If Les Miles loses his job and Mark Richt doesn't, what does that tell us?
One coach has a national title to his name and has been to two national title games. The other hasn’t even gone.
One coach has won two SEC titles over the last 10 years (2006-15) in the toughest division in college football that includes one of the best coaches of all-time. The other hasn’t.
One coach has gone 42-23 vs. AP Top 25 opponents. The other has gone 38-35, including 12-21 over the last 33 games vs. ranked teams.
Well, the former in each of those aforementioned facts — Les Miles — may be the one let go by his school, while the other — Mark Richt — isn’t.
First of all, there may be another reason Miles’ job is seemingly in jeopardy. Maybe it’s for health reasons or another reason that no one is aware of.
Maybe it’s because of his awkwardness at booster functions. Who could ever forget his quote at a weekly press luncheon address: “When I wake up in the morning and I turn that film on, it’s like reading a book and it’s exciting. I don’t read books, but if I read books it would be like reading a book.”
If it is because of poor performance, I don’t think it takes reading a book to realize LSU has been lucky to have Miles as its coach.
While it’s true that LSU is on a three-game losing streak, that’s the longest skid in the Miles era. In fact, it’s only the third time that the Tigers had even lost back-to-back games at all under their coach. Richt? He’s lost back-to-back games 10 separate times, including five times in the last seven seasons.
Let’s state the obvious for a second. Nick Saban hasn’t helped a lot of coaches keep their jobs in the SEC. He’s served as a roadblock to many long-lost headsets in the conference. Whether he caused all of these departures or not, there have been 19 head coaching changes (not including interim stints) in the SEC during the time Saban has been in Tuscaloosa since 2007.
Not including Gary Pinkel and Kevin Sumlin — who joined the conference in 2012 — Miles, Richt and Saban are the only ones to hold their jobs through that entire duration now that Steve Spurrier resigned this season.
Now Miles may be scratched off that short list, too.
Yet, when comparing Miles and Richt, who’s put more players in the pros? Miles has produced 64 draft picks since the 2006 NFL Draft, which leads the SEC.
Who’s underachieved less often? Who’s fared better against top competition? Who’s won on the biggest stage?
It’s also worth noting that Miles’ Tigers beat Richt’s Bulldogs 42-10 in the 2011 SEC title game.
Miles has done all of this while playing in a West Division that’s grown vastly superior than the one Richt has competed in, the one people routinely poke fun at now with images that symbolize it with dumpsters and porta potties ablaze.
And he’s continued to recruit well. In fact, LSU’s recruiting haul for 2016 is currently the top-ranked class in the country, according to ESPN’s rankings. As of right now, 16 of the school’s 19 commits are four-star prospects, the best in the nation, with 14 of those players ranked among the ESPN 300.
Maybe LSU simply wants to go in a different direction, but indications seem to point that this is due to expectations not being met.
Are the expectations in Baton Rouge that much greater than the ones at Athens? Maybe we’ll be getting our answer real soon.