Miles To Go Before He Sleeps

Preparing for a conference championship game against the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday afternoon, LSU head coach Les Miles would love if someone would ask him a question about the SEC title game this week. Instead, as the number 5 Tigers travel to the Georgia Dome for the biggest game of the season, all the pre-game talk circles around Miles and his meeting with Michigan that’s likely to come during the holidays.

Ever since Lloyd Carr stepped down after the Ohio State loss, the conventional wisdom swirled that Miles would end up in Ann Arbor before the start of spring practice. A Michigan man in the truest sense of the phrase, Miles played for the Wolverines and coached under legend Bo Schembechler.

Here’s where this gets fun. Since everyone knew that Carr would be out of a job in the near future, the folks at LSU put an interesting stipulation in Miles’ contract. If the head coach of the Tigers decided to leave to coach Michigan, he must pay LSU $1.25 million. If Miles left the school to coach any other team, he owes LSU nothing. You can almost see the news conference happening in early January at Michigan Stadium, can’t you?

On Wednesday evening, Michigan officials received permission from LSU to speak with Miles about the vacant head coaching position — but he has to wait until roughly 8:00 on Saturday night to open talks with his friends from the Big Ten. The only public comments Miles made on the Michigan search to date involved an emotional statement in which the head coach nearly broke down as he spoke about his ballclub.

Most coaches who switch addresses do this. Urban Meyer, before he led Florida to a national title , coached Utah to a memorable season a few years back that ended with a Fiesta Bowl appearance. In front of his Utah fans on ESPN’s “College Gameday,” Meyer claimed he would be back as the Utes head coach next season. Then the Gators called and Meyer took the bait.

This is coaching on any level of big time football. Coaches wear many different hats in their careers. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s observation about how we don’t root for teams but root for jerseys makes perfect sense.

After all, who wouldn’t want to see LSU and Michigan in the Rose Bowl as we kick off 2009? Isn’t that why we watch the game?
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In the movie “Major League 2,” former ballplayer Roger Dorn comes up with a brilliant idea to save his Cleveland Indians from a massive losing streak – he puts himself on the active roster. Well, life truly imitated art in Lincoln, Nebraska on Thursday morning as former head coach and current AD Tom Osburne put himself in the temporary head coach position with the Cornhuskers. While it’s unlikely that Osburne will coach in a game next season, the prospect of the best coach in the history of that program gives Husker nation a chance to dream that their savior could coach up a team in desperate need of a rebuilding season.
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It’s never happened in an NCAA Basketball Tournament, but an interesting occurrence took place on Wednesday night that not many people got a chance to witness. The 16 seed in the Baltimore Sports & Social Club’s “X-Social” division knocked off the 1 seed in an epic game of dodgeball that needed sudden death overtime. Here’s the ultimate kicker – the team known as the 16 seed becomes a 1 seed in Thursday’s lightning round of playoffs that will crown a champion. Best of luck to Splittish Crinkles in their quest of a dodgeball title. Remember : if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

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