Surely Les Miles isn’t scared of facing any team, right? Well, the 2008 BCS Championship-winning head coach known as “The Mad Hatter” has been doing some complaining about the SEC scheduling recently, arguing that LSU has to face an unfair path every season.
SEC scheduling is weird — CBSSports’ Tony Barnhart explains it well:
“Under the SEC’s current 6-1-1 scheduling format, teams play six opponents in their division, a permanent opponent in the other division, with one opponent rotating on an annual basis [...] Permanent crossover opponents have been in place since the SEC expanded to 12 teams and went to divisional play in 1992. It was done, more than anything else, to preserve two of the most storied rivalries in college football.”
The two rivalries being referred to are Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennesee. LSU’s permanent opponent is the Florida Gators, and Miles doesn’t think that that’s fair.
The logic is that he and LSU have to deal with an “extra” powerhouse each year, in a matchup with huge implications. This is unfair because some teams may have a much easier permanent rival.
He has a fair point — Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt all get to face each other in battles of traditional bottom-feeders — and with how much single losses matter in today’s college football, especially in the SEC (remember the Alabama-Florida controversy before the SEC Championship game last year?), you can’t fault Miles for wanting an easier path to the title, even if it is only one game we are talking about.
Nobody wants to lose traditional rivalries, and Miles’ suggestion of simply rotating two opponents (and scrapping the one permanent) to make things fair would have that as a consequence. However, it truly would make league scheduling more balanced and fair.
Ultimately, Les Miles does have a point here. Or maybe he just doesn’t have the chest to play Florida every year, who he is 4-4 against in his eight years at LSU.