Les Miles Rumors: Would LSU Coach Make Sense For USC?


Is Les Miles out at LSU? How could that development affect USC’s own coaching search? The coaching carousel is picking up speed.

Though nothing has been made official and the usual denials are being voiced, new reports Monday suggest that Les Miles time with the LSU Tigers is nearing an end.

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“There is ‘a very good possibility’ that LSU will buy out Les Miles’ contract, a high-ranking source involved in the decision regarding the coach’s future told ESPN,” Joe Schad reported on Monday.

Naturally, Miles denied his dismissal during a press conference but the ongoing rumors have sparked a rash of debate and speculation about where the 62-year-old could be this time next year.

Miles’ buy out would be in the area of $15 million, according to Schad’s report, so LSU boosters are not messing around if they truly intend to pick up that tab as they push him out the door.

If, as the signs point, Miles will soon be out of a job, the coaching carousel’s most eligible bachelor would have to be considered for the nation’s most desirable destination.

USC’s coaching search has been quiet but for the debate surrounding interim head coach Clay Helton’s eligibility for the position. Helton’s loss to Oregon this past weekend has dampened much of the momentum behind that possibility however.

So will Miles be a candidate for the Trojans? More importantly, should he be?

The simple answer is yes, because no other legitimate option on the market checks quite as many boxes as the hat-wearing, grass-chewing Michigan Man.

National title winner? Check

Miles won the 2007 national championship by handling Ohio State in the BCS title game in his third season as head coach at LSU.

Oct 17, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles against the Florida Gators during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Florida 35-28.Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers took a 24-10 lead into half time after a 21-point scoring flurry in the second quarter.

Miles’ LSU returned to the BCS title game with an undefeated record in the 2011 season. However, Nick Saban’s Alabama shut out the Tigers and en route to a 21-0 victory which featured five Crimson Tide field goals and a late touchdown.

Consistent success? Check

Seven ten-win seasons in 11 years as the LSU head coach would suggest consistent success is something that Les Miles has made a habit.

Since he took the job in 2005, his two conference titles are matched only by Urban Meyer and exceeded only by Nick Saban.

His overall record is an impressive 110-32.

Not only has Miles maintained a successful program in the total win department, he’s done so with an out-of-conference record that is unrivaled in the SEC.

Sure, the Tigers were due to play McNeese State to open the season this year, a game which was cancelled and represents the annual FCS slaughter traditional to the SEC, but they also traveled to play Syracuse.

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In 2014 they played No. 14 Wisconsin on a neutral field. In 2013, it was No. 20 TCU. In 2012 they hosted Washington. No. 3 Oregon met them in Dallas in 2011. Before that it was a neutral field meeting with No. 18 North Carolina and a battle with No. 22 West Virginia in 2010. They trekked to Washington in 2009, beat No. 9 Virginia Tech in 2007, dispatched Arizona in 2006 and went on the road to face No. 15 Arizona State in 2005.

That represents the entirety of Miles non-conference match ups of note. He won each and every one, without following the stereotypical SEC scheduling habits.

Strong recruiting? Check

Miles and his staff currently hold Rivals’ top-ranked recruiting class and have demonstrated excellence in recruiting since his arrival in 2005.

LSU has failed to crack the Rivals’ top ten just twice in Miles’ tenure. Since it is often said that USC recruits itself, Miles would have no difficulty drawing players in Los Angeles.

PODCAST: Is Les Miles a fit at USC?

There’s also the added potential that could have more than a few Trojan fans lean forward in their seats.

Recruiter extraordinaire Ed Orgeron is currently on staff at LSU with Miles. A return to Troy might still be unlikely if bad blood remains between Pat Haden and Orgeron, but it would not be outside of the realm of possibility.

Available? Interested?….

The two most important aspects of USC’s coaching search comes back to whether or not a particular target is available and interested.

Any number of names could still be thrown out as potential candidates for the job, but without those two boxes checked, those names are useless.

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So now the waiting game begins as it seems a forgone conclusion that Miles will eventually be available. LSU’s national title hopes were crushed by three consecutive losses to Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss and the powers-that-be are reportedly ready for a change. Until the hammer falls, however, speculation is just that.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle towards putting Miles on the Trojan sideline when USC faces Saban and Alabama to start the 2016 season is interest.

Haden and USC have every reason to be interested in Miles, unless they’ve got a bigger fish in mind. Would Miles be interested in becoming a Trojan? Or could the lure of a cushy seat in a broadcasting booth be a stronger call for the 62-year-old?

Hang on tight because the coaching carousel is about to get very interesting.

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