Category Archives: Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

Les Miles and the HUNH – you knew it was going to be different.

There is everybody else’s argument against the player safety defense of the 10-second substitution rule, and then there’s Les Miles’.

“There’s little or no evidence that would say that injury is likely,” Miles said. “Having said that, the incidence of injury in football is 100 percent. That being said, ‘He hurt his hand. Why? Because he was playing football. He hurt his elbow. Why? Because he was playing football.’”

In other words, since sooner or later they’re all gonna get hurt anyway, why worry about the HUNH?

I’d love to hear Bert’s reaction to that.

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Knowledge is good.

I’m a little jaded after the academic shenanigans that came to light at North Carolina, so what Sports Illustrated turned up at Oklahoma State seems tame by comparison, but I did get a chuckle out of this:

Shortly after Les Miles took over as Oklahoma State’s football coach in December 2000, he introduced an exhortation that he would use often at the end of team meetings during his four years in Stillwater. “Academics first,” Miles would say. “Football second.”

Miles’s words encapsulated one of the central pillars in the mythos of major-college football: that nothing, not even wins and losses, takes precedence over educating young athletes. The reality is that when jobs and money are at stake, priorities quickly skew.

As Miles said, “Academics first,” he would hold up two fingers. And as he said, “Football second,” he would hold up one.

“You heard his words but you saw what he was doing,” says Doug Bond, a Cowboys offensive lineman from 2002 to ’04. “So the thought process was that you’re going to school just so you can play football.”

It was supposed to be funny.

Miles, the coach at LSU since 2005, denies that he deemphasized academics while at Oklahoma State: “I always said, and I always meant, that academics was the most important thing.” Of the one-finger, two-finger gesture, Miles says it happened just once in “a moment of humor.”

Although, considering the source, there’s another possible explanation.

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“That doesn’t teach life lessons.”

How can you not love TCU’s Gary Patterson?  The man says what everybody else is thinking:

“I’m sure if it was some opponent they’d beat by 100 points, [the players] wouldn’t have a vote,” Patterson said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Les Miles, particle physicist

Lester took his scheduling road show to Tim Brando the other day.  We are fortunate enough to be rewarded with this exchange:

Brando: If I would’ve told you in the last 13 years, you would’ve played non-divisional opponents Florida and Georgia, you’ve played them 17 times. And Alabama has played them eight times. What would you say to that?
Miles: I’d have to say we have a scheduling quark there…
I just wish Brando had followed up by asking if LSU was going to build a linear accelerator in order not to fall behind any further in the quark race.  Because you know Saban’s already got one of those suckers…

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“Les is looking out for himself, simple as that.”

If I can return to the scene of Les Miles’ cri de coeur for a minute… it seems that Matt Hayes has Lester’s back.  Here’s his case:

“All I want,” says Miles, “is a fair and equitable deal for all involved.”

Right now, it’s anything but. No matter how you look at it, Auburn, LSU and Florida are impacted most by the SEC’s standing scheduling rule of one permanent opponent from the opposite division.

LSU and Florida play each other; Auburn plays Georgia. Meanwhile, SEC kingpin Alabama plays Tennessee.

Why, you ask? Tradition, Mike Slive says.

Considering how far the SEC has come under Slive’s watch, and how he has set up the conference for the future, it’s hard to argue with that decision. That is, until you look at the numbers.

In the last 10 years, LSU and Florida have both been ranked in their game nine times. In the last 10 years, Alabama and Tennessee have both been ranked in their game once.

Wait, it gets much more compelling.

Since 2000, Auburn has played Florida and Georgia—clearly the East Division’s heavyweight programs—a total of 19 times. LSU has played Florida and Georgia 17 times, and Florida has played LSU and Alabama 17 times.

Meanwhile, Alabama has played Florida and Georgia eight times—the lowest total of any West Division team. Alabama’s argument is it plays Tennessee, which started the BCS era with a national title but has recently fallen on hard times.  [Emphasis added.]

Now Hayes is being a wee bit disingenuous here – at the start of the cycle he cites, Georgia was not one of the East’s heavyweights – but he gets at what’s really eating up Les twice in that passage.  Quite simply, every year Alabama plays Tennessee and LSU plays Florida.  Right now, that’s a lousy tradeoff for the Tigers.  And in the here and now, nobody should have the time for trivialities like tradition.

That’s assuming that this is even about tradition.  Hayes isn’t even willing to credit that as a motive.

At the mercy of Slive, who said earlier this month that he’s “willing to look at all scheduling models” at the SEC’s annual spring meetings next week in Destin, Fla. The hurdle for LSU, Florida and Auburn: the remaining 11 teams are happy with their permanent partners because the series (from each point of view) is winnable.

I feel kinda dirty now for wanting to preserve a series that’s more than a century old.  And eleven SEC teams all think their permanent rivalry games are winnable?  Hmm… maybe Big Game Bob is right about the conference.

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Rivalries are in the eye of the beholder.

Lester’s still got a bee in his bonnet about those cross-division rivalries.  But now he wants to make you feel guilty about it if you disagree with him.

“I trust they will recognize with the upcoming playoff, and with the BCS bowls being so important, everyone should shoulder the burden of playing the better teams,” Miles said. “Everybody.”

I’m supposed to give up support of the oldest rivalry in the South because Miles’ fair play fee-fees are hurt?  Screw you, Les.

But I do have a suggestion to calm the man’s troubled soul.  I’ve said most of it before – move the two Alabama schools to the East and switch Missouri to the West.  That solves the bulk of the cross-division problems.  My new candidate for the last transfer is South Carolina, since the ‘Cocks are backing LSU’s play.  If longstanding rivalries don’t matter to the folks in Columbia, then not having Georgia and Florida on the schedule every year shouldn’t bother them in the least.

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Wait, what?

Of all the WTF things that have gone on in the world of college football in the last few months, this has to be the WTFiest.

If there is anything to that story beyond Miles’ agent trying to scam a few more bucks out of LSU, were I Joe Alleva, I’d sure be tempted to call Les’ bluff.

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“Just so you know…”

We’ll always have the Hat.  He’s the anti-Saban.

Oh, and kiss ‘em while you got ‘em, ladies.

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Friday morning buffet

Nom nom nom…

  • Aaron Murray has a legitimate shot at setting the Georgia career touchdown passing record tomorrow.  (He’d trade that for a win, though.  Duh.)
  • Les Miles, on his big-ass fullback J. C. Copeland“He is a large man. He will continue to be that.”
  • Charlie Weis knows what separates the great coaches from the rest – attention to detail.
  • John Pennington reports that the nine-game conference schedule is back on the table for the SEC, because of the need for product for the SEC Network.  Fine by me.
  • Pat Dye isn’t man enough to pick a winner in the Georgia-South Carolina game.
  • Geno Smith’s numbers are insane.
  • Georgia racks up 544 yards of offense tomorrow… and loses?  I can see that happening, with a few untimely turnovers and whatnot.
  • Despite having more scholarship players on its roster, South Carolina has played the same number of kids on scholarship this season as Georgia has.

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Interesting choice of words there, Coach.

Here’s something else the Hat laid on the assembled multitude in Hoover yesterday.

“They’ll really add to our conference,” Miles said. “The Aggies bring a very, very capable team, and (Texas) is a very lucrative recruiting area…”

“Lucrative recruiting area”? Oh hells, yeah.  Just ask Willie Lyles.

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