“I can tell you that I would like nothing better than the play USC for the national title,” Miles said this week of his potential rivals for a national championship at Southern Cal. “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 … I would like that path for us. I think the SEC provides much stiffer competition.”
Miles made his remarks during a radio interview with station WWL in New Orleans and continued in that vein later in the week, also criticizing the scheduling position taken by his former colleagues in the Big 12.
“The Big 12 is a conference that might have two really pretty good teams, maybe four,” said Miles. “I think the Pac-10 may have one or two really good ones … I don’t think there’s any conference out there that has as many quality teams as ours.”
While panned by many observers as inflammatory and uninformed, Miles’s comments were received warmly by his constituents and have provided an undeniable boost to Miles’s push to coach the Tigers again in 2008.
“It’s about time someone told it like it is,” said Beau Lamoreaux of Natchitoches. “The Pac-10 is a joke. USC’d lose three games every year if they played in the SEC.”
“We’d have kicked their ass in 2003, just like Florida did to Ohio St., only worse,” said Maurice LaFleur of Hammond. “I’m glad to see Coach Miles come out and deliver the truth, ‘cause those [vaginas] at ESPN don’t want to hear it. It’s all LSU this year, baby! Go Tigers!”
Despite Miles’s modest successes throughout his first two terms as coach, he has remained more accepted than beloved throughout the LSU community and is often portrayed as indecisive, befuddled, ill-equipped for the position, and less-than-fashion conscious.
For that reason, many view this week’s remarks and his previous public catcall of “[currently engaging in sexual intercourse] Alabama” as a transparent ploy to replace his wishy-washy image with a more aggressive and—more importantly—more popular model.
“These remarks are blatant pandering,” said Dr. Elwin T. Orville, political science professor at Southeastern Louisiana University. “Miles is looking to score easy points with the electorate and appeal to his base, and he knows that the wounds from 2003 are still fresh enough that this is the quickest way to do so—even if, and maybe particularly because, he wasn’t even involved at the time.
“But Miles can’t actually believe what he’s saying here—any idiot could figure that a schedule with road trips to Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Cal, and Arizona St. isn’t exactly a walk in the park. And until he got to LSU he’d spent his entire college coaching career in the Big 12 and Big 10, but just three years later he’s a bigger SEC shill than Gary Danielson? These comments aren’t what he thinks, they’re what he thinks his supporters want to hear.”
Nonetheless, Miles’s public approval rating is now at its highest level since he first won the coach’s office in 2005. Strategists feel, however, that the ultimate success of his campaign will be hinge on whether Miles can come up with a meaningful long-term approach without his former top strategy advisor, Jimbo Fisher, now working to salvage the reputation of fading Florida St. head coach
“It makes for a nice soundbite to talk about USC’s schedule, but sooner or later, Miles is going to have to confront the real issues,” said Arbuckle Gourmand, political columnist for the Lake Charles View-Daily. “Who’s going to replace Russell? Is Crowton going to work out? What about the secondary without Landry? Those are the questions Miles is going to have to answer to win this race, not how long an ovation he can get at the local booster club luncheon.”
“Taking on easy targets like Saban and the Pac-10 can get you lot of mileage in July, but his constituents aren’t going to remember a word of it if he’s getting his ass whipped in Tuscaloosa in November,” said famed presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “Bottom line: he’s a tool.”
[/satire] Happy 4th, everyone.