Reporting Brien Straw
One of the toughest – almost impossible things to do in the business world is picking the top and bottom. Knowing the exact day a stock will hit its all-time high or low. The same can be said in sports, but I’m ready to sell the Tiger program under Les Miles.
Look a lot of money would’ve been lost to the investor that wanted to sell Miles’ Tiger program back in 2007 when he delivered the National Title to Baton Rouge, and there were a lot of people selling Miles in ’07 for two reasons:
- He wasn’t Nick Saban.
- Perhaps the best Tiger team ever lost two games they shouldn’t have (3-5 KY, 4-4 ARK) 20 players from that LSU team were drafted by the NFL.
There were more people ready to sell Miles back in 2010 when – if not for Tennessee having too many men on the field, LSU loses to a three conference win Volunteer team at home, or in 2011 when his clock management and failure on a final drive cost the Tigers a loss at Ole Miss.
Seemingly, in spite of himself, the “mad-hatter” has continued to pile up wins, 75 so far in Baton Rouge – or an 80% win clip.
Last year, he finally had the perfect regular season (he probably could’ve had once, if not twice previously). Unfortunately for LSU fans, the Tigers looked completely unprepared for the Title game. Short of rolling out some footballs, what else was the offensive gameplan in the rematch against Alabama? The Tigers looked so unprepared for the game, that they were BLASTED afterward by LSU homer Bobby Hebert. When – if ever, have you heard a coach that lost a title game – coming into the game undefeated, undressed by a local media member?!! That tells me something ain’t right. The “eyeball test” of Miles program has always told me something ain’t right.
Miles has always overcome this with unbelievably great recruiting. But that can change. And success isn’t a given in Baton Rouge. While it may be impossible to believe, success has not always been a birth-rite at LSU, Nick Saban made that so. From 1970 – 1999 LSU was just 5-games over .500 in conference play, good for sixth best in the SEC.
Ask Tennessee if winning is automatic once a “big-time” program is built. When Johnny Majors finally got the Vols turned around in 1985, from that point through 2004 they were the sixth-most successful team in college football during that 20 year stretch. Since that point, they’ve been totally irrelevant – and nobody was predicting that following Fulmer’s last great team in ’04 which lost to 8th ranked Auburn, 9th ranked ND and again to undefeated Auburn in the SEC Title game. (That’s the Auburn team that was passed over by Oklahoma for the right to lose to Southern Cal in the Title game.)
Tyrann Mathieu’s dismissal for “violation of team rules” (which many are tweeting is a third failed drug test that took any decision to retain Mathieu out of Miles hand because of University policy), wasn’t the problem as much as it was evidence of the problem – Les Miles is losing control. Once the inmates take over, history would indicate it’s impossible to wrest control back. Don’t believe me, just ask Phil Fulmer. Or Urban Meyer. Or Jim Tressell…
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