Welcome to the most important weekend so far this college football season! Yes, I am welcoming you to the weekend on a Thursday morning!
It's an odd college football weekend in that the two most important games are actually going to be played tonight, with tenth-ranked Oklahoma traveling to Waco to play sixth-ranked Baylor and 2nd-ranked Oregon heading to Palo Alto to play fifth-ranked Stanford. It's like the two World heavyweight title matches leading off on the next WWE pay per view.
(Non-WWE fans are like, "Why would you have two heavyweight titles?" Um, trust me, actual WWE fans are asking the same thing.)
Even more amazing is that the marquee matchup from two seasons ago (twice) and one of the best games from last season, LSU taking on top-ranked Alabama, has been kind of pushed to the back burner. At least until Friday, I guess.
That said, ESPN knows that SEC football equals ratings, and more to the point, Les Miles equals gold stars, happy faces and pretty much every positive emoticon you can think of. Hence, we get another edition of All-Access on SportsCenter leading up to the big game this weekend!
All-Access is the video short, usually a few minutes long, where we get to see the coaches of a featured game existing in their natural habitat, which for Les Miles means we get to see him driving around in his SUV being a traffic light scofflaw!
It's always a fun feature, and especially eye-opening in episodes like last season's, when we saw Nick Saban acting like a sane human being (the All-Access equivalent of watching zoo apes play a game of Jenga).
For this episode, the players in this video are just two:
-- KAYLEE HARTUNG, ESPN, passenger: If you're unfamiliar with Kaylee Hartung's work, she is with the Longhorn Network, which means she is technically part of the ESPN family. Also, she is from Baton Rouge, so technically that means she likely has a working knowledge of the LSU Tigers football program. (Also, it's quite possible they wanted to give Les Miles a reporter who knew her way around town, just in case Les got lost driving into the office.)
Also, at one time, Hartung worked as an associate producer for Face the Nation, which means we could be looking at a record for IQ variance between interviewer and subject. (I'm not gonna lie, I was really hoping she'd ask Les about the government shutdown last month.)
-- LES MILES, LSU head football coach, driver: With opinions on everything from oil spills to Columbus Day, a passionate defender of his players who wants you to kiss them on the mouth ("IF you're a girl"), Coach Miles is the "pizza" of college football coaches -- like pizza, he always adds something to any situation he's brought into, and even "bad" Les Miles is still fantastic.
Here is their conversation:
Now, here is my Zapruder analysis of their conversation:
0:02 -- We are barely out of the starting gate and Kaylee nabs Les for a safety violation -- "You better buckle up! You don't have your seat belt on?" Perhaps Kaylee doesn't recall that Les's entire coaching career at LSU has been the coaching equivalent of "no seat belt, blindfolded, steering with knees." Les Miles runs reverses on 4th and inches, bitches! Seat belts?!? Are you for real?!?
0:18 -- We learn that Kaylee and Les are about to get on the freeway, which makes me think -- you know, it's 2013. How can we not get "box coverage" on the screen with a box for Les's speedometer (He either drives 40 mph or 140 mph on the freeway. No in-between.) and a box for what the first-person point of view looks like from inside the car (Les strikes me as a, um, swervy driver.)?
0:25 -- Time for some quality "breakfast in the Miles household" talk, and it's almost like Kaylee is asking these questions on my behalf because I'm frankly far more interested in what Les Miles eats for breakfast than I am in any of his football thoughts.
0:33 -- Les, who seems like the type of guy who forgets his ATM PIN number regularly, rattles off each of his kids' breakfast preferences:
Ben: "Ham, eggs, toast." Macy: "She tries anything." Manny: "Last one up, rolls through, toast..he's not a big eater." Les himself: "I'm a cereal and fresh fruit guy."
Type of cereal? "Raisin bran." (That sound you just heard was me crumpling up my "FRUITY PEBBLES -150" ticket.)
1:03 -- Jump cut to Les looking around outside the car like he has no earthly clue where he is. Kaylee, ever the optimist, says, "We're going the back way," which, if she's clued in, is code for "You have no fucking idea where we are, do you?" 1:08 -- WHOA! As it turns out, the head check Les was giving out the window was to see if there were any cops, because dude just ran a red light! This will not dispel any of the conjecture that college football head coaches run things like de facto mayors in these small SEC cities and towns. Kaylee reacts to Les's move with head-shaking laughter and disbelief that he would do such a thing, at which point it would have been hilarious if Les had pulled out his iPhone and showed her highlights of every fake punt he's ever called while at LSU. Unfortunately, they don't have three hours for her to watch all of them, and Les Miles probably has a flip phone or a Gordon Gekko-style brick phone, not an iPhone.
1:37 -- The two of them, Kaylee and Les, spend a very awkward 30 seconds or so discussing Les's innate ability to sense when a red light is going to change. I'm not gonna lie...this car ride starts to feel a little like an episode of Blind Date, where there's awkward banter and chuckling before a cartoon of two "thought bubbles" pop ups above their heads and then we get a Translation from SMUG GUY at the bottom of the screen.
1:55 -- We get around to football questions, and frankly here is where I start to lose interest. C'mon, Kaylee! Ask him about Rob Ford, about Star Wars, about twerking...anything but football!
2:10 -- Kaylee asks about LSU's embracing the underdog role, and sadly Les does NOT break into his rendition of the theme song from the cartoon Underdog. Incredibly disappointing.
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2:40 -- Les closes the video by talking about the opinion of those "on the perimeter of the game" and is making copious amounts of eye contact with Kaylee, which I understand. She's very attractive. I just wish Les would keep his eyes on the road. I don't want anything to happen to him! Or Kaylee Hartung, for that matter!
Of course, this video probably continued with Les running ten more red lights in dense traffic at 150 miles per hour before jumping his SUV, Dukes of Hazzard-style, into the Atchafalaya swamp, landing dead center on a sand bar, and in the process killing the largest alligator in the history of the state while unearthing five million dollars in buried treasure from the 1800s.
A day in the life of Lucky Les.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.