No one in college football is more profligate with the goodwill of his fanbase, or so immune to their anger, as Les Miles. It is his chief political talent to be nothing less than the flubbery, rubbery, and completely inadhesive substance LSU fans can neither remain mad at nor completely happy with for too long at any one stretch. Heap him with praise, and it falls off in seconds. Condemn him, and he springs back with an unnatural bounce.
You might think this is a new phenomenon, but as we hope to show at every level, from message board to paid columnist, it is anything but a recent trend. The Mad Hatter has always dodged your expectations, zigged when you zagged, and coned before anyone knew what coning was.
A golden collection from the dark depths of the increasingly aged sports internet. We begin with 2005's golden judgments, preserved in amber from the most amazing message board commenters ever.
Man, I sure hope Les Miles is stupid enough to hire Pelini at LSU.
He was! And it cost him his job, wife, and the very home he watched burn to the ground while Carl Pelini peed on it. PELINI!!! [Les Miles shakes fist at heavens, vows revenge]
We move further forward through the Miles Archive to 2007, where despite a gathering read on the man we rediscover our communal ignorance of the man's mysteries, myth, and building legend. This came on the heels of Les dropping a profanity re: Alabama at an LSU function, one we will not print here but describe as rhyming with "fucking." (P.S. It's "fucking.")
The crowd, which included women and children, roared its approval. Why would Miles get involved with such childish behavior?
He was sitting right there in plain sight, and we as an internet people still didn't even know what he was. Then 2007 happened, and the mutual bafflement of that season still hasn't subsided in full. The Mad Hatter phase lasted from roughly 2007 to 2009, the year when Miles, flush with success, determined that he could control the clock. Thus beings the Les Miles, Time Lord Phase.
This is a dark and confusing phase for all, including highly-paid national columnists attempting to reconcile the ballsy brilliance of 2007 with what they were seeing in 2009.
1. Is Les Miles is on the hot seat? There are a lot of upset LSU fans this morning and deservedly so. After doing this for a lot of years, I’m sure I’ve seen a worse example of mismanaging of the clock than LSU had at the end of the Ole Miss game in Oxford. But for the life of me, I can’t think of one.
Another glowing salute to Miles' coaching acumen from the mainstream media.
LSU, to put it bluntly, is a national laughingstock this morning. If you have ever seen the final minute of a game mismanaged as badly as that one, raise your hand.
Fast forward to January 3rd, 2012. Based on a completely random read of what was written about Miles after this, we now assume 2012 Les Miles is smarting from a Music City Bowl loss and a serious fall down stairs when "he thought they were an escalator just taking a breather." Worried for his job, fearing for his livelihood, Miles pleads with his superiors for patience and---
Yet as bad as it looked then, check out now: That’s Saban, the coach who has reenergized the Alabama program, chasing Miles two seasons after winning the national championship. And for the first time since Miles arrived in Baton Rouge in 2005 to replace Saban (who had left for the Miami Dolphins), Miles has a chance to erase the memories of Saban’s championship season on the Bayou.
Miles and LSU then put on one of the worst offensive performances in a football lifetime, something the starting quarterback for that doomed team still seems not to fully understand. That may be the point here. You want it to be easy with Les Miles, because "easy" would mean "not perpetually wondering what fresh hell and/or genius is around the corner."
That would be nice. It would also be completely inaccurate, because he is Les Miles, and is at this moment eating his GPS device both because it it delicious and he doesn't want to stop for snacks, but also because getting a bead on him is the last thing he wants you to do.