Does Les Miles Have a Point About Not Wanting to Play Florida?
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The SEC head coaches held a teleconference with the media Wednesday and one of the talking points was LSU head coach Les Miles' continued mission to remove Florida as LSU's permanent cross-division opponent.
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee was in on the call and wrote more extensively about that here. From Sallee:
"It's interesting to see how you would compare our schedule with others," Miles said on the SEC coaches' post-spring teleconference. "I wonder if there should be no permanent partners. I wonder if we couldn't choose cross-division opponents through a random computer draw."
Miles may have a point.
Florida vs. LSU has never been viewed as a great rivalry game. It's usually just two very good teams from different divisions playing each other every year. So why should the two schools be forced to play each other every year? Who benefits?
Has LSU helped Florida's strength of schedule or vice versa?
Right now, the West (Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Texas A&M) is perceived as a much stronger division than the East (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt). But college football is also cyclical. Ask Stanford, Oregon, Notre Dame and Texas A&M, whose success has waxed and waned in recent years.
Perhaps these permanent cross-division games were a product of the conference—way back in its infancy stage—attempting to establish more interest in its schools. If so, mission accomplished.
Unfortunately, Miles' grumblings over Florida loosely translate to his preference for the easier path to a BCS Championship. That's a shame because almost six years ago Miles ripped USC (and the then-Pac-10) for what he perceived as the Trojans' easier path to the BCS title game. More from Yahoo! Sports:
"I can tell you this, that they have a much easier road to travel," Miles said. "They’re going to play real knockdown drag-outs with UCLA and Washington, Cal-Berkeley, Stanford — some real juggernauts — and they’re going to end up, it would be my guess, in some position so if they win a game or two, that they’ll end up in the title [game].
"I would like that path for us. I think the SEC provides much stiffer competition."
Confused? Don't be. Miles was clearly ripping one team's strength of schedule while boasting about his own team's strength of schedule. But now he wants to dump Florida like a hot potato. Do you blame him? Not really.
Miles may have a great point about being forced to play Florida if his argument is based entirely on it not being a rivalry game for the two schools. Miles claims it is not fair to have Florida on his schedule every year but as Spurrier pointed out, "nobody said it was supposed to be fair."
Les Miles is an open book and he speaks his mind which is rather refreshing. But even if there were a computer draw—as Miles proposed— for SEC cross-division opponents every year, LSU could still draw Florida for five or even ten consecutive years. That may not be the best idea.
Neither is ripping a team for having an easier path to the BCS Championship, boasting about your own difficult path and then starting a two-year campaign to rid yourself of a landmine that may block your own path. .
Would Miles also be complaining if LSU were forced to play Missouri every year?
Should LSU play Florida every year?
Probably not—Missouri went 2-6 in the SEC last season. Florida, on the other hand, went 7-1 in the SEC, including a 14-6 victory over LSU.
Still, if Florida is on board with Miles, then the SEC should honor the two schools' wishes. Why force a series that neither school wants?
Then again, if LSU beats Florida this year and the Tigers get a boost in the BCS rankings due to their strength of schedule, maybe the SEC does know what's best for its schools.
It's difficult to question the SEC's decision-making over the last seven years, isn't it?
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