Whether the LSU Tigers finish the 2013 college football season ranked or unranked, one thing has become perfectly clear: Head coach Les Miles’ job status will remain as secure as ever.
In fact, nobody else is more suited to be at the helm in Baton Rouge than Miles.
Following a 38-17 loss to No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 9, doubt has crept up in the minds of fans and critics alike about whether the 60-year-old has lost his touch. Especially since LSU has now lost two straight games against FBS opponents and even struggled against the FCS’ Furman in between.
It certainly doesn’t help that the upcoming showdown with No. 12 Texas A&M threatens to push the No. 22 Tigers out of the Top 25 for good—marking the first time since 2008 that LSU would finish unranked.
But wait…that’s what’s supposed to make us believe that Miles is no longer fit for the job?
In his ninth year with the school, the Elyria, Ohio, native has compiled a 92-24 overall record. That includes racking up six 10-win seasons, two SEC crowns and a BCS title.
Prior to Miles’ arrival, you’d have to go back 46 years to 1958 to count the last six 10-win seasons in school history.
Furthermore, he’s posted an impressive 36-19 record against Top 25 opponents and an impeccable 55-7 home record, winning 30 of his last 31 at Tiger Stadium.
Not to mention, Miles has also put together 20 comeback wins in the fourth quarter and overtime.
What should happen to Miles if LSU finishes unranked?
But let’s toss all that out the window and focus on one season where the Tigers have lost three games. All three were on the road—two in which the game-winning score came with less than two minutes remaining and the other against the two-time defending national champions.
Yep. Miles has definitely lost it.
But let’s go back to that 2008 season for a second. LSU finished 8-5 and went 9-4 the year after.
Entering 2010, Miles was firmly on the hot seat.
How did he respond? Miles led the Tigers to an 11-2 record and had them playing for the BCS title the following season.
Sure, LSU was embarrassed by the Tide, 21-0, highlighted by some questionable decision-making by Miles in the game. However, is that enough to forget that he helped the Tigers navigate past eight Top 25 teams—including Alabama—unscathed during the regular season?
The latter is a tidbit that is commonly left out among Miles’ detractors.
But what about this one: Since 2005, no FBS head coach has recorded more wins than Miles.
|1. Les Miles||LSU||92-24||79.3|
|2. Chris Petersen||Boise State||91-11||89.2|
|3. Bob Stoops||Oklahoma||90-27||76.9|
|4. Gary Patterson||TCU||88-26||77.2|
|5. Mack Brown||Texas||87-27||76.3|
Spin it however you want, but there’s no denying the impact Miles has had at LSU.
In little under a decade, he has taken a program that had won just two national titles and nine conference titles since 1933 and transformed them into one of the SEC’s top dogs. More importantly, Miles has the Tigers contending for a BCS title year in and year out.
His off-field antics and wild play calling earned Miles the nickname The Mad Hatter. But it’s his on-field success that should earn him a permanent home in Baton Rouge.
Anything less than that is simply unacceptable.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.