I have no idea why this is (but someday would love to research it), but college football, of all the major sports out there, is easily the one that arouses the most sports-hate in its fan bases. Whether it's caused by blind loyalty to an alma mater, casual gambling or good ol' alcohol, a college football Saturday invokes the widest ranges of emotion, with vitriol filling about two thirds of the emotional pie chart.
Still, even though I have an alma mater that is a prominent (and this season, crappy) college football institution, and even though my school played against LSU a few times during the Les Miles Era, I could never find myself angry with Miles. Even when he had me and my cohost Rich Lord literally stop a recorded interview mid-conversation to berate us for a question Rich asked, I still loved Les!
His decade at LSU was a true gift from the football gods and to those who needed content — he ate grass, he managed games like he was drunk AND stoned, and his press conferences ... my god, his press conferences!
Well, on Sunday, the LSU brass decided, after a loss to unranked Auburn, that enough was enough, and they fired Les Miles, bringing to an end a regime they reportedly wanted to end last season, but Miles, as always, found a horseshoe up his rear end and managed to remain employed.
Well, the magic of that horseshoe is gone, and Miles is now a former head coach. But I thought we could relive some of the magic that was Miles in front of the media. Come along for this brief, but spectacular YouTube journey...
Day of the SEC Title Game, 2007
Believe it or not, there was a time when Miles was one of the hottest properties in collegiate coaching, and every time his alma mater's head coaching job came open (Miles played at Michigan under Bo Schembechler), Miles' name would surface. In 2007, the day of the SEC Title Game, it more than surfaced... ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit reported Miles-to-Michigan as a done deal. Les didn't really like that much, and he called this impromptu, no-questions-asked presser. End of subject.
Gunner Kiel snub, National Signing Day 2012
This wasn't as much a press conference as it was a presentation to LSU fans on National Signing Day. This video leaked onto the internet, and the quarterback "without the chest" in question is current Cincinnati backup, Gunner Kiel, a former five-star recruit who snubbed LSU on signing day to go to Notre Dame (where he would eventually transfer from to go to Cincinnati). The irony is Les had originally stolen Kiel from a verbal commitment to Indiana to begin with. (Also, Gunner Kiel has a really hard time making up his mind.)
Following win over Ole Miss, November 2012
An all-time Les rant, which includes the rare on-air curse (two slightly muffled f-bombs) from Les, and a hilarious plea to the media only kiss his players on the mouth if "you're a girl." (Four years later, with political correctness where it is right now, that quote would probably launch sporadic LGBT protests on LSU's campus.)
Columbus Day 2013
He was right... it most definitely was NOT St. Patty's Day. (Also, i wish Les had kicked off every presser like this, announcing what special day it was on the calendar ... "Today is National Cheeseburger Day ... for those of you that love a good slab of meat on two buns, a little bit of FROMAGE, as our French friends say... maybe some lettuce and pickle.... special sauce... this is your day... it's not St. Patty's Day.")
The "hammer and nail" rant, 2013 #10 LSU win over #17 Florida
I got to admit, even for someone like me that speaks fluent "Les-ese," this one was a bit of a head scratcher.
On eating grass, 2014 SEC Media Days
Finally, after all these years, we got an explanation on why Les likes to eat grass so much — basically, he sucked at Little League and got bored as a kid, which was not my guess, I'll be honest with you.
BONUS LES DIATRIBE...
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010
This one was so random, and painted Les in such a dopey light, that somehow LSU (or perhaps Miles' agent) managed to have it scrubbed from the Internet. You can't find this one anywhere (if any of you have it, please send it to me!), but here is the transcript of Miles answering what the Deepwater Horizon oil spill had meant to southern Louisiana back in 2010:
“Well, it uh, the impact is more of a ... you know ... anything, anything along the ... the uh ... the ... shore and those issues are very serious issues and there ... the impact is on the ... the uh [long pause] you know, what is, the natural resource of our country, uh, but ah ... I don’t know that it’s, I don’t know exactly, uh, to what extent it’s being handled well and managed or mismanaged I have no idea ... The only thing I know is it’s very sincere and it’s, it’s uh, it affects more than Louisiana and it affects [muffled pause] ... the ocean.”
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If you want more Les (and who doesn't?), here is a compilation video that is pretty sporty....
Laissez les bon temps roulez, Les! You will be missed...
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.