LSU Football: Why Les Miles Is SEC Coach Under the Most Pressure in 2012

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 06:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers talks to the media at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 6, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  LSU and Alabama will play in the BCS National Championship on January 9th.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images


That's never an easy word to associate with someone's name, especially a Division I college football coach.

But after his team was on the brink of a perfect season before falling to Alabama 21-0 in one of the most lopsided, embarrassing defeats in BCS history, Les Miles has plenty of pressure resting on his shoulders heading into the 2012 college football season.

In fact, Miles is under more pressure than any other SEC coach.

Miles has done an outstanding job in building this LSU football program to a consistent national powerhouse. In fact, during his time in Baton Rouge, the Tigers have posted a combined 75-18 record, including a 41-15 mark in SEC play. In those six years, LSU has placed either first or second in the SEC in five of them, including three BCS appearances and one national championship victory in 2007.

But with that type of success comes pressure. Whether it be from alumni, fans, coaches, players or whatever it may be, expectations are extremely high with this LSU program because of the type of success that Miles has brought to Baton Rouge.

So why is Miles under more pressure than say Nick Saban or Gene Chizik, two of the most successful coaches in college football?

Because the teams under Saban and Chizik were able to finish what they started.

Alabama came into the 2009 and 2011 seasons as one of the top teams in the nation, and they finished it as national champions.

Chizik's Auburn team played near-flawless football throughout the 2010 season, and when they were matched against Oregon's high-powered offense in the national championship game, they rose to the occasion and finished the deal.

On the other hand, Miles' LSU team simply couldn't finish what they started last season.

Throughout all of the 2011 campaign, the Tigers looked like one of the most dominant college football teams of the decade, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 500-137. 

LSU's relentless defense held nine of its 12 opponents to 10 points or less, which is an incredible stat on its own.

But when it came down to it, on the biggest stage of all, the BCS National Championship Game, Miles' team crumbled. They were flat-out embarrassed by an Alabama team that simply played better than them in every single aspect of the game.

So now, one year later, Miles and his team will go at it again. The Tigers return seven starters on offense and six on defense, which is pretty darn good for a team that was one win away from completing an undefeated season with a national championship trophy to go along with it.

But again, with those lofty expectations comes plenty of pressure for this team, especially for Miles.

Now, we must wait and see if Miles can rise to the occasion and lead his team back to the BCS National Championship Game.

There have been many great coaches who never won a national title, but none of them have as much pressure as Les Miles this year.

Why is that?

Because Les Miles knows what it takes to win a national title. He has been there before and has seen both sides of the spectrum, leaving as a winner and a loser.

Hopefully this time around, the Mad Hatter can chalk up another W in that win column.