Coming into year 12 on the bayou, Les Miles still holds his seat at the head of the LSU football table, even if the chair was almost pulled out from under him in November. On the brink of the 2016 campaign, some in the national media believe Miles’ seat remains decidedly un-tepid.
Dennis Dodd, national college football writer for CBSSports.com, deemed Miles to have the hottest seat in the country in his most recent piece.
For my money the math for Miles to remain in 2017 – and finish his contract through 2019 – is at once simple and complex. The simple math dictates that should LSU lose four or more games, Miles gets an early jump on being the next Lee Corso. Doesn’t matter who those four losses come to, the jig will be up. There’s too much talent, as usual, and one of the nation’s highest paid staffs, again, to justify that result. There’s even a veteran quarterback, which is not always the case.
Lose two games or fewer, and Miles will continue to be (and deserve to be) the leader of the Bayou Bengals. So in many ways, considering the do-or-die scenario I’ve laid out, Miles represents the very definition of being on the hot seat. Play your way into keeping your job, or lose it. Prove it time.
Where it gets tricky is if LSU goes 9-3. That would signify another middle-of-the-road conference performance as it all but certainly means a 5-3 run through the SEC. It would signify another year without a trip to Atlanta (bowl season for the Chicken-not-Cow Bowl doesn’t count). But it also wouldn’t be a complete collapse.
Within that interesting purgatory that exists via a three-loss campaign is the matter of which teams dish LSU the three setbacks. I don’t believe it’s as simple as Dodd puts forth, that beating ‘Bama cures what ails Miles over the last four-plus seasons. In other words, if LSU beats Nick Saban and the Tide but loses three games elsewhere in the league, is Miles really safe? I’m not sure that would be the case.
Ultimately, LSU legitimately must contend for division and conference titles to extend The Hat’s life at the Old War Skule. So, yeah, the seat is hot. That much is clear, even if some of the math isn’t.