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Les Miles Update – Miles Needed an Excuse

I just read a brilliant article on sportsillustrated.com written by Stewart Mandel….Check it out… Better Les unsaid: LSU’s Miles called out USC; now Tigers must deliver

Lets go through some of Stewart’s points on what Les Miles had to say:

“I would like nothing better than to play USC for the [national] title,” Miles reportedly said in a speech to a heavily pro-LSU gathering in New Orleans. “I can tell you this, that they have a much easier road to travel. 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.”

And then Mandel’s repsonse:

“Forget for a moment the numerous, logical flaws in Miles’ diatribe (i.e., the fact the team he’s bashing beat SEC West champion Arkansas 50-14 last season). Forget for a moment the seemingly arbitrary shots at innocent bystanders Washington and Stanford. (Is Pete Carroll out there dissing Vanderbilt and Mississippi State at his booster functions?). The real question is, why is Miles so worked up in the first place about a school 2,000 miles away? The answer: because his fans are.”

– We all know Pete Carroll is 4-0 against the SEC during his tenure at USC so we can throw numerous points at how easy or hard the Pac-10 and SEC are. The last sentence is really where the poison gets stung. LSU’s fans have nothing better to do than to think about LSU and the other power teams in the nation. Louisiana is a disaster state, literally speaking..Katrina wiped them out; their beloved New Orleans has not returned to its glory days (trust me, I have been there), the Saints are a side story, there is no baseball and the list ca go on and on. LSU fans have nothing going on right now so all they can think about is LSU football and this upcoming season and that means Les Miles is biggerthan the President right now. He is expected to take his talented team to an undefeated season and a national title that would be a home game in the Super Dome.

From Mandel: “The preseason mags have hit the newsstands, and the Trojans — for the third time in four years — appear to be a lock for No. 1. While there appears to be no consensus on No. 2, the most common choice — including this writer’s — seems to be the Tigers. It makes sense. No two programs have recruited more pure talent over the past five years (at least according to the recruiting rankings) than USC and LSU. Both went 11-2 and won BCS games last year. Both have playmakers up the wazoo on offense. Both return most of the starters from their already dominant defenses.”

– As a USC fan, yes I am one, I personally will be extremely disappointed if USC does not go undefeated and win the national title. They return 10 players on defense and that is before they add some super froshes like the E-Freak and Chris Galippo and you combine this with an always lethal offense that will be led by Booty time following an impressive first season under center; this team is ready to roll. Now, If I was an LSU fan, which I am not, I would have the same expectations on this upcoming season. LSU returns a ton of talent and recruited great players (minus Joe McKnight of course)….the pressure is on them! LSU should be in the title game. Plain and simple…NO EXCUSES.

From Mandel: “Now, LSU’s coach has gone so far as to insert himself into a war of words previously waged solely in cyberspace (or on billboards). That’s sure to work followers on both sides into a lather. But it still doesn’t explain why he’s mocking USC’s schedule. In a follow-up conversation with reporters several days after his initial comments, Miles harped on a theme that’s become almost nauseatingly redundant among SEC coaches over the past year: Why their league is so tough. Miles’ view may just be the most zealous yet. If college football were to go to an eight-team playoff, he said, “there’d probably be at least four SEC teams in the top eight.”

– I will let Mandel tackle this issue because he states it perfectly and loud and clear. “But it’s not like the league is indisputably head and shoulders above everyone else. Perhaps Miles needs a reminder that two of his league’s best teams last year, Arkansas and Tennessee, lost to the third- (Wisconsin) and fourth-place (Penn State) teams from the Big Ten in their bowl games. Or that the year before that, the SEC’s champion (Georgia) lost its bowl game to the Big East’s champion (West Virginia).”
– Lets look at the top 4 teams in the SEC last year:
Florida won the title so they would be in a playoff
Tennessee lost in their bowl game to a weak Penn St. team
Arkansas was destroyed by USC at home and lost their bowl game
LSU lost to Auburn, which was not a top 4 team in the SEC and lost to Florida and beat a terrible Notre Dame team in their bowl game.
These teams are not amongst the 8 best in the country by any means and their record and post season records prove it.

This Mandel point speaks for itself: USC’s easy “path” last year included a BCS team (Notre Dame) and two major-conference division champions (Nebraska and Arkansas). LSU’s non-conference schedule, meanwhile, consisted of Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Fresno State and Arizona. Under the BCS’ old strength-of-schedule formula — the one that shined so favorably upon the Tigers in ’03 prior to its removal from the standings, the Trojans played the nation’s toughest schedule; LSU’s was 11th.

Man these points are easy to make!!!

And here is Mandel’s final point: “So what, then, was the motivation behind his unexpected boisterousness? Here’s a guess: He’s covering his butt. Yep. That’s right. Miles’ comments were one big excuse-in-the-making. He’s seen the prognostications. He knows the experts are projecting a USC-LSU matchup. He knows his fans are foaming at the mouth for just such an outcome. And he’s trying to diffuse those expectations — and temper the possible letdown — by saying, “Hey, I’d love to play USC, too, but if they get there and we don’t, it’s because we had to play Florida while they got to play Stanford.” You can read it between the lines in this follow-up comment to the Baton Rouge Advocate: “To say that the only achievement and the only positive ending is with one game and one game’s ending, that’s near-sighted, and that’s a long way away.” Well, here’s one person who’s not letting you off the hook so easily, Les. You and your people have laid down the gauntlet, so now, you better make this thing happen. If the Trojans hold up their end of the bargain and reach the Superdome, we better see some purple and gold on that other sideline. You worked up the crowd, coach — now give ’em what they want.”

Mandel says it all. Miles is simply trying to cover his butt. He is afraid of the upcoming season and needs an excuse. If I were the AD of LSU, I would fire him on the spot for making these excuses for his team this early in the season. If USC loses a game, they do not deserve a shot at the national title and if they go undefeated they absolutely do. Les Miles should hold his team up to these same standards….Take care of the matter at hand, win all of your games and you certainly will be playing in the BCS title game. Lose a game and you can go play Notre Dame again in the side game. Be afraid Les Miles, excuses will not save you this season and all of Trojan Nation wants a piece of the team you are making excuses for already. Actually, USC wants a piece of the team that wants to live up to their potential, go undefeated and have a shot at an undisputed national title. Mr. Miles…. your excuses will only carry you so far!!!!!

Flash Flash

July 7, 2007 Posted by | BCS, Les Miles, LSU, LSU Tigers, NCAA, ncaa football, Notre Dame, Pac-10, Pete Carroll, SEC, Sports, Stewart Mandel, thoughts, USC, USC Trojans | 12 Comments