While Utah isn't in a BCS conference, I've always been partial to Pacific Ten teams, mostly because out of all the BCS conferences, they're the most undervalued. Plus I always tend to cheer for western teams to offset the inevitable East Coast Bias. So when Les Miles ripped into USC and the Pac 10, I couldn't help but think that he should just shut the hell up.
Talk is cheap and Miles is doing a lot of it. What makes this even more absurd is the fact LSU has zero games against the Pac Ten this year. So attacking their conference knowing you don't have to back it up on the football field is akin to lobbing insults on the internet. But should we expect anything better from a coach that actually tried to waste his final timeout after the Tigers intercepted a Tennessee pass with 20 seconds left in the game back in 2005. Two years ago the clock would automatically stop after a turnover, yet Miles looked completely lost, even though he had been a head coach for 4 seasons prior to that game.
But the most interesting thing with this whole debate is that I'm guessing most Pac Ten fans would concede their conference isn't nearly as strong. However when it comes to actually beefing up the schedule by scheduling tougher opponents in out of conference games, the Pac Ten owns the SEC in that regard. That is important to consider, since these games are chosen, when conference games are not. USC can't help that they play Stanford, but they can help playing a bottom of the barrel NCAA D1-A team, or even worse, a D1-AA one.
Miles suggests that USC is a lock for the national championship because of their easy schedule. Yet he ignores the fact that USC has two out of conference road games against teams that played in bowl games that took place after New Years Eve. Those opponents of course being Notre Dame and Nebraska. I will give Miles some credit, LSU did schedule a home game against Virginia Tech, but they also play Middle Tennessee State, Tulane and LA Tech. Not exactly a fearsome schedule. Adding out of conference games and the strength of both USC's and LSU's schedules aren't that much different.
|LSU Schedule||2006 Opponents Record|
|@ Mississippi State||3-9|
|*Middle Tennessee State||7-6|
* Bowl teams last year
Their opponents 2006 combined record was 87-68 (.561). The Tigers lost to 11-2 Auburn and 13-1 Florida in '06. LSU will be playing 8 teams that made a bowl game last year.
|USC Schedule||2006 Opponents Record|
|* @ Nebraska||9-5|
|* @ Notre Dame||10-3|
|* @ Oregon||7-6|
|* Oregon State||10-4|
|* @ Cal||10-3|
|* @ Arizona State||7-6|
Their opponents in 2006 combined record was 82-71 (.535). The Trojans lost to 10-4 Oregon State and 7-6 UCLA. USC will be playing 7 teams that made a bowl game last year.
Now while the above is not an exact science, it shows that both LSU and USC's opponents this season faired about as well comparatively. So even with Stanford's one win season, USC isn't that far off in schedule toughness and the gap is definitely not as wide as Les Miles would have many believe. Especially when you consider that LSU still has 3 games this season against really bad non-BCS teams, while USC only has one game against a really bad non-BCS team.
Les Miles has proven over the years that he's not a very smart individual. These latest comments only cement that belief. To suggest USC has dominated the way they have because of a weak conference goes against fact and those that use this argument only look foolish.