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SEC hot seat: Is Les Miles in trouble at LSU?

The season is still six months away, but as spring practice kicks off across the SEC, there are a handful of coaches already feeling the heat. In a three-part series running Wednesday, we will examine three of those coaches and what it would take for each to get the axe after the season.

Already we’ve discussed Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin. To conclude the series, we take a look at LSU coach Les Miles.

The skinny: In less than a month, Miles went from an undefeated season and a spot in the College Football Playoff rankings to nearly losing his job. And all it took was losses to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Three losses. Forget the seven wins to start the season. If you slip up just a little bit, you might be unemployed.

Miles has been at LSU twice as long as Malzahn or Sumlin have been at their respective schools. He has accomplished more than either of his two counterparts, including winning the national championship in 2007, but despite a 112-32 record during his time in Baton Rouge, some feel it might be time for a change. The same thing happened to Mark Richt at Georgia.

In fact, had LSU not beaten Texas A&M in the season finale this past year, Miles might have joined Richt on the chopping block.

But since that game, everything has gone right for Miles and LSU. The Tigers dominated Texas Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. A handful of underclassmen, including Kendell Beckwith and Tre'Davious White, opted to return to school rather than declare early for the NFL. And Miles added Dave Aranda as defensive coordinator and Dameyune Craig as his wide receivers coach, both upgrades to his former staff.

Will all of that be enough for Miles to survive another season?

LSU will fire Miles if: Let’s start with seven wins. It wasn’t going to be enough last season, and unless LSU hires a new athletic director, it likely won’t be enough this season either. To be honest, eight wins might not be enough unless one of those wins is against Alabama.

The difference between Miles and Malzahn or Sumlin is that LSU has the talent to win the SEC this coming season. The Tigers probably will be ranked top 10 preseason, and anything short of a top-three finish in the SEC West won’t sit well with the fans. But think about that. How many coaches can realistically win a national championship or get fired next year?

The key for LSU will be getting consistent play at quarterback. Miles stuck his neck out there for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, and while you have to respect the loyalty, it might be a decision that ends up costing him his job if the unit doesn’t improve in 2016.

After all, LSU has arguably the best player in college football in its backfield.