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ASK CFN - Will Miles Run To Michigan?
LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
Posted Sep 14, 2007

Could Les Miles really leave LSU for Michigan? What are the 25 best coaching jobs? Should the FCS and FBS teams still mingle? These questions and a whole bunch more in the latest Ask CFN.

By Pete Fiutak
Fire over your questions to me at I might not be able to answer them all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise. (Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the questions short ... it makes my life easier.)

After not doing an ASK CFN for a few weeks, I thought I’d super-size the number of questions and rapid firing through. I’ll save the research questions for January. Now, it’s game on.

Why is there glee nationwide for fans that have no connection to Michigan other than college football? – MS

A: Everyone likes to see Goliath take a hit every once in a while, especially when it’s a program that just oozes arrogance from every pore like Michigan. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Michigan. However, no program, and no fan base, buys into the belief that they’re above everyone else more than this one. The place actually believes all the Leaders and Best stuff, and for good reason. We’re talking about the winningest program in college football history. No one has been better for longer, or has such deep rooted historical roots to make winning year in and year out a demand, not just a hope. In other words, the arrogance is warranted. From the e-mails I’ve been getting and the people I’ve talked to, the “glee” is because many believe the Wolverines are overrated year in and year out because of the brand name. Many see this as an evening out of the justice.

Past ASK CFNs ...    
- Supersized Season Premier of ASK CFN
 The most loved & hated teams
- Is Miami still a power?
- CFN's West Virginia ranking
- Is Booty Heisman-worthy?
- The USC Schedule
- The Big Ten Network
- The most underrated head coach
- The Top Ten NFL receiver prospects 

- Why did Brady Quinn slide?
- The Virginia Tech situation

- Creating a MWest-WAC super-league
Mid-majors who should be in the bigs
The potential new superpower
The 5 best coaching jobs
March Madness for football?
Potential Bowl Shockers
Tim Brewster?
Fox's BCS broadcasts
- Is Brady really better than Russell?
Hot & Cold Bowl Programs
- How ineffective was Reggie Ball?
- A 2007 Top 10 Mock Draft
Can Michigan win a national title?
- BCS possibilities for several teams
- West Virginia schedule, BCS rules
- Toughest coaching jobs
- Hidden Heisman 5

- Is Temple worst ever?
- Oklahoma-Oregon fiasco
- Has Bob Stoops lost it?
- Is Colorado done?

If Eric Ainge plays an outstanding game, and Tennessee actually beats Florida and then GA, would he make your Heisman watch list? – RT

A: Yup. Remember, the list is made based on the general mood, buzz, and realistic potential to at least be a finalist. Ainge has been great, but the Cal loss, at the moment, doesn’t even put him on the radar. Beating the Gators would change all that.

Was last years Michigan team really that good?  I wouldn't doubt it if they were but they were supposed to be even better this year.  This 0-2 start has me flashing back to 2005 when they ended the year 7-5.  Was the big 10 weak last year with Wisconsin and Ohio State being over hyped, allowing Michigan to get through to OSU undefeated (another question raised, how good was the win over notre dame last year?) or is it something else? - bored and wondering,
-Trevor H

A: To everyone who wants to continue to harp on Michigan and Ohio State being overrated last year, let me try to put this into some sort of perspective. Last year was an ugly one up and down every conference. While the SEC was good, every other big league was in a rebuilding mode. Notre Dame did make the BCS, so if you’re going to melt all over 2006 LSU, who’s only really, really good win came over the Irish in the Sugar Bowl (yes, I’m aware of victory over Arkansas), then you have to give Michigan credit for the 47-21 blowout in South Bend. Considering Wisconsin beat Arkansas, and Penn State beat Tennessee, you have to give credit to Michigan for beating both the Badgers and Wolverines. Michigan lost to Ohio State in Columbus and USC (who was far healthier than it was against UCLA) in the Rose Bowl. That’s not exactly losing to Appalachian State. As far as the Buckeyes, their win at Texas was one of the five best wins of the year. Beating Penn State and Michigan was also worthy of giving OSU the hype. That was a great team that got fat and lazy before meeting an ultra-motivated, very talented Florida.

What is the last non-conference foe to beat LSU?  I seem to remember Iowa on New Years day a few years back.  Who was it before that?  While we are at it, what was the last non-conference loss by Florida?  
- GY

A: Yup, the Tigers lost to Iowa on a blown coverage, last second touchdown in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. Before that, LSU lost to Texas in the 2003 Cotton Bowl, and the last non-conference regular season loss came against Virginia Tech to start off the 2002 season. The last non-conference home loss came to UAB, 13-10, in 2000. For Florida, the last non-conference loss was to Miami in the 2004 Peach Bowl. The last regular season non-conference loss was at home to Florida State in 2003 on a late Chris Rix touchdown pass.

Just wondering if you still think that I-A and I-AA have no business playing each other?  You sure felt strongly about it last year, but now that four I-AAs have beaten I-As this year, again, do you still feel the same way?
– DH

A: Yes, I think it more than ever before. Do the Lansing Lugnuts get to play games that count against the Boston Red Sox?  I’ve always said the top FCSers (I’m forcing myself to use the new names, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it) can play with most FBSers, and could beat the bottom 25-40. That’s not the point. For every Appalachian State over Michigan and Southern Illinois over Northern Illinois, there are a bazillion other Georgia Tech over Samfords and Pitt over Grambling States. Did you see what kind of a game Middle Tennessee gave Louisville? Instead of the FCSers getting a shot to play a big boy, I’d always rather see other FBSers get their shot. Every time an FCS beats an FBS, it gives yet another athletic director an excuse to not schedule Utah, Nevada, or UCF.

Myself and few buddies had a debate about the top 25 head coaching jobs in America.  Assuming that every job was open, which college football programs would you consider to be the top 25 jobs for a head coach in America?  We talked about factors like past win/loss history, national titles, heisman winners, tradition, expectations, salary, facilities, conference affiliation, fan base (both alumni, students and general public support), program potential and recruiting landscape.  Obviously some jobs are more valuable to some coaches than others (alma maters, previous assistant experience etc....), but what would your top 25 be?  Would there be any other factors to take into consideration?
– DB

A: We’ve done a piece on this before. There’s a top 25 of coaching jobs if they’re all open, and then there’s the one I’d take. Personally, I like big cities and wouldn’t be a fan of the win-at-all-cost pressure, so I’ve always said I want the Boston College job (I love the city) and would consider UCLA. But that’s me. If you asked all the coaches what the best gigs are, based on prestige, recruiting base, fan base, and all the other things you stated, and throwing the salary factor out of it, because some places will pay more to make up for other deficiencies, here’s my best guess on what the top 25 would be (remember, this is all about the jobs and has nothing to do with the current teams). 1. Michigan, 2. Notre Dame, 3. USC, 4. Ohio State, 5. Texas, 6. Florida, 7. Nebraska, 8. Penn State, 9. Tennessee, 10. Oklahoma, 11. LSU, 12. Alabama, 13. Georgia, 14. Wisconsin, 15. Miami, 16. Clemson, 17. Florida State, 18. UCLA, 19. West Virginia, 20. Auburn, 21. Virginia Tech, 22. Texas A&M, 23. Oregon., 24. Arkansas, 25. Iowa

Do I have a problem when I would rather watch Cincinnati vs. Oregon State and Rutgers vs. Navy last Thursday Night than the opening NFL game between the defending Super Bowl Champs and what is suppose to be one of the best offenses in the game? 
– Michael

A: No, you’re perfectly sane since New Orleans vs. Indianapolis didn’t really matter. The Saints lost. No big whoop. It was a must-see for me because of fantasy interests, but for college fans, watching a rising team like Cincinnati, seeing Ray Rice do his thing, enjoying the beauty of the Navy option, or for many, seeing Oregon State’s Yvenson Bernard for the first time (even if though he was shut down) is far more entertaining than the antiseptic pros.

What’s your feeling on teams not running plays against cupcakes and saving the playbook for big games?  A prime example is Maryland at FIU this past weekend.  Maryland struggled offensively after getting a 16-0 lead.  UMD didn’t throw long and ran no reverses.  A win is a win.  No injuries are important, too.  No turnovers is another reason for not running some plays.  Maybe the coaches wanted the O-line to see 8 men in the box, so that they will be ready against tougher competition.  On the other hand, some fans feel that it’s important to win these games big for two reasons.  First, the second and third teams can get some reps.  Second, a big win impresses the voters.
– John

A: It’s the smart thing to do, especially if it’s a team, like Maryland, that doesn’t really need style points to worry about in the national title race. If you’re talking about LSU, Oklahoma or USC, then yeah, you keep your foot on the gas and keep on going. Wisconsin took a huge national hit when everyone woke up and saw how close UNLV came to pulling off the upset. If you’re Maryland vs. FIU, you get in, do what you need to do to get comfortably ahead, work on what you need to, get the reserves some work, and then go home.

Who is the best 0-2 team?  Who is the worst 2-0 team?
– EH

A: Going into Saturday, I’d say the worst 2-0 teams are Connecticut, Indiana, Northwestern, and Wyoming. The best 0-2 team is probably Wake Forest, followed up by Michigan, Utah (who’s has been destroyed by injuries), Notre Dame and Nevada.

It's probably a little early to be thinking about the Les Miles-Michigan situation, but the whole thing reminds me of the Urban Meyer-Notre Dame-Florida love triangle of 2004. Would Les Miles really want a semi-rebuilding job at his "dream job" rather than the talent and trophies that go along with being a premier SEC program? Meyer didn't.
– DH

A: Never, ever think you can understand coaches. They’re a different breed of cat. Remember, part of the reason Meyer didn’t take the Notre Dame job was because the money was far less and the situation wasn’t nearly as strong. Meyer can certainly coach, but he was taking more money for a better situation. Michigan, if and when Lloyd Carr is gone, isn’t going to make the same mistake Notre Dame did. It’ll pay to get the guy it thinks can make the program a national title winner tomorrow, and the main candidate will get the royal treatment. While it might seem crazy for Miles to leave a nearly perfect situation, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, and countless others bolted when everything appeared to be set up to win year after year after year.

If I was a Michigan fan, which I'm not, because I'm a Buckeye to the bone, I'd have a problem with what Mike Hart said about his fans. Him saying that he didn't care about what the fans think is a slap to his whole team. The poor sportsmanship they show on and off the field shows a reflection toward the coach. That just tells you he should be removed. GO BUCKS. P.S. You'll never hear our coach or players slam the fans, No Matter What!!
– JT

A: You never, ever, ever, ever win by being even slightly negative when it comes to the fans. Players, coaches, and everyone around teams have to always be robots and say they have the best fans in the world no matter what the situation and how rough things are getting. With that said, Hart and the Wolverines can’t care what the fans think. The fans always think they care more than the player and coaches when things go bad, and for that, they’re absolutely, 100% wrong. No one cares more than the players and coaches since they’re the ones actually playing the games. And by the way, you’ll never hear Jim Tressel, Ohio State players, or players and coaches at most schools ever slamming the fans outwardly, but trust me, they’re thinking something totally different when things get tough and the pressure is on.

Did it bother you that Rutgers ran it up with 2 minutes to go and up by 17 over a service academy? These guys will be defending our country as soon as next year (for the seniors). I see no need to embarrass them. And their 1st team was still in the game. The Rutgers fans tried to justify running it up saying 41-17 sounds better than 34-17 and they need the big wins to climb in the polls. Any voter that saw the game knows Rutgers looked sloppy, but still won the game handily. If it was anyone but a service academy, I could see it.
– DH

A: First of all, who cares that it’s against a service academy? You’re doing everyone a disservice, and you’re actually disrespecting Navy, to treat it, or the other service academies, any differently than you’d treat any other team. If the feelings of the players on the service academies are hurt by losing a football game by 31 instead of one, I’m not sure I’d sleep well at night. Secondly, I didn’t really think that was running it up. It was still a 17 point game with just over two minutes to play, and while that might seem insurmountable, coaches who think that way are the ones having to sit and spin when miracles start to happen the other way. Just look at Northern Illinois losing to Southern Illinois last weekend. NIU was up 38-7 at halftime and ended up losing after allowing 14 points in the final minute. Running Ray Rice for a touchdown if you’re up 35 is running it up. Running him in that situation was perfectly acceptable. And finally, I’d have no problem even if Rutgers was running it up. This is a team with national title aspirations, and yes, looks do matter.