5 Thoughts - The Les Miles To Michigan Saga
LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les Miles
Posted Dec 3, 2007

From the Les Miles soap opera on Saturday to Colt Brennan to the cream rising to the crop, and more, here are Five Thoughts from the past weekend.

Five Thoughts: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week
9 | Week 10
Week 11 | Week 12 |
Week 13

Where there's Maize and Blue smoke ...

By Pete Fiutak   

1. To clean up one of my favorite sayings, don’t whiz on my back and tell me it’s raining.

My man Richie Cirminiello got inside word on the Friday before the SEC Championship that the Tiger players knew that Les Miles was going to take the Michigan job and that Bo Pelini was off to Nebraska. This was a big-time inside tip, but doing our due diligence, we held off on the story (trust me when I say almost any other outlet would’ve gone with the info we had) until we could get absolute, 100% confirmation. By that time, other media outlets had heard the same thing, and from different sources. Then on Saturday morning, ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit went public with it causing LSU to react swiftly with great vengeance and furious anger.

Again, this wasn’t exactly exclusive insider knowledge to Herbstreit. So even after the cat was totally out of the bag that Miles was at least thinking about Michigan, what does Miles do? He has the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to hold a press conference just before the SEC Championship game and feign righteous indignation by basically suggesting that the story was made up. The LSU official web site had in the SEC Championship game story that Miles had “debunked an ESPN rumor,” like the story came from a Tennessee fan on a message board. Just because someone yells and acts all mad, that doesn’t mean what he’s saying is necessarily true.

What possible good would it do ESPN, or any reputable media outlet, to lie about something like this? It’s not like GameDay is at the forefront of investigative journalism, and it’s not like it’s known for being anything more than a very, very good Up With College Football show, so if Herbstreit is going to report on something that big, it’s going to be relatively rock-solid. Remember, ESPN could've gotten it right, and then the story changed because of it.

Again, we didn't have the story cold and didn't go with it, but all indications were that Miles was at least mentally in Ann Arbor and thinking about the opportunity, LSU stepped up to squash the situation before the biggest game of the year, and the marriage in Baton Rouge apparently remains intact … for now.

Now this gets really, really interesting because Miles is stuck. He can't go take his dream job and he has to be Mr. LSU, even though he's a worse actor than Keanu Reeves when it comes to talk about the Michigan gig. Now that his team actually won the SEC title and is playing for the national title, he can't go after the job, Michigan needs to move on, and LSU fans are left wondering if they really have an LSU guy coaching their beloved team. 

Here's the deal. If Miles actually signs the long term contract with LSU, then the situation is squashed and life goes on. But if Miles ends up taking the Michigan job, he has to go to each and every LSU player and fan and personally apologize for yanking their chain. Let's wait until Michigan actually hires someone else before closing the book on this.

And at the end of the day, it's going to be LSU 1, USC 2 ...

By Richard Cirminiello

Nothing made sense throughout the 2007 regular season.  It was wire-to-wire mayhem marked by unimaginable surprises and a complete upheaval of all things logical.  It was a world gone mad.  Or maybe not.  Yes, there were signature upsets delivered by the likes of Appalachian State, Stanford, and Pittsburgh, and nobody anticipated a two-loss team in the title game, but were things really as whacky as you’ve been led to believe?  Consider, for instance, the six winners of the major conferences.  West Virginia will be representing the Big East.  Most everyone had the ‘eers winning the league in the preseason.  Virginia Tech in the ACC.  No surprise.  Ohio State in the Big Ten.  Unexpected, sure, but it’s the Buckeyes, so it’s not as if Minnesota took the crown.  Oklahoma won the Big 12 for the sixth time this decade.  USC took the Pac-10 for the sixth year in-a-row.  The SEC winner was LSU, the overwhelming favorite before the season began.  Meeting for the national championship in New Orleans will be the Tigers and the Buckeyes, a pair of traditional powers that have been in this position before in the 21st century.

An odd year?  You bet.  However, one good look at the power brokers heading into the bowl season reveals that things haven’t turned out nearly as bizarre as you might think.

If you actually stayed up past midnight, you would've liked him more

By John Harris

3. Colt Brennan’s circuitous college career ended early this morning, well, at least from a regular season standpoint.  It’s been a “Long, Strange Trip” – a trip that has taken the once cocky youngster from the brink of self-destruction to being the leader of the only undefeated team in the nation.  Three years ago, all anyone knew about Brennan was that he was trying to resurrect (or salvage) his career at the University of Hawaii in relative anonymity.  Today?  Different story.

He missed two games this season and still threw for 4,174 yards and 38 touchdowns on the season.  Over the last two seasons against five BCS conference teams and Boise State (twice), Brennan has averaged 438 yards passing and four touchdowns.  Yes, that’s over two years, but it dispels the bogus lack of competition argument, or at least quells that argument.  He actually played better against Boise State and Washington than he did all season long.

A good number of Heisman voters held on their votes over the weekend to see what Chase Daniel and/or Pat White were going to do with the stage to themselves.  And, it’s a good thing they did because Brennan was able to make one last push.  All he did in the biggest game in Hawaii history was complete 84% of his 50 passes for 442 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Warriors back from a 21-point deficit to a 35-28 win.

I’m not saying that he’s going to win it, but Heisman voters, just take a look.  A long hard look before you pencil in another name.

Uh, what was that thing in Kansas City for?

By Matthew Zemek

. If the BCS insists on limiting conferences to two BCS bowl appearances, why is it that the third-best teams in two conferences--and two weaker conferences at that--are in the BCS?
Kansas was the third-best team in the Big 12 (perhaps fourth-best if you ask the Texas Longhorns), and Illinois was clearly the No. 3 team in the mediocre Big Ten. Second-place Arizona State and second-place Missouri have to be fuming right now.
Good ol' college football. Teams bust their chops for an elusive shot at the big time, but politics denies the Sun Devils and Tigers at the expense of clearly inferior teams. Great. (It's time for a break before the bowl rush.)

The gods of college football are about to squish us like a bug

By Pete Fiutak   

5. If this wasn't the most fun college football season ever, it was at least number two, going down to the final last moments deep into the night when Hawaii picked off Washington to save it dream year. Every moment of this season from day one was a treat that got better and better as the year goes on, and now it's payback time.

I really, really hope I'm wrong, but don't we all know exactly what's going to happen when USC plays Illinois in the Rose Bowl? Oklahoma vs. West Virginia should be great, but if the Sooner defense plays like it did against Missouri in the Big 12 title game, that could be a dog with fleas. If Georgia shows up and brings its A game against Hawaii, the Sugar Bowl might be brutal. Virginia Tech is playing the wrong Big 12 team in the Orange Bowl, and it's not like there are a slew of must-see bowl matchups up and down the line. I'm college football boy and I love watching everyone, but I'm having a hard time doing my Dick Vitale-like sell job on the early bowls.

With 32 of them, the odds are good that we'll get at least a few classics to cancel out the duds. I'm just hoping the games don't kill the buzz of such a great year.