IRVING, Texas – Les Miles would be crazy to leave LSU for Michigan now.
But then, this is Les Miles we are talking about.
“Nobody knows what goes through Coach Miles’ mind,” LSU receiver Russell Shepard said this week.
“People have told me Les Miles has been acting weird the last few weeks,” a national sports reporter told me on Wednesday. “Do you think he wants the Michigan job?”
That reporter was quickly told that Miles has been acting weird for the last six seasons. Remember, this is the guy who called timeout when time was out after an interception in his Tiger Stadium debut against Tennessee in 2005. This is the guy who did not call timeout correctly when he desperately needed one against Ole Miss in 2009. This is the guy who nearly let the final 27 seconds or so tick away in field goal range while a point down against Auburn in 2007.
This is the guy who allowed mass substitutions with the final seconds ticking away a yard away from the winning touchdown against Tennessee and lived to laugh about it.
This is the guy who after that fortunate win called “BS” on his team when he should have been calling it on himself and his staff. This is the guy who went for it on fourth down five times against Florida in '07 and made it five times.
What will happen tonight when Must See Miles moves his act to FOX for the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M? He’ll probably win to go to 5-1 in bowls as LSU’s coach.
“One thing I know, he knows how to win football games,” Shepard said.
Miles is 61-17 in six seaons as LSU’s coach with a 33-15 record in the Southeastern Conference, a 22-13 mark against top 25 opponents, a national championship and consistent top 10 finishes in recruiting. Fired Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was 15-22 in three seasons with a 6-18 mark in the Big 10 and 2-11 against the top 25. Michigan would be crazy not to talk to Miles.
And Miles would not be crazy to take the Michigan job if it offers him $4 to $5 million a year as it reportedly offered Stanford outgoing coach Jim Harbaugh, whose coast-to-coast job tour is making Pete Carroll and Nick Saban look like a couple of high school coaches Xeroxing their resumes at a coaches’ convention.
Miles would not be replacing near legend Lloyd Carr this time at Michigan. He’d be replacing the worst coach in Michigan history. He’d be seen as the Michigan man in shining armor, not the West Virginia hillbilly with enough baggage for his own reality show. Miles would be a breath of fresh air at Michigan, which really needs some ventilation.
Rodriguez never beat Ohio State. Miles beat the Buckeyes for the national championship. All he has to say is, “We have a want to beat Ohio State,” and Ann Arbor would start wearing hats high on their heads and eating grass.
Miles beat Bob Stoops and Oklahoma twice when he was at Oklahoma State once at home and once on the road and both times when he should not have. He beat Nick Saban and Alabama twice – once at home, once on the road – when he was at LSU and nearly beat him two other times. He beat Urban Meyer and Florida three times.
If Michigan pays Miles and his staff, this would be the perfect time to go to Michigan. The Wolverines are an awful team, so it would be a difficult job. But Miles would have the time because Michigan people finally realize how bad they are. He’d be home, where he played and coached for Bo Schembechler, whom he loved and talks like. He could be the next Bo.
He’s 57. He will not get this chance a third time. He has been at LSU for six seasons. That is a long time in football coaching. If he leaves, he will leave LSU with nearly as much talent as he inherited from Saban.
This is also the perfect time for Miles to stay at LSU. He will return his best team since the 2007 national champions, and it’s all his team now. The national championship game is in New Orleans next season. With a win tonight, LSU will enter the 2011 season in the top eight. With a win over Oregon in the opener in Cowboys Stadium, the Tigers could be in the top three.
His chances of winning a national championship are much greater at LSU than they will be at Michigan for years.
Miles will call a timeout and think about it after tonight’s game.
“We love him, but he’s crazy,” Shepard said. “He’ll tell you he’s crazy.”
But he’s not that crazy. He’ll stay at LSU.
Here are five things to look for in what will not be the last LSU game Miles coaches:
1.STEVAN RIDLEY – The just freed LSU tailback will play one of his best games after getting his eligibility restored by the NCAA on Monday. Yards will be tough to come by as A&M led the Big 12 in rush defense, but Ridley knows how to make something out of nothing better than any back LSU has had since Joseph Addai.
2.RYAN TANNEHILL – The Texas A&M receiver turned quarterback may wish he was back catching passes after facing more pressure tonight more than he has all season.
3.VON MILLER – The Joker’s wild. The Texas A&M linebacker plays a position called the Joker in A&M’s 3-4 defense. He is part lineman, part linebacker, but more importantly, he’s very good and won the Butkus Award. He led the Big 12 with 9.5 sacks after leading the league last season with 8.5.
4.JORDAN JEFFERSON – The LSU quarterback may be playing his last game as a starter with Zach Mettenberger about to take over. Jefferson needs a strong showing for momentum going into spring practice.
5.THE VIDEO BOARD – It stretches from the 20 to the 20 in Cowboys Stadium. So when Miles grabs a blade of grass on a fourth down play, it’s going to look like a Redwood.
PREDICTION: LSU 28, Texas A&M 23 – The Tigers’ speed and talent will eventually overcome the hungry Aggies.