Why Les Miles decided to stay

 New York–Good morning from New York City, where we got a bunch of snow last night but this morning the sun is out and the main roads are clear. At this point of the journey it’s the little things that make you happy. Maybe I can actually get home to Atlanta tonight.

I apologize for posting this late but I want to touch on a few things as we start to wind down this week. Just to remind everyone of the schedule, I’ll spend the next few days wrapping up the 2010 season and looking ahead a little bit. Then I’ll step aside for the recruiting folks because that will dominate the conversation until signing day.

We’ll come back after signing day and start looking ahead to spring practice, 2011. It will be here quickly.

Here are just a few things I want to share before jumping out into the snow this morning:

1. Les Miles stayed because he listened to his head and not his heart: It was a very smart, very practical decision for Les Miles to stay at LSU and not go to Michigan, his alma mater. Miles has a very good team returning in 2011. LSU may be good enough to win the division and maybe more. But I thought the emotional tug of Michigan would be too hard to resist. The fact is that the next guy at Michigan, Brady Hoke, will have  a lot of rebuilding to do. Miles took a hard look at Michigan and realized that it wasn’t the place where he played and coached. Life changes. He recognized that.

2. Why does the SEC win championships? It’s the big guys up front. Pat Dye, the former Auburn coach, told me a long time ago othat the  biggest difference in the SEC and other football conferences is the big, fast defensive linemen who grow up and play in the South. It was clear in Monday night’s game that Oregon had not seen anybody like defensive tackle Nick Fairley. The SEC produces more of those players than any other conference. The SEC has won five straight national championships. That is not a coincidence.

3. I thought Saban and Meyer were pretty good on TV: ESPN caught some flak in some areas for putting Urban Meyer and Nick Saban on its coverage team for the BCS championship. But you are talking about two smart men who know the sport and who certainly know the SEC. Both have won multiple national championships. I heard from some Auburn people who thought Saban was stepping in on their moment. Expect to see more of Urban Meyer on TV this fall. He and I didn’t always agree on things but he knows his stuff and brings a different perspective to the games.

4. No one will break the SEC’s record of five straight BCS titles: I flew to NYC with a plane full of Auburn people trying to get home. Just about everyone I chatted with wanted to know if anybody would ever beat the SEC’s record of five straight national championships. I told them no because of two things:

It is just too hard to win one of these things. You have to be good, but you also have to have some good fortune. Auburn would be the first to say that they had the best football team in the country but that they could also go back to 4-5 bounces of the ball that could have changed everything.

The second is the SEC’s depth. The league has won five straight but it has been done by four different teams (Florida, Alabama, LSU, Auburn). No other conference has that kind of depth.

5.  Could it be LSU’s turn again? In 2007 the BCS championship was in New Orleans and LSU won  (beating Ohio State). In 2003 the BCS championship was in New Orleans and LSU won (beating Oklahoma). The 2011 BCS championship will be held in New Orleans. Are the Tigers primed to make it six in a row for the SEC? We’ll discuss that on Thursday as we look ahead to the SEC and ACC for 2011.

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240 comments Add your comment

42-34 - Dawgs STILL Run This State!

January 12th, 2011
9:02 am

First. Agree Tony, well said. Les is a hoot.

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:02 am

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:02 am

oops…second

The rest of us

January 12th, 2011
9:05 am

He probably listened to his offensive coordinator that told him with Mettenberger at QB the team could be win the West next year.

Andrew

January 12th, 2011
9:05 am

Wow, Tony, you just make things up as you go along, don’t you. I’m sure the fact that Les Miles WAS NEVER OFFERED THE JOB had NOTHING to do with his decision not to leave LSU. I’m sure the fact that a school on probation didn’t want to hire one of the dirtier recruiters in the SEC (and that’s saying something) whose school just reported a litany of violations had nothing to do with Les’ decision to stick around.

Keep on spoutin your gospel…

4thNGutless

January 12th, 2011
9:05 am

Tony – how many SEC coaches would NOT have gone for a TD on 4th and inches when Richt pulled up lame and opted for the gimme field goal? THAT is what separates championship-caliber teams.

I enjoyed Saban and the broadcast but have no respect for CUM being on there.

It must hurt

January 12th, 2011
9:06 am

It must hurt that all these SEC teams keep winning and the doggies keep underachieving. Pathetic football team, pathetic fans, pathetic coach, and most importantly; pathetic school. How bout them doggies? Bunch of gays……

Irrelevant = ugay

Murphy

January 12th, 2011
9:09 am

I love watching Lucky Les coach a game-as long as he isnt coaching my team.He would give me a heart attack! Glad to see he is staying in the SEC.

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:10 am

LSU is primed to make a run next year. I think they’re the team to beat in the SEC west. That could be said of five different teams in thhe west, but LSU looks the strongest to me.

Those chances don’t come along very often….even in the SEC. I’m guessing the UM program is a five-year rebuild….minimum. Miles is pushing sixty, and the big clock is ticking away…..and we all know his penchant for clock management.

collegeballfan

January 12th, 2011
9:11 am

Nice column. Yeah, LSU will be a tough team to beat next season.

NCDawg

January 12th, 2011
9:11 am

First, how was Saban stepping on Auburn’s moment. I would think it would be extra sweet seeing him able to be on TV while Auburn was still on the field.

Second, yes the SEC’s record of 5 NC’s will be broken – by the SEC.

Murphy

January 12th, 2011
9:13 am

3RDn8,

Like the remark about Les in reference to his age anc clock management–LMAO!

JB

January 12th, 2011
9:15 am

Speaking of long shots for the Georgia job, but I bet he’s on McGarity’s short list….A guy who went to East Carolina, who had won like 3 games in two years and went 5-6,7-6,8-5,9-5,9-5 and in 2008, upset ranked VT and West Virginia. Took the job at South Florida last year and went 8-5 out of the box with wins over Miami and Beat Clemson in their bowl……..Don’t laugh, the guy can coach…..Skip Holtz.

Appreciative Guy & Bama Fan

January 12th, 2011
9:15 am

Tony — Thanks for all the great commentary this past season, both through your AJC gig and through the various broadcast venues. It’s been fun. Congratulation to AU –Job well done. The SEC appreciates it. Enjoy! See you next season in Athens, Columbia, Clemson (?), and Baton Rouge –not to mention the Cam-less Iron Bowl in Auburn. Thanks, Tony!

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:15 am

I thought Saban did a masterful job of lobbying for the defense. He pointed out that these fast break offenses made injuries more likely. I think that is probably true. He didn’t point out that those offenses also take away the ability of the defense to platoon substitutes, and reduce the defensive schemes that can be called.

Dawg_Mike

January 12th, 2011
9:17 am

Nice to know Urb will be on our screens this fall, while spending more time with his family.

Forever Dog

January 12th, 2011
9:17 am

It Must Hurt,

For all our problems, we still consistently whip Tech’s butts on the gridiron. Now we own you pimple-faced geeks on the hardwood too.

That certainly eases the pain.

DawginLex

January 12th, 2011
9:17 am

Do none of you people watch college football?

Idiots like Fran Tarkenton and others annointing Mettenberger as the savior for LSU next year.

Did you not watch Jordan Jefferson abuse Texas A&M?

He has another year.

Dawg_Mike

January 12th, 2011
9:18 am

I expect the SEC to be won by the Mad Hatter in 2011 and they might just make it 6 in a row for the SEC. I would not bet against it.

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:19 am

DawginLex

agree re: Jefferson. He made major strides as a QB this year. I think he’ll be tough to beat out.

Murphy

January 12th, 2011
9:19 am

JB,

Please not a Holtz at UGA. I feel sick after reading that remark!

Dawg_Mike

January 12th, 2011
9:19 am

@ Dawg in Lex-
I thought the same thing. maybe we should wait until ZM takes a snap before annointing him. Geez.

yankeegator

January 12th, 2011
9:20 am

Yes Miles did the right thing buy staying. Don’t know if they can win the West with losses on D and on off. Nat champ no way they were lucky not to lose to Tenn and FLA don’t be surprised if florida wins the SEC.

JB

January 12th, 2011
9:23 am

Murphy, I know, but whoever we hire, half will hate it. You can bet he’ll be at a bigger program in a year or two, to many jobs come open. Don’t let how you feel about his father taint you. His Father is NO fan of UGA I know.

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:24 am

JB

agree re: Skip Holtz. I didn’t get to see South Florida play this year, but thought his East Carolina teams were well coached.

Also…..he doesn’t have a pronounced lisssssph

Forrest Gump

January 12th, 2011
9:25 am

Would someone send Richt a book that explains that sometimes you go for the touchdown? You get more points that way. Richt’s off-season study of football should start with books that have big writing and lots of pictures.

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:26 am

Speaking of next year. Anyone watching the recruiting boards? Jimbo Fisher is making a statement at FSU. Football in Florida is going to be real intersting for the next several years.

Murphy

January 12th, 2011
9:26 am

JB,

I see Mullen being our next coach.I really feel strong about this. You know if Skip did come to UGA we would have to hear the old man constantly supoorting our program which would be BS cause of the way he slams us now.But in reality who can say something good bout us these days.

sec rules

January 12th, 2011
9:27 am

JB

January 12th, 2011
9:28 am

If Miles had left, Jimbo would have been the first call…………..and he would of hung up on him….FSU is on the way back…..The State is loaded…..and most were waiting on Bowden to leave………Hum, sounds Familiar.

UGAFan

January 12th, 2011
9:28 am

I don’t know, Murphy, we’d get a lot of free airtime at ESPN with Lou!

Ah, it still wouldn’t be worth it . . .

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:29 am

About five years ago, Mark Richt spent quite a bit of time during the offseason talking with various corporate CEOs. His goal was to learn better management techniques, then apply them to his football program.

That may have been a quantum leap he shouldn’t have taken.

Tiger Bait

January 12th, 2011
9:31 am

Anthony, like many others I enjoy reading your columns. As a LSU fan, you never cease to amaze me on your LSU comments that are off target. You were on record as saying Miles would leave LSU
and take the Michigan job. Once again wrong you were wrong. For some time now, LSU is a better job in a better conference than Michigan. There is nothing wrong with going home when Momma calls, but it is best not to mess with happiness.

DawginLex

January 12th, 2011
9:32 am

If Richt fails and gets run, I can see McGarrity taking a strong run at Chris Peterson. I’m wondering if that is why he turned down Stanford. They are going to the Mountain West but that is still not an AQ school. They are going to have to fight the same battle that TCU fought this year-no respect.

Wonder why McGarrity scheduled Boise to open the season?

Hmmmmmmmm………..

UGAFan

January 12th, 2011
9:33 am

3rdN8, richt must have missed the part where the CEOs told him about getting rid of non-productive assistants . . .

JB

January 12th, 2011
9:34 am

I think Mullen is on the list…… And he’ll be on others also……I hate to say it, but I feel McGarity is privately thinking about this now. I think even the one’s who want Mark gone, would reconsider if we could win 9-10 games and the ones we lose were hard fought and close. Lot’s and Lot’s of changes would have to take place though on how we prepare for game day. The program is very stale.

Ormewood

January 12th, 2011
9:35 am

LSU could very well make a run. They appear, at least on paper, to be the best team in the SEC West. Nothing impressive in the SEC East. Oklahoma should be really good. Jones is back at QB. So is their WR who caught 100+ balls this past season.

SoCal Dawg

January 12th, 2011
9:36 am

NO HOLTZ AT UGA… EVER!

Mock Richt

January 12th, 2011
9:37 am

When is it Georgia’s turn?

Comment Here

January 12th, 2011
9:38 am

Richt needs to WAKE UP.

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:39 am

MURPHY

If Mullen has another good year, he’ll be on most short lists. There is no way MSU would win a bidding war with UGA. Fisher would be a tougher hire. Athens doesn’t have the edge over Tallahassee that it has over Starkville.

Redneck 61

January 12th, 2011
9:40 am

FIRE MARK RICHT GA IS WASTING TIME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AU National Champs!

January 12th, 2011
9:41 am

It’s funny how everyone wants to judge Cam Newton but yet they know absolutely nothing about him. The hatred comes with the territory and to be honest, it’s to be expected from Dawg fans. They are jealous of Auburn’s success and they will keep spewing the hate until they turn blue in the face. When the truth comes out and AU is completely cleared,they will still spread the lies & false rumors. Heck, if the NCAA said right now they had solid evidence that Cam did nothing wrong and Auburn was not involved, these morons would still be on here spreading hate. The truth doesn’t matter to them, their jealousy has blinded them to the hilt. Better to just ignore them and let them fade into oblivion…..

ATLBadger

January 12th, 2011
9:41 am

Or maybe Brandon never really wanted Miles at Michigan, but went down there to appease factions of the UM fanbase.

http://www.freep.com/article/20110111/col22/110111051

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:42 am

AU National Champs!

No one has said one word about Cam Newton until you showed up. Enjoy your trophy, the AU family deserves it. See you in November.

Gbal

January 12th, 2011
9:43 am

I do have a bit of a problem with Saban and Meyer as announcers on ESPN. Face it, neither needs the money and both have to be ready for a break from football. The only reason they would agree to be on the broadcast (especially Saban) is for the recruiting exposure for their respective schools. (Meyer could be considering some partime work for next season.)

I personally feel like the NCAA should step in and have some type of rule against a current coach of a university doing announcing or analysis of any other game broadcast. You have two teams that are playing on the field and have earned TV exposure for their respective universities and then you have an analyst from another (competitor) university taking some of the spotlight. I just don’t think this sounds like the right thing to do here. Something is wrong with this.

AU National Champs!

January 12th, 2011
9:45 am

3rd and 8 did you miss the 15 pages of hatred that was posted on here yesterday? They just haven’t woken up yet…..

ADL

January 12th, 2011
9:45 am

Willing to bet the farm that it won’t be UGA winning the NC (or the SEC) anytime soon. Everyone in Athens seems happy to beat GT and go to the PBR Bowl in Podunk every year. But hey, at least them Dawgs are out-recruiting everybody for the cream of the correctional facility crop.

JB

January 12th, 2011
9:45 am

@9:41……” judge Cam and not know anything about him”………Really? I bet the Academic Dept. at UF Knows a little about him. I bet the Campus police at UF know something about him………..Caught cheating in College and caught with a stolen Lap Top is all the Fine Character knowledge I need

3rdN8

January 12th, 2011
9:46 am

re: Saban and Meyer on TV. Didn’t see anything odd about it….most people would acknowledge that those two know a little bit about football.

Last year Tuberville was doing the same thing, and I thought he did a good job.