This has been a great week to be an LSU fan. In a way, this isn't just one win, this has been a validation of the last five years. That probably is a gross overstatement, had LSU lost, the last five years would still be the same. Les Miles still would have a national title, and SEC title, three 10-win seasons, and have the best record in LSU coaching history. This one game doesn't actually change anything. LSU is the same team, the same program, as it was on Friday.
However, there should be some serious re-evaluation going on. Les Miles is the most maligned winning coach of all-time. We've been over the numbers before (like, in the paragraph above), but Les Miles stands as the ultimate counterpoint to the cliché that "winning cures everything." Because if it did, Miles would never have been anywhere near the hot seat.
Heck, even after the win, the "Les the Lucky" meme reared its ugly head in the aftermath. I guess it's easier to swallow losing by just believing the other guy is luck, and not actually, you know, better. That would explain rival fans trotting out the Les the Lucky line, but not from the mainstream media. I don't know where that comes from. Someone else converts a fourth and one, it's a great play call, when LSU does it, its luck.
Les Miles' greatest attribute is his belief in his players. He puts his players in a position to succeed, and then he trusts them to make the plays. While most coaches are afraid to go for it on fourth down, for fear of the criticism if they will receive if they fail. Coaches are a conservative lot, and they often coach not to win, but to avoid criticism. Miles, bless his grass-eating heart, doesn't care about criticism. He lets his players play and if they win, they get the credit. If the play doesn't work, it is Miles who bears the brunt of the criticism. Hell, he sometimes gets the criticism when his players make the play. Hence, the need to boil it all down to luck.
What is odd about the Les the Lucky meme is that the media has the counterpoint at their disposal. It's almost de rigeur to mention the Ole Miss fiasco whenever mentioning Miles. It's pretty simple people, the risk taking doesn't always pay off. And when it doesn't, people will bring it up ad nauseum for the rest of your career, it seems.
Look, Miles messed up the end of the Ole Miss game. We all know it. But there has to be some sort of statute of limitations on bringing it up. It was one year ago, and really, it wasn't that meaningful of a game. Had LSU won that game, had Les Miles actually remembered to call timeout without letting 15 seconds run off the clock, LSU still would have finished in 3rd in the SEC and still goes to the Capital One Bowl. Absolutely nothing would have changed had LSU won except disgruntled Humanoids would be saying "9-7" instead of "8-8". For the love of all things holy, let it go.
Les in not lucky. OK, maybe he's not a genius like Chavis claims, but after five years, it stops being luck. Les Miles is a very good coach and his team keeps winning. It's time to start giving him credit for his success. It's long past time to stop blaming him for his successes as well.
The Les the Lucky line is just a way to rob Miles of credit and diminish his accomplishments. Miles' accomplishments are fully legitimate. We're never going to see opposing fanbases give LSU and Miles credit because, well, they are opposing fanbases. They are supposed to give us crap. That's what they do. That's the whole "rival" relationship.
However, LSU fans need to stop feeding the beast. We need to stop with the Les the Lucky talk within ourselves. Maybe we don't need to start the Chavis-endorsed Les the Genius campaign, but can we at least start with Les the Very Good?
Because the man deserves some credit. It's past time we started giving it to him.