The circumstances surrounding Les Miles winning what is currently his sole national championship can only adequately be described as the most Les Miles circumstances imaginable.
The LSU Tigers are the only two-loss BCS champions, ascending from the raucous dogpile that was the 2007 college football season. LSU lost games to the Arkansas Razorbacks and Kentucky Wildcats, feats that in 2012 would have yielded a pink slip rather than a crystal ball.
Of course, that was much a different campaign. But a clear comparison to be gleaned in 2007 still evident today is that defensive prowess in the SEC reigns supremely nationally, and Miles’ Tigers had it in droves. Tackle Glenn Dorsey was a monster in the middle, collecting numerous individual honors (SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Outland Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Trophy) while keying the Tigers’ 19.9 point per game defense.
Miles used some two-quarterback integration into the offense. Ryan Perrilloux effectively backed up Matt Flynn, including in the SEC championship game. The duo combined for 29 passing touchdowns, the majority of which were spread among a talented receiving triumvirate of Early Doucet, Demetrius Byrd and Brandon LaFell. Bruising ball carrier Jacob Hester had a standout campaign, breaking 1100 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns to lead a multifaceted ground game of seven rushers with at least 200 yards.
Despite their two losses, the 2007 LSU Tigers were not short on talent. But they are hard-pressed to advance in their BCS Sweet 16 match-up. The only two-loss champion is a fitting first round match-up for what could be considered the greatest team of the BCS era — if not the greatest college football team ever.
Such hyperbole gets bandied about carelessly in this age of media debate-embracing. But consider that the 2001 Miami Hurricanes bulldozed through opponents by an average of 32.9 points per game. Only once were the Hurricanes truly challenged, edging Virginia Tech in a clash for the Big East Conference championship, 24-22. Double digits decided every other outcome.
And Miami didn’t just chomp its way through a diet of cupcakes, either. When The U. blasted the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2002 Rose Bowl to put the finishing touches on its undefeated title season, it had beaten its fourth straight opponent sporting a record of No. 14 or better. Two of those games — vs. the No. 14 Syracuse Orange and No. 12 Washington Huskies — Miami won by a combined 117 points.
The 2001 Hurricanes boasted a roster that was a veritable Who’s Who of future NFL talent. Here’s a sampling of what the Miami roster had to offer:
- Clinton Portis
- Willis McGahee
- Frank Gore
- Najeh Davenport
- Jeremy Shockey
- Andre Johnson
- Kellen Winslow
- Ed Reed
- Jonathan Vilma
- Antrel Rolle
- Sean Taylor
- Phillip Buchanon
- Vince Wilfork
- Jerome McDougle
Cast your vote in this BCS Sweet 16 match-up below, and check out the other SaturdayBlitz.com Sweet 16 pairings.
BCS Sweet 16 Round One: Who Advances?
- 2001 Miami Hurricanes (87%, 34 Votes)
- 2007 LSU Tigers (13%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 39