by his players, the story of LSU’s 2016 was clear: deliver on preseason No. 5 promise or bust. The roster was going to be too experienced and talented for anything less, and the frustrations of a stagnating offense and a growing gap between the Tigers and rival Alabama meant Miles’ job wouldn’t feel safe until he beat Nick Saban in Baton Rouge on Nov. 5.
Miles didn’t even make it that far. He and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron were canned after a 2-2 start, with experienced emergency-uncle Ed Orgeron taking over. The problems were the ones most frequently diagnosed by fans and media (and the ones I swore to myself would be resolved): an unimaginative offense, an embrace of late-game chaos that could spin out of even his control, and a failure to evolve.
That means in several ways, the sputtering end of the 18-13 Auburn loss was a microcosm of Miles’ five years since losing the 2011 BCS Championship against Saban. If it wasn’t time for the nationally beloved amateur poet to leave, it was clear enough that it would soon be time.
So now what, for LSU and for Miles?
The list of buzzed-about full-time candidates is as you’d expect.
It’s Houston’s Tom Herman and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher (a former LSU offensive coordinator), along with Orgeron. Also, Art Briles’ people are interjecting the disgraced Baylor coach’s name into the news.
Everyone will fall in love with Orgeron again, if he wins, as he did as USC’s interim.
Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman suggests TCU’s Gary Patterson and North Carolina’s Larry Fedora; Alabama OC Lane Kiffin is the only member of the Nick Saban tree I’d ever like to see in a game against the master; and we’ve come full circle and should get back to including Bobby Petrino’s name in every rumor mill, just to be safe.
Once you make it through that group, you can just throw in whoever you want! Your ideas are just as good as those of most media folks, the author included. I think the funnest name to just fling into the mix would be Mark Richt’s. Wouldn’t that be weird? I didn’t start that rumor; I’m merely requesting that someone else do so.
Les, please do College GameDay now instead of taking the, like, Purdue job.
"Who will eventually replace Lee Corso as ESPN’s coaching comic relief?" has been a media-people question for about a decade now. If the ideal answer isn’t Steve Spurrier, it’s Miles, whether he’d say a single thing that would make sense or not.
Miles is about to turn 63 — which means he’s got 13 more years of coaching, by Bill Snyder standards — and we’ll have to wait and see whether he enters the 2016 carousel.
Coach Miles on Sat.'s game: It never rains in Tiger Stadium. I can tell you it was a stiff, wind-driven dew that made for inclement weather.— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 23, 2013
His Midwestern background (he played at Michigan, and in 2007, famously shot down reports that he’d taken the UM job) and stern commitment to thumpy, whole-grain offense would make him a strong candidate for any Big Ten school. But unless Penn State fans on Twitter get their wish, is there gonna be a better option than TV, at least for a year?
We need "Les Miles saying things" in our lives, and we’re not gonna get that if he goes to replace a Jaguars-bound Lovie Smith at Illinois, or whatever. (Don’t tell me the NFL wouldn’t do this. The NFL would do anything.)
I did new bowl projections. Angriest fanbase this week: Ohio State, for the second week in a row.
Tennessee beat Spencer's team, and therefore Tennessee's No. 1 in Spencer's rankings.
If you care about the polls and computers, though, here are their top 25s.
FIRIN' SEASON claimed more than just Miles: FIU cracked the seal by firing head coach Ron Turner, and Notre Dame booted defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.
EDSBS The Magazine (it's a magazine cover) goes all Les this week.
Podcasts! The Solid Verbal and Podcast Ain't Played Nobody give you two hours of Week 4 recappery.
Michigan's QB estimates the Wolverines called the same play eight times in a row during their blowout of Penn State. This will go over well in Happy Valley, the most dubiously named valley of them all.
At the forefront of swag technologies: UNC's receiving corps, which strolled around the field in bathrobes in defiance of being slept on, and then backed it up against Pitt.
Arkansas QB Austin Allen spent the Texas A&M game getting heaved around the field and suffering a bruised chest, but just kept slinging. After the game, an Aggie linebacker sent him a brief tweet he probably oughta frame.
Bruins Nation has tired of Jim Mora's "NFL mindset." The man got outfoxed in a punting duel, which is the most NFL thing I've ever heard of. The punt made no sense, of course, but David Shaw operates on higher mental planes than the rest of us.
I don't think you've yet watched enough of Penn State's large adult kicker demolishing two kick return players.