Time to level the playing field

The world of college football has lost its mind and is standing on its end. To make the point, let’s focus on two programs, Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Georgia (UGA).

Even though neither is in the hunt for a national championship, one might think with conference championships coming up this weekend that the impending playoff would be a better topic. Not in this case.

Some absolutes: Only one team can win a national title each year. Only one team can win a conference title each year. And 10-win seasons are a good thing.

With those parameters set, let’s take a look at what transpired in the last week with these two programs.

For days headed into the final regular season game, LSU head coach Les Miles was apparently on the head coach chopping block.

Even as kickoff was about to take place there was still a media explosion about how Miles would be finished following the conclusion of the game. Even Miles was telling the news media he had no idea what his future held. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Tigers would be getting a new man to lead their program.

Lo and behold, following a social media explosion in support of Miles and even a letter from the governor, Miles was announced as the coach moving forward — after the game was over. LSU’s athletic department even attempted to look as if it had no idea what the rest of the world was talking about where Miles was concerned.

By all accounts, the university had every intention of firing Miles, despite what they might now be saying publicly.

Heading east, let’s look at The University of Georgia and Mark Richt, who was at the helm of the Bulldogs football program for the last 15 years.

The common public consensus is that he resigned following a 13-7 win over Georgia Tech and a 9-3 regular season. The truth is more likely that he was offered a chance to resign or be fired.

For weeks this season, just as in 2014, the Bulldog faithful had been calling for Richt to be replaced because of the dry spell between conference title runs and what was seen as a failure to take the program to the next level.

Richt, in his 15 years, posted a 145-51 record, had a 9-5 bowl record, appeared in five conference championships, won two of them, and ran a clean program.

Miles, since he took over the LSU program in 2005, has a 103-29 record, won the 2011 national title, won SEC championships in 2007 and 2011, and ran a clean program.

Both coaches averaged 10 wins per season and year in and year out had their schedule ranked inside the top 10, which means not only did they play in what is arguably the best football conference in the nation, but they also had one of the 10 toughest schedules on a yearly basis.

Their players were highly sought after NFL draft choices and by all accounts the young men they fostered have been contributors to society.

So why would anyone want to drop two high-caliber performers such as these?

It doesn’t seem very fair, especially when you consider the two coaches, their records and their institutions. The retention of Les Miles and the departure of Mark Richt will certainly remain under review for a long time — by haters and supporters of both of them.

But the lesson is much deeper than that: Society as a whole has let its expectations become out of bounds with reality. It’s time to level that playing field.

comments powered by Disqus