Les is No More: A Georgia Fan’s Reflection on Les Miles
Rough 12 months for lovers of college football. Not talking about any of the games, the recruiting charades or alleged scandals. I’m talking about losing two absolute legends of the game – Steve Spurrier and Les Miles in less than a year’s time.
Spurrier ceremoniously quit mid-season because he couldn’t take the losing. As a Georgia fan that spent decades being tormented by his maniacal genius, that abrupt ending is both my favorite Spurrier moment (again, as a Georgia fan) and a poignant ending.
I suppose it’s equally fitting that Les Miles’ tenure in Baton Rouge came to an all-too-obvious ending as the final second of LSU’s comeback bid ticked before the ball was snapped at Jordan-Hare stadium. But I love Les Miles for that. I love that this is how it ended for him. But I hate that it did end for him. And I hate the context of that ending.
I hate to the very core of my being that yet another Jordan-Hare miracle took place. Sure, the right call was made. But that’s not the point here. The point is that such game-altering antics don’t happen at other stadiums. Neither do the tipped balls or the Kick-Six. And I hate that Auburn played a part in that. I don’t know that Gus would have been bused out of town with a loss, but if he was I’d like to think some of Auburn’s other-worldy BS mojo would have gone with him.
And I hate that so much of this came down to unfit expectations.
Last year, LSU opened the year 7-0. Then, after three-straight losses to divisional rivals (Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss), Miles was nearly fired. In those three losses a miserable single-option offense (Fournette-or-Bust) managed a meager 47 total points. It’s hard to quantify just how close Miles was to getting the boot, but daaaaamn it was close. The offense was very much at the core of LSU’s problems.
Over the offseason, LSU brought in a few of decent WRs and offensive linemen in a stout signing class that was (per usual) defense-heavy. Danny Etling (who threw 16 TDs and 12 INTs for Purdue over the course of two seasons), saw his redshirt roll off post-transfer and entered the mix. But no real offensive improvements were made. The media quite appropriately tabbed this team as the FIFTH BEST TEAM IN THE NATION!
Well guess, what? LSU isn’t a Top 5 team. They weren’t then and they aren’t now. Supposedly, that is disappointing. Supposedly losing to Wisconsin (no. 8) is disappointing. Losing by one point on the road to Auburn is disappointing and a fire-able offense – supposedly.
I’m not saying it wasn’t time for Les to go or that his entire exit is inappropriate (it’s sadly perfect). But I’m not yet glad it happened, I’m devastated that it’s over.
Fare thee well, Les. Have fun eating artificial turf at Notre Dame. (Please. Please. Please.)
That’s all I got/