Les For Miles

By Adam Caparell - November 23, 2007


So I guess this makes Les Miles' decision to potentially become the next head coach at Michigan a little easier considering he doesn't have to worry about missing out on his team playing for the national championship.

Not after the Tigers were victimized as the No. 1 team in the nation for the second time this season in triple overtime by Arkansas Friday evening. One coach under fire, Houston Nutt, got the better of the other, Miles, because the Tigers struggled on offense in the first half - namely Matt Flynn's inability to throw an accurate ball - had trouble containing Darren McFadden and, when it came down to it, couldn't make the critical stops on defense in the red zone, a knock against the Tigers all season long that showed its ugly head.

The worst indictment of the evening is that LSU had Arkansas looking at a 4th and 10 in the second overtime and the Tigers couldn't prevent the Razorbacks from getting a fresh set of downs. Turns out it was the Arkansas defense that made the biggest play of the day, knocking the ball away in the back of the end zone of LSU's failed two-point conversion that would have tied the game in triple OT.

McFadden may very well have vaulted himself back into the Heisman dicussion after he finished the game with a scintillating 205 yards and three touchdowns - also threw for a score - doing a great job shredding LSU up the middle. He showed you how he's the most talented player in the country yet again. Not necessarily the best or most outstanding player or most valuable, but he's going to be a guaranteed Top 5 pick and probably get invited back to New York after Friday. And don't forget about Felix Jones who was equally impressive when he carried the ball.

The one thing that got to me was how amazing it was that Arkansas seemed to run the same handful of plays all game long and LSU couldn't do a thing about it. We either saw a run out of the Wildcat formation with McFadden taking the snap - he either kept it or gave it to Felix Jones. Then we saw whoever was quarterbacking - and Casey Dick was unsurprisingly absent from just about all the critical plays down the stretch - would throw the out and up to Peyton Hillis, who amazingly found himself open more times than not.

So the TIgers lose and lose their shot at the national title. Not surprising considering how they played, but Arkansas deserves a great deal of credit. Nutt was emotional after the game and rightfully so. This win may have saved his job.

So the big picture question is who benefits from the Tigers loss? The clear cut winner is of course West Virginia who has watched all these teams lose in front of them the past few weeks and done nothing but climb up the ranks of the BCS. Ohio State also remains in the mix for the title game. Remember, West Virginia has two games remaining and of course one of the two top three teams - Kansas and Missouri - is going to get knocked off along the way. So we have four teams vying for two spots right now in West Virginia, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio State with two Saturdays to go. Mountaineers and the Big 12 teams clearly control their own destiny.

But, from a purely selfish standpoint, I'm sad to see the Tigers fall. I was really rooting for a West Virginia-LSU title game matchup, especially after watching the Tigers struggle with the athletic running game of the Razorbacks. I really would have liked to have seen what Pat White and Steve Slaton could have done against LSU. But the Tigers couldn't take care of business and Miles potential - expected? - departure from Baton Rouge likely just got much easier.

Weekly Picks

Last Week: 2-3 | Season: 27-33

No. 4 West Virginia () over No. 20 UConn
West Virginia could be national championship game bound if they take care of UConn and Pittsburgh to close out the season. They take care of business Saturday at home. The UConn defense has carried the Huskies just about all season long, but they haven't faced a team with as much speed as the Mountaineers have. I think you'll see Pat White have a big day.

No. 7 Virginia Tech (-3) over No. 16 Virginia
The Hokies have more talent than the Cavs and a better defense. Granted, it's not the defense many of us expected, but it's still one of the better units in the ACC. It's a road game, but I don't care who is playing quarterback for Frank Beamer. He finds a way to get it done.

Kentucky (-3) over No. 19 Tennessee
Phil Fulmer can't get any respect. Whether its from former players, the media or Vegas, it seems like everyone is against the Vols coach. I'm against him in this one. I think the Wildcats spring the win over a Vols defense that can be had. Plus, I'd rather see Georgia in the SEC title game.

No. 6 Georgia (-3.5) over Georgia Tech
Bulldogs in a romp. Georgia is in a different class than the Yellow Jackets. Rivalry angle be damned in this one. I'm surprised this line isn't much bigger.

No. 2 Kansas (-2) over No. 3 Missouri
I could easily see Missouri putting up a lot of points against the Kansas defense and running away from this game. You don't think the Kansas administration wouldn't prefer to have this game back in Lawrence rather than Kansas City? But the reason I'm going with the Jayhawks is that it has to be somebody's year and having Kansas play for the BCS title game - however unappealing that is to me and I'm sure many other people around the country - seems only fitting considering how ridiculous this year has been.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 09:46 PM on November 23, 2007
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