Les Miles got paid... again... y'all! Commence celebrations, pop the bottles, boil up a fresh batch of grass gumbo. Good news abounds in Tiger land as the Tigers have locked up their elite head coach for seven more seasons.
Except, wait, wut? People are upset about this? Miles isn't deserving? Wait, these people are serious?
This isn't fresh or original content. These aren't fresh or original complaints. No, in fact, we hear this same old line over and over throughout the season. Aw hell, I wrote about this 22 days ago! Hell, nothing much changed since then. We won all the rest of our games. Wait, so we didn't win pretty enough? But we won, right? Today, somewhere else, I saw the following argument, paraphrased:
"Okay, throw out all the wins and losses, what is Les Miles really good at?"
This is the argument now. Okay, let's forget about what actually happens and talk about past potential outcomes. Hey remember what actually happened? None of that matters. Let's talk about what could have happened. Deal?
Oh, and when those arguments fail, don't worry, just make up new ones! You know what target is impossible to hit? The one that is always moving.
And let it be known, that I "get it." Nick Saban said it, so it's gospel. Process, process, process, that's all that matters. Look, I totally understand that good processes yield good results and by perfecting the minutiae, the bigger puzzle becomes perfected as well. I get that LSU's offense is less than satisfactory and that the wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas were actually moral losses. I get that we can't beat Nick Saban, that we're falling out of the elite (as we have been everyday since Miles got the job). I get it all. You aren't happy, you see the cracks and in time they are going to tear this program down, Larry Coker style. Yeah, we've heard it... ad nauseum... since 2005.
All the ATVS contributors had a little offline pow-wow today, and there's really a few types of LSU fans:
1) The "Never Got over Nick" Contingent
For these guys, Les would never match up to Nick. Whether it's his more fun-loving, whimsical,wild approach to coaching or the fact that he dare smile or give a hug rather than scowl and curse, in their minds Les Miles would never be a real football coach.
2) The "Oh, Look at Me I'm 20 and Unemployed" Contingent
Rest assured, you have never done anything for anyone... ever. Seriously, y'all are the worst people in the world. And I'm not some bitter old man bitching about your worthlessness. I'm 27! 27! I didn't even really get to live through the dark days of LSU football and I STILL can't identify with this new wave cynicism.
3) The Rest of Us
So then crowd 1 and 2, who couldn't possibly like each other in any other situation, are now joined together and they both pile their equally stupid arguments together into this big bonfire of nonsense where they roast their LSU memorabilia together and mourn the days of LSU greatness. They've convinced themselves that the reason they are just so damn miserable is because they just love LSU so much. They know, in their heart of hearts, that LSU could absolutely do better than Les Miles. There's no reason to present objective arguments, just shout loudest and most and you win.
And you dare counter their argument? There's always that one fall back word. It's their favorite word. It's the one they will use, unfailingly, to convince you that you are just too simple to really see what's happening. Complacency. Yes, complacency. That's where LSU is now... complacent.
At some points, complacent became 10 wins. At some point, complacent became two conferences titles and two trips to the National Championship in 8 years. At some point complacent became multiples top recruiting classes and multiple high NFL draft picks. At some point complacent became good. No, complacent became great. Winning this much, this often, is not enough. DO IT MORE. DO IT PRETTIER. DO IT AGAINST NICK SABAN WHEN HE'S REALLY TRYING.
That argument extends into the contract negotiation/extension and pay raise. After all, why should we pay a coach who is so mediocre? Why give a raise to a guy who hasn't accomplished anything since his last one? Why give a raise to the bumbling, "There is no such thing as a flop that takes the field for our football team!", high-hat wearing, grass-eating buffoon that can't beat Nick C'est Bon? Did I mention he can't beat Nick Saban?
So I wanted to see. I wanted to see exactly how Miles stood up amongst his other highly paid peers. The following table is a summary of every coach making over 3 million dollars a year, currently. I may have missed one or two (sometimes its hard to dig up the actual salary figures), but this should give us a big enough swath to make some assessments.
*Salaries cobbled together from Wikipedia and news articles.
Take a gander at the numbers. We can all agree, there is a sizable gap in Saban to the field, namely because of the three titles. Yet, his winning percentage, conference titles and bowl record aren't any more shiny than the rest. I'd say the biggest takeaway from Saban's track record is that when he has a great team, he capitalizes (or is given a second chance to capitalize... one that he also believes isn't fair).
Of the group, we can also throw out Ferentz, who not only doesn't have a National Championship, but barely sports a winning percentage over 50% You want to talk complacency? THAT is complacency... with a 3.6 million dollar price tag.
So then there's the rest of the field. Spurrier is the old dog, still trying to get South Carolina to the next level (and failing) while living off his tremendous exploits at Florida. Spurrier is a Hall of Fame coach with a ton of conference titles (6 SEC, 1 ACC), but as many National Titles as Miles, a slightly inferior winning% and a far worse Bowl Record (though more wins and more opportunities).
Meyer is the young pup, who cashed in two titles during the Tebow era, built up multiple programs, only to leave them behind after a year or three and now helms Ohio State, everyone's favorite non-contending national title contender. Meyer himself says this Ohio State team isn't National Title worthy, but that's just the bullshit coaches say to make themselves endearing when they are ineligible. We know from experience he'd be championing their cause (as he should) if they were really stacked up against Alabama or Georgia or whomever. Considering the gnarly state of the Big 10, Meyer stands a chance to pick through the conference pretty well until he leaves for the NFL or another family time or healthy emergency or whatever the hell else he wants to lie about.
So if we're going strictly objectively here, who really stands out above Miles? Saban, yes. Meyer, probably. The rest... eh. Miles took down Stoops twice in four seasons. Mike Gundy, the guy who has "taken Oklahoma State to the next level" has still only done it once. Even still Stoops is a fine coach, worthy of being amongst the highest paid in the country.
What about Mack Brown? Do people really believe he's superior to Miles? Mack Brown is basically Gene Chizik with Texas talent. Seriously, what's he ever done that's actually impressive. Every season he shows up at one major recruiting day, locks up 75% of his signing class and then goes about his gameplanning or whatever it is Mack Brown does. If there is no Vince Young (note, Mack recruited and coached Vince, so he does get credit for that), there is no National Title at Texas. Miles is the superior coach and if the Cotton Bowl would get wise to us playing there, we could prove it pretty easily.
Some may ask, why look at the contracts here and not the winning percentages? Well, my rationale is that Les Miles is worth what the market dictates. Frankly the market for a coach with a 74% winning percentage, a couple of conference titles, a National Title, and a winning bowl record is... well, exactly what Les Miles got today.
So pull down the shades and deal with it. Our coach is paid handsomely, because he succeeds handsomely.