Monday, November 30, 2009

Jasper forces OT for LSU; Arkansas misses tying field goal

From the AP via ESPN:

Les Miles trotted to the edge of the boisterous student section at Tiger Stadium, pumping his fist in triumph.

LSU's embattled coach was one week removed and a world away from the Tigers' late-game debacle at Mississippi.

The Tigers calmly drove 41 yards in 1:08 to set up Josh Jasper's game-tying 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation, then the kicker made a 36-yarder in overtime to lift LSU (No. 15 BCS, No. 17 AP) to a 33-30 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night.


LSU stormed the field after Tejada's field goal sailed wide, celebrating their victory in the battle for "The Golden Boot" with Miles, who'd been under fire from fans since the Tigers' loss at Ole Miss the previous weekend.

LSU botched the end of that game with poor clock management and play-calling. Against Arkansas, Jefferson and the Tigers looked like old pros in the 2-minute drill.


Okay, it's been disappointing this season, to say the least. Losses to both Alabama and Florida have meant that LSU will not be playing for a national championship this year, which is okay, I guess, because you just can't win it all every year. But it's been doubly frustrating to know that the Tigers have an extraordinarily talented roster, which, excluding the Gator's wunderkind Tim Tebow, is probably as good as 'Bama's or Florida's.

It is not unreasonable to ask what the fuck is up with LSU. And after last week's humiliating upset at Ole Miss, it is not unreasonable to demand to know what the fuck is up with LSU.

I've defended Les Miles here on numerous occasions while local sports radio guys lambasted him, not for losing, but for not winning in the way they thought the Tigers should. I mean, c'mon, he won a fucking national championship, for chrissakes! But Miles has been sloppy these last two seasons. Weird off-the-field dramas distracting the team on Saturday. Bizarre play calls. Uninspired performance in big games. Chronic inconsistency. Maybe he's been sloppy the whole time, and I just haven't noticed it. It's like Miles has done some bizarre shit, which succeeds against all odds, and the sports writers dub him "The Mad Hatter," and everything's A-okay. Maybe he's just mad. Or just a hatter. After losing to the Rebels last week, I started to think that maybe Les Miles has just been lucky.

So okay, we beat the Razorbacks, which is good because they're a good team. And Miles was really careful this week to avoid the bullshit that made him lose last week. That's good, too. But I can't keep from wondering whether he's a great coach, or simply a good coach with enough flaws to keep his talented players from playing as well as they ought to.

Yeah, the SEC is the toughest conference in the nation and all, but is Les Miles up to the task, good enough to beat Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops or Pete Carroll or Mack Brown? As usual, I guess we'll have to wait until next year to know for sure.

LSU running back Trindon Holliday, right, returns a punt around Arkansas

linebacker Jerry Franklin (34) for a 87-yard touchdown in the first half of an
NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009.
(AP Photo/Bill Haber)