Les Miles wise to stay right where he is
November, 28, 2012
By Chris Low | ESPN.com
Les Miles might be known as the “Mad Hatter,” and he might do and say some strange things from time to time.
OK, he says strange things a lot of the time.
But this just in: He hasn’t lost his mind.
Arkansas is a good job with first-class facilities that are about to be spruced up to the tune of $35 million, and it’s obvious the Hogs were willing to pay Miles a hog trough of money to be Head Hog.
But let’s be honest here. Leaving LSU for Arkansas makes absolutely no sense.
LSU’s not only one of the top coaching jobs in the SEC. It’s one of the top coaching jobs in all of college football when you take everything into account from the talent level in the state of Louisiana to the facilities on campus, to the brand that LSU football has become.
Florida, Texas, USC and Ohio State, in no particular order, might be the Rolls-Royces of coaching jobs in college football. But LSU would at least deserve to be in the same showroom.
Everything’s in place at LSU to compete for and win championships on a regular basis, and for the most part, Miles has done just that since arriving on the Bayou in 2005.
In some ways, he’s probably been a victim of his own success. A win in the bowl game this season would give him 11 or more wins in six of his eight seasons coaching the Tigers.
Go back and look at how many schools across college football have won 11 or more games six times in an eight-year span. Twice, Miles has played in the BCS National Championship Game, and he won the top prize in 2007.
Despite his success, Miles has never been completely embraced by the LSU fan base. He has been his own worst enemy at times with some of his game-management blunders, and there’s a segment of fans in Tigerland who will always hold it against him that he’s not Nick Saban.
And even though he’s making $3.75 million, Miles hadn’t had a raise since his deal was sweetened following the Tigers’ national championship in 2007.
So when somebody comes along and dangles more than $5 million per year in his face, he’s going to listen.
He’d be a mad man not to.
Ultimately, I don’t think Miles was ever going to leave. He got his extension and got his raise, but more importantly than that, he knows this league well enough to know that his chances of winning another championship are enhanced by staying right where he is.
The stakes, though, only go up from here … if that’s possible.
This little courtship, flirtation or whatever you want to call it with Arkansas will surely be mentioned by fans the next time the Tigers don’t win 10 or 11 games.
For that matter, it will probably be mentioned even if he wins 11 games from now until eternity -- but doesn’t win a championship.
As they say in the trade, that’s just part of the deal.
Something says Miles will manage it just fine.