Though the head-to-head record between the two stands at 3-3, Saban's utter demolition of the Tigers sent a message to the college football nation: Saban casts a shadow over Miles.
Every time Saban wins one over Miles, the memory of the 2011 season's title game will return. The questions will begin to fly: "Will Saban always be better than Miles?" "Does Saban have the Tigers' number?"
Eventually, the focus will turn to LSU's greatness over the past decade and how much Saban is responsible for the beast that Les Miles is now in charge of.
Nick Saban put LSU on the map with his national championship back in 2003. The recruiting has been easier for Miles than it was for Saban. (Saban didn't have a recent championship to flaunt when he was recruiting at LSU or Alabama.)
No matter what Miles does in Louisiana, Saban is the guy who rebuilt that school. The LSU championship that put them on the map is a notch in Saban's belt, not in Miles'.
Les Miles is a great coach, but as Saban asserts his dominance over the next few years, Miles is going to be in the back seat.
Miles is a better coach than all that, and his record proves it. Regardless of the effect Saban had on LSU's recruiting ability, Saban did not coach LSU to an almost-perfect record in 2011.
Miles will begin to grow weary of the comparisons to Saban, especially if Saban continues to manhandle him when it really matters.
If a major position in another power conference were available, would Les Miles take it?
So, Miles will want to get out from under Saban's shadow. Miles may look to the SEC East, but he would still have to hear the comparisons to Saban every year when he made it to Atlanta.
I mean, if LSU is without Les Miles, then a Saban-led Crimson Tide is all-but guaranteed a spot in Atlanta every year for the foreseeable future. Plus, Miles would walk into the SEC East and dominate from his second or third year at almost any of those schools.
As we saw in January, Saban will out-coach Miles in championship games. Therefore, Miles clearly cannot choose the wine that's in the East (h/t "The Princess Bride").
So, with Miles out of the SEC entirely, he will be free to choose any conference he wishes. (After all, he is a great coach and should have little issue landing a great Big XII or B1G job.)
When Miles is out of the SEC, he'll have the ability to flourish. Meeting Saban in the national championship after plowing through a different power conference will not carry as much pressure as being compared to Saban every moment of every season.
Like the sapling growing underneath the shade of an oak tree, constantly starved for life-giving sunlight, Miles needs to be re-planted in another area where he can realize his full potential.
Who knows? Maybe Miles can coach at Texas after the Longhorns realize that they may be able to do better than Mack Brown.