"Early in tournament play," Miles said, "nobody throws 'all in.' It's stupid. They only throw 'all in' late in the game."
Comparing that strategy to trying to win a BCS national championship, Miles said putting a whole season on the line early against a highly ranked nonconference opponent isn't smart for a team in a strong conference.
SEC fans dig, Les. It's how Florida can schedule Western Carolina and still be voted into the title game in '06. It's why South Carolina can schedule Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina State and still have the second toughest schedule in 2007. And apparently, it's why LSU can get away with scheduling Middle Tennessee State, Tulane, and Louisiana Tech and still be slated by some pundits to match up with USC for the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans. (Some home field advantage!)But of course, fans of other conferences won't see it that way -- certainly not fans of the Pac-10, whom Les Miles trampled with his comments last week.
They'll question the non-conference schedule. All anti-SEC'ers do. But Les Miles says LSU's cupcakes are just "smart scheduling." And he's done his homework.
"I did this some time ago," Miles said. "I looked at a team like Michigan, who always had a nationally ranked team but would occasionally lose in an early game to a South Carolina because their quarterback wasn't ready and then they went on to win 10 straight games and maybe were one of the best teams in the nation, but you know what? They lost early to South Carolina. Why? Why?"Miles, in his lengthy interview, even goes so far as to criticize Florida for playing Florida State, a non-conference rival, year-in and year-out. Despite FSU's terrible record in 2006, they gave the Gators a game, forcing Florida to beat them by a single TD in Doak Campbell stadium. The Gators, of course, went on to win the BCS title game against Ohio State.
"You play that team and get by them and have improved and get your quarterback back, and then play the 10 straight that you would have won with your best team," he said. "Guess what you do? You play for the national title."
Miles said a team needs many ingredients to win a national championship. It must be smart, it must be great, and it must be healthy and give itself a shot at winning the title.LSU fans: don't expect to see any good non-conference games in Baton Rouge anytime soon.
"Let me tell you something: Don't tell me that there's not nationally ranked teams, don't tell me that there's not teams that could have won it had they scheduled a little smarter," Miles said.