How Many Miles To Ann Arbor?

Rumors continue to swirl about LSU's Miles bolting to Michigan

College Football Preview: Week 13

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Love and Hate  |  Amsinger: Weekly Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Qs  |   Braff: Backups Crash and Burn
> Trev: Love Woodson's' Poise  |  Michigan's Next Move   |  Hart: Giving Thanks At The Border
> Blackburn: Miles To Ann Arbor?  |  Palm: Impact Games Galore  |  Roland: Mizzou To End Kansas' Dream
> Caparell: Long Time Coming For Mississippi State  |  Crystal Ball: Weekend Predictions

Nov. 21, 2007

By Carter Blackburn

Special to



Carter Blackburn covers various sports for CSTV and writes frequently for
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Last week, I had so much fun calling places in Kansas to talk about Jayhawk football, I decided to spend part of my Thanksgiving week dialing up sports fans to discuss another hot topic in college football: what would you think if Les Miles left LSU to coach at Michigan?


A random sampling of two cities, namely Ann Arbor, Mich. and Baton Rouge, La. resulted in some decidedly different perspectives.


"First off, I'd say to hell with him and he's fair-weather," responded William Meznarich.  Guess which team he pulls for?  "We're used to it by now; winning championships and losing our coach," said the lifelong LSU fan.




A patron at Arbor Brewing responded to the question with, "All I know is, we need a woman coach."  This was at Ann Arbor's home of Brasserie Blonde Ale, mind you.  I did not hear a second.


Should Miles leave Tiger Town for the Maize and Blue, he would be the second coach to bolt in three years, following the trend of another head coach.  What is his name? 


"He'd be a traitor like Saban is," said Jennifer Reed at Baton Rouge's Fleur-de-lis Cocktail Lounge. 


Oh yes, Nick Saban.  A championship at LSU in 2003, and now two jobs later he's an LSU rival, making $32 million at Alabama. 


"I think we think we think (Miles) is a nicer person that Saban," said Jimmy Ward at Ivar's Sports Bar & Grill in Baton Rouge.  "If he would leave to go to Michigan, we assume Les Miles would do it in a classier fashion than Saban. That's where (Miles) played, that's where he started coaching, that's where his dream job is."


There's no commandment prohibiting one college football fan from coveting another's coach.  But what about Michigan's guilt for eyeing the coach of those recently jilted Bengal Tigers?


"They're going to be devastated, poor guys," empathized Tim Reid, while at Red Hawk Bar & Grill in Ann Arbor.  "But Saban left for money.  Les would be leaving to return to Michigan.  He's a quote, unquote `Michigan man', he's coaching the No. 1 team in the nation who I believe will win the championship, and I would personally like to see Bo (Schembechler)'s legacy carry on". 


If the Tigers do geaux on and win the title and Miles then leaves for Michigan, it could be a fair compromise for two of college football's most passionate fan bases.  Unlike the precedent of Bear Bryant at Alabama, Joe Paterno at Penn State, or even Lloyd Carr at Michigan, the kind of movement reportedly percolating in Ann Arbor and Baton Rouge is likely to be the rule in college football rather than the exception moving forward.  Part of that coaching transience results from coaches knowing the same fans who cheer your arrival and beg you to stay when things are going good are the same ones packing your bags for the next train our of town in the down times.


William Meznarich, the LSU fan eager to roast Miles upon his hypothetical departure from Baton Rouge, understands the nature of this college football landscape, too: "Look what happened when Saban came and went?  Two years later, we're right back in contention for another championship.


"He did his job here.  I can't complain.  I just hope we don't get Spurrier."


Even for the pragmatist, some things just aren't acceptable.