Les Miles has survived a series of crises during his decade at LSU, each calling into question his worth in the opinions of its ambitious purple and gold masses as to whether he was truly the right man for the job.
There was the season of the Pick Six in 2008, the botched clock Ole Miss game of 2009 and the Tennessee game in 2010 that would have been botched were it not for the Volunteers making an even bigger mess of it. The capper was of course the 21-0 loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.
All the successes — the 2007 national championship, the two Southeastern Conference titles, the bowl trips each and every season — seem to have been counterbalanced by the negatives.
The raw arithmetic doesn’t truly match up — Miles has won 78 percent of his games — but nonetheless a growing, gnawing disquiet has brought the man they call The Mad Hatter to yet another precipice.
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It’s early yet, relatively speaking, and as can be expected, no one is eager to go public regarding Miles’ future at this point. But 25 years of covering LSU, cultivating a variety of knowledgeable sources, have led this writer to believe that there is a serious threat to Miles’ tenure here.
The margin between winning and losing is indeed a thin one, often a matter of inches, a knife’s edge. Just two weeks ago, LSU was 7-0 and No. 2 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, led by the player everyone was calling the best in America, tailback Leonard Fournette.
But in the span of just two Saturdays, with two humbling losses to Alabama and Arkansas, the ice has thinned under Miles’ feet to the point where strong indications are that he will be coaching for his very job at Ole Miss on Saturday and the week after that against Texas A&M.
How did things come to this point? Certainly it wasn’t merely written in the scores Alabama 30, LSU 16; and Arkansas 31, LSU 14.