There was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to.
—Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Les Miles is an entertaining man. He’s engaging, takes time to talk to people, is interesting, and is therefore immensely popular with his players, the media, and a certain faction of the LSU fanbase. The rational ones, the ones who appreciate what he’s given them and can comprehend that football is fun. None of these fans sit on the LSU administration, however, and his relationship with them was frosty at best and he’d left himself very little room for error in 2016.
The other faction, the Twitter mobs and the railing Finebaum callers who expected LSU to exist on the same plane as Alabama hated him fiercely. They wanted him gone because he failed recently to live up to the very high standard he created for himself. Yesterday they got their wish.
Despite all his good qualities and successes, there is a legitimate gripe with his inexplicable ability to bungle clock management at crucial times. It has evolved in recent years from an amusing joke to a more concerning and serious trend, and the finish at Auburn on Saturday was one space-time continuum trip too many. Cooler heads prevailed last year in November. Ten months later, sitting at 2-2 after being ranked #5 to start the year, Les’ own time ran out. For better or worse, Les Miles is on the market.
Les Miles will do whatever Les Miles wants to do, and he’ll be pretty good at it. Whether or not he should have been fired is irrelevant now: it’s part of the random gumbo of college football that makes it so interesting. He’s not dead, and he’s probably not through with football just yet, and anyway we’ve got a huge vault of Les moments to pull from.
Here’s one of my favorites: in 2001 he took 3-7 Oklahoma State on the road to 10-1 #4 Oklahoma and pull this out of his hat:
Don’t worry about Les. Les will be fine. He’s funnier and luckier than you, and will always find a way to surprise people despite constantly resetting the bar.