There are basically two things that can happen after something like Wednesday’s column about Les Miles’ job being on the line in LSU’s next two games makes the rounds.
People can come forward and say, “You’re wrong,” at which point you start considering why people are saying such great things about living in Costa Rica. Or they can come forward and say “You’re on target.”
Since the column started making the rounds, the latter has been the case with sources with knowledge of this unfolding situation. Even more than it did earlier this week, it appears that Miles is coaching for his job Saturday at Ole Miss and next Saturday against Texas A&M.
There are three major scenarios in play:
1. LSU wins out to go 9-2: If this happens Miles is clearly safe until 2016, though a staff change or two could be in the offing along with a mandate to win more next season. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, whose offense has ground to a crawl the past two weeks, and special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, whose units have been riddled by kick coverage breakdowns all season, will still be under fire.
2. LSU loses out to go 7-4. There is little chance Miles would be allowed to return if a four-game losing streak drops his team to 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play for the second straight year. That would make LSU 13-11 in SEC play the past three years and a combined 2-7 against Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss.
3. LSU splits to go 8-3. This is your classic gray area. Miles’ fate would depend on how these next two games go. If the Tigers lose big at Ole Miss, something resembling their 31-14 loss Saturday to Arkansas, and squeak by Texas A&M, it will be tough for Miles, though not impossible. If LSU loses Saturday because Ole Miss drives for a late field goal, like in the 2013 game in Oxford, then hammers Texas A&M by a couple of touchdowns, Miles’ outlook improves considerably. If LSU beats Ole Miss and loses to A&M, it’s also hard to say, but last impressions are big ones.
As for Miles’ buyout — $15 million for him before Jan. 1 and $2 million for his staff — it still appears that staggering sum would not be a deal-breaker. Miles’ buyout could be paid over eight years and would go down if he took another coaching job.
All this goes away if the Tigers just win two more games. But something about this says it isn’t going to be that easy.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.