COACHING CHANGES (as of 8:45 PM Monday night)
While the rest of college football is focused on the BCS Championship Game on Monday night, LSU and Les Miles have other things cooking.
Here is my best attempt at a recap of events that lead us up to where we stand right now:
- Miles has been very non-committal about his interest in the Michigan job or about his return to LSU ever since Rich Rodriguez was fired. He did a good job, in my opinion, of deflecting the questions and keeping his team focused on the Cotton Bowl. But since then, he has been forced to field some questions and there has been no "I'm the head coach at LSU. I will be the head coach at LSU...I'm busy...Have a great day" moments. Instead, we get the video that is posted down below on the front page of this site.
- Many players stated that Miles told them he is not leaving LSU and is their coach.
- Michigan makes it pretty clear that Jim Harbaugh is their top choice. He decides to leave Stanford and head to the San Francisco 49ers. That announcement is made on the same day as the Cotton Bowl. The combination of Harbaugh being off the board and LSU's bowl game being complete really set off the speculation that has only continued to build.
- Michigan apparently removed the job posting on their web site at some point on Friday.
- On the day of the Cotton Bowl, a plane linked to University of Michigan officials stops in Baton Rouge for a short amount of time.
- On Saturday, word spread that Michigan wanted to speak with Miles regarding their head coaching vacancy.
- The same plane returned to Baton Rouge on Sunday. But this update says that it is purely coincidental. I'm not sure I buy into that but if that's true, then it's pretty funny. That would be a HELL of a coincidence.
- Throughout Sunday, the LSU side expressed a great deal of confidence that Miles would remain at LSU but would talk to Michigan out of courtesy and possibly to leverage a better contract from LSU.
- On Monday, LSU held a press conference to announce that Patrick Peterson was leaving early for the NFL. Afterwards, Miles gave a statement regarding the Michigan job. He confirmed that his representatives had talked to Michigan and that he was set to meet with them "at some point."
- A Michigan web site reported that a team meeting was called for Michigan's football team on Tuesday at 5:00 PM.
- Michigan's athletic director Dave Brandon was in Dallas for the American Football Coaches Association convention. Les Miles was set to attend this convention on Tuesday as a speaker. Most assumed the two would meet sometime Tuesday while Miles was there.
- Throughout Monday, it appeared the confidence from the LSU side was fading. Many that were confident Miles was staying earlier in the day were suddenly saying it was a very real possibility that he leaves.
- Monday afternoon, a different plane, one used by the Michigan AD, flew from Dallas to Baton Rouge.
- Tigerbait.com reported Monday evening that Miles would meet with Dave Brandon Monday night. WAFB confirmed that Miles did indeed meet with Brandon and others.
- Throughout the BCS Championship Game Monday night, ESPN reported that if Miles were offered the Michigan job, he would accept.
- Joe Schad of ESPN reported that LSU may be willing to waive or reduce the $1.25 million buyout that Michigan would owe LSU if Miles left. Nobody understands why LSU would agree to this. The only thing that makes sense is if LSU had a replacement coach already lined up, but that's doubtful in my opinion.
- On Monday night, that same plane that came from Dallas to Baton Rouge is headed from Baton Rouge to Michigan. Everyone wants to know whether Miles and Dave Brandon on the plane?
- Michael Kelly of WBRZ reporting that Les Miles was not one of the people who boarded Brandon's plane.
- ESPN again reported on Monday night that Miles would meet with Michigan on Tuesday. But it sure looks like they met on Monday night.
So there we have it. Did they strike a deal to be announced later? Or did Les tell them "Thanks, but no Thanks"? Did they just talk and agree to talk again Tuesday?
It's important to discuss the Michigan side of things, which is complicated. I've read a lot about it and I'm not going to repeat all of the foolishness involved. But it's clear that a faction inside the walls at Michigan do not want, or did not want, Miles as head coach. Their reasoning had very little to do with football but rather that Les rubbed many of those people the wrong way. This has to do with his work on the recruiting trail as well as his time as a Michigan assistant, depending on who you listen to. Supposedly, all of the fences have been mended.
However, some believe that Michigan AD Dave Brandon may be going through the motions of talking to Miles only as a means to appease the "pro Miles" crowd in Ann Arbor.
I have maintained all along that it would be very difficult for Miles to turn down Michigan if they offered him the job. It appears that Michigan is making a serious run at Les. At this point, this writer would be fairly surprised if LSU still has a coach on Wednesday.