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SEC Coaching Rankings: No. 3 Les Miles

December 30, 2014: Les Miles LSU Tigers Head Coach during pre game action. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish play the LSU Tigers at LP Field in Nashville Tennessee.

With the SEC season less than four months away, here’s a look at how the conference’s coaches rank in 2015.

Bio: Les Miles spent several years as an offensive assistant at both the collegiate and professional levels. In 2001, he was named head coach at Oklahoma State, a position he held for four seasons.

Miles led the Cowboys to three consecutive bowl game appearances and two upset victories over top-5 ranked Oklahoma teams (2001, 2002). He was named Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by the Associated Press in 2002.

In 2005, Miles inherited an LSU team that was two years removed from a BCS title following Nick Saban’s departure to the NFL. The Tigers finished 11-2 (7-1 SEC) in his debut season and made an SEC Championship Game appearance. Two years later, LSU went 12-2 and defeated Ohio State, 38-24, in the BCS National Championship Game.

Miles holds a 103-29 (56-24 SEC) record in his 10 seasons with the Tigers. He led LSU to two SEC Championships (2007, 2011), three SEC Western Division titles (2005, 2007, 2011) and was the Walter Camp Coach of the Year in 2011.

1980–1981
1982–1986
1987–1994
1995–1997
1998–2000
2001–2004
2005–present
Michigan (GA)
Colorado (OL)
Michigan (OL)
Oklahoma State (OC)
Dallas Cowboys (TE)
Oklahoma State
LSU

Reason For Ranking: Miles is one of the SEC’s best coaches. He’s as brilliant as he is eccentric, having earnd the moniker of “Mad Hatter.” Whether its eating grass, clapping with palms only or just finding consistent success, Miles is one of the SEC’s biggest stars and will remain in the spotlight moving forward.

His naysayers — including former Alabama quarterback turned SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy — have undersold his success in Baton Rouge due to his fortune of inheriting top talent following Saban’s departure. However, his ability to keep the Tigers in contention for the last decade is inarguable.

LSU is the sixth winningest program in college football since 2005. Only Alabama has a better record among SEC teams with a 2.5 percent advantage in winning percentage.

2015 Schedule: 

Saturday
Sep. 5
Cowboys McNeese State Cowboys
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA
Saturday
Sep. 12
Bulldogs at Mississippi State Bulldogs
Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
TBA
Saturday
Sep. 19
Tigers Auburn Tigers
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA
Saturday
Sep. 26
Orangemen at Syracuse Orange
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
TBA
Saturday
Oct. 3
Eagles Eastern Michigan Eagles
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA
Saturday
Oct. 10
Gamecocks at South Carolina Gamecocks
Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC
TBA
Saturday
Oct. 17
Gators Florida Gators
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA
Saturday
Oct. 24
Hilltoppers Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (HC)
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA
Saturday
Oct. 31
Open Date
Saturday
Nov. 7
Crimson Tide at Alabama Crimson Tide
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
TBA
Saturday
Nov. 14
Razorbacks Arkansas Razorbacks
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA
Saturday
Nov. 21
Rebels at Ole Miss Rebels
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS
TBA
Saturday
Nov. 28
Aggies Texas A&M Aggies
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA

2015 Outlook: LSU is a feast or famine program entering the 2015 season. At best, the Tigers are stacked at skill positions, including a potential Heisman candidate in sophomore Leonard Fournette.

LSU also returns a talented group of underclassmen at wide receiver. Rising junior Travin Dural led the Tigers with 758 yards and seven touchdowns on 37 receptions. The Tigers also saw strong outputs from freshmen Malachi Dupre (318 yards, five touchdowns and 14 catches) and John Diarse (275 yards, three touchdowns and 15 catches).

But Miles still faces quarterback uncertainty. He confirmed that Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris were “neck-and-neck” in spring practice for the starting role after both players struggled in 2014.

LSU must also find defensive success after the departure of John Chavis. Former Alabama linebackers coach Kevin Steele was hired as coordinator in January and looks to replace one of the SEC’s most respected assistants.

The Tigers have talent, but may not be seasoned enough to contend in a tough SEC West. However, Miles’ track record suggests not to doubt LSU’s chances for success in 2015.

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