Candid Les

By Adam Caparell - July 06, 2007

Let Les Miles speak his mind and apparently he's going to be pretty candid, especially when the topic of conversation turns to the best team in the nation, USC, and its Pac-10 counterparts.

If you haven't heard by now, the LSU coach was highly critical of USC's schedule and the Pac-10 itself in a New Orleans radio interview last week. The juiciest quote from the interview had Miles disparaging USC and its conference as second rate.

"I can tell you this, that they have a much easier road to travel," Miles said. "They're going to play real knockdown drag-outs with UCLA and Washington, Cal-Berkeley, Stanford - some real juggernauts - and they're going to end up, it would be my guess, in some position so if they win a game or two that they'll end up in the title (game). I would like that path for us."

Now the comments, not surprisingly, are causing a little firestorm.

For starters, Miles is way off base on multiple fronts. His assessment of the quality of the Pac-10 is wrong. UCLA and Cal are two top 25 teams. Cal's a top 10 team in my opinion, and they, along with the Bruins, are going to be major players on the college football scene this year. The Bears get a nice early test from one of Miles' brethren, Tennessee, to start the season. So Week 1 will provide a nice barometer of just how really is better.

Second, USC doesn't exactly have a cake walk to the BCS Championship Game like Miles believes. They play Nebraska on the road along with Notre Dame, Oregon, Cal and Arizona State - no easy places to play. Yes, LSU has to fight through the SEC, but their toughest road game comes against Alabama. Other than that, the Tigers get all their truest tests at home with Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas traveling to Baton Rouge. LSU's non-conference games come against Middle Tennessee State, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and of course the Hokies. Think there aren't a few easy wins for the Tigers in that group?

But in the interview, Miles didn't limit himself to commenting on some of the other major conferences.

"The Big 12 is a conference that might have two really pretty good teams, maybe four," Miles, the former Oklahoma State coach, said. "I think the Pac-10 may have one or two really good ones. The ACC certainly, arguably, has some quality teams."

Nearly everyone agrees that the SEC is the best conference. With the likes of LSU, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas and other extremely physical and talented teams, the SEC is a cut above the rest. We've all known this and if not, we're constantly reminded by every SEC coach on a weekly basis.

But the SEC is not without their bad teams as well. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both going to be bad this year. And its not like SEC is going to place five teams in the preseason top 10. The Pac-10, Big Ten and Big East should each have two teams in top 10 - along with LSU and Florida from the SEC - when the polls come out.

But Miles apparently doesn't want to hear it.

"I don't think there's any conference out there that has as many quality teams as ours," Miles said.

What prompted these comments from Miles is unknown. He could have just been playing to his Tiger fan base with these comments. LSU fans have as much of a hatred for USC as they do any other SEC school. They're still bitter about the Trojans sharing the 2003 national title with LSU and the most recent transgression that irked Tigers fans came after highly-touted tailback, and Louisiana native, Joe McKnight spurned LSU for USC on signing day.

"I can tell you that I would like nothing better than to play USC for the title," Miles said.

Careful what you wish for, coach. Remember, it was USC that absolutely destroyed the SEC West champs at home last year to the tune of a 36 point victory over Arkansas.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:28 PM on July 06, 2007
Comments (5)



I think Les is mostly correct.Put USC in the SEC and year in and year out they lose 1-2 conference games, knocking them out of any championship hopes. The stars were in sync for Florida to make it last year with gifts at Tennessee, Georgia, and FSU. E, you smell of Big 10. And that conference is only slightly better than the PAC 10. Behind Michigan,OSU and on occasion Wisconsin or PSU, what do you have?

Like it or not.. Les Miles is correct so you have 2 choices; expose yourself and demonstrate some degree of football IQ by agreeing w/Les; or 2- Don't even come out of the woodwork..

I think Les needs to spend less time doing radio interviews and dedicate more time to figuring out how to score more than a combined 13 points against Auburn and Florida.
By comparison, "juggernauts" Arkansas and Georgia scored 27 and 37 respectively AT Auburn.
Also, Auburn and Arkansas scored 27 and 28 respectively against Florida.
And, if Miles wants to talk about gifts, how about getting to play an incredibly overrated bunch of posers in an over-hyped bowl game?
LSU = Best talent in the SEC, third best results last year.
And thanks for Joe McKnight.

Les Miles is correct According to pre-season rankings USC doesnt play anyone in the top 12.

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