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LSU Tigers Football: Les Miles Is Reportedly Coaching For His Job

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The outcomes of the games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M may determine if he'll be back.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Rabalais of The Advocate is reporting that LSU head coach Les Miles might be "coaching for his job" down the stretch:

It’s early yet, relatively speaking, and as can be expected, no one is eager to go public regarding Miles’ future at this point. But 25 years of covering LSU, cultivating a variety of knowledgeable sources, have led this writer to believe that there is a serious threat to Miles’ tenure here. ...

[I]n the span of just two Saturdays, with two humbling losses to Alabama and Arkansas, the ice has thinned under Miles’ feet to the point where strong indications are that he will be coaching for his very job at Ole Miss on Saturday and the week after that against Texas A&M.

There are good folks and bad folks on the LSU beat, but Rabalais is one of the good ones. He doesn't throw things against the wall to see what sticks or stir the pot for a reaction. I recommend you read the entire report.

Rabalais calculates the buyouts needed for Miles and his staff to be $17 million—$15 million of which would go to Miles alone—and says it's steep but not unthinkable. To insert my own unsourced speculation here, we're in a short window where giant buyouts may be more tenable because the SEC Network money is larger than expected and schools may not have absorbed that money into their regular budgets. They may have some extra money to play with, and expensive buyouts would be one way to play with it.

The Football Scoop people, for whatever stock you want to put into them, say that their sources in Baton Rouge are saying that Miles and AD Joe Alleva don't have a great relationship right now. It stems from Alleva's unwillingness to spend enough to match Texas A&M and retain John Chavis. Rabalais's report also says that Miles hasn't done a good job of courting boosters lately and that right now they'd be more on board with buying him out than rushing to his defense.

Billy Gomila from And the Valley Shook pointed out after the loss to Arkansas—and before all of this "coaching for his job" stuff came out—that staff changes are probably coming anyway. Cam Cameron doesn't have a contract past this year, and the offensive problems of the past two years may lead Miles to not retain him. Maybe getting a new offensive coordinator would be enough to keep Miles around. Maybe not. We'll see.

When writing about how Mark Richt was on the hot seat earlier this month, I drew a parallel between him and Miles as coaches who get flak for winning consistently but not enjoying the peaks that Nick Saban and Urban Meyer have seen. And Miles's record is even more impressive than Richt's is since he's won a higher percentage of games while playing in the tougher division.

I don't have any insight into the LSU program, but I can understand the frustrations more at Georgia than LSU. UGA's last SEC title was a decade ago; LSU's was just four years ago. That said, the trajectory of the Tigers has been downward since that SEC title, and a 7-4 (4-4) finish wouldn't be improvement over last year's 8-4 (4-4) finish.

It's easier to say that LSU would choke down a $15 million buyout now than when Alleva's hand would be holding a pen over the metaphorical checkbook. But if Alleva and Miles don't get a long anymore, and Miles ends the season with an 0-4 November, and enough deep pocketed boosters are pushing for change, well, stranger things could happen.