Instanalysis: SEC Wars Episode No. 1, The Les Miles Menace


A now infamous press conference question drew the comparison of Nick Sabana and Will Muschamp as Jedi and Padawan, making them football’s Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. In the galaxy far, far away that is the SEC, Star Wars-esque relationships are indeed prevalent. Take Jedi Master Saban, now using The Force to lead Alabama. He was beloved at LSU — still is in some circles despite crossing over to the Dark Side. The championship level at which he coached will always live in Tiger lore. When Les Miles replaced him, he was the prequel.

His every move has been scrutinized. His success is attributed to piggybacking off the original franchise. In other words, Miles was the Hayden Christiansen version of Anakin Skywalker.

But as the story goes, that Anakin grew to become the galaxy’s most powerful Sith Lord, Darth Vader. The transformation from Anakin to Vader was wrought with the many Padawans cut down — that certainly happened today in Death Valley.

It was evident from the onset Muschamp’s Gators were no match for the Bayou Bengals. LSU scored almost immediately. The Tiger running game punished a UF defense a step slower and rep or too weaker. And Charlie Weis — poor Charlie Weis — he stood on the sideline trying to figure out the powerful, fast and swarming LSU defense with a facial expression like C3PO’s.

With every win in which LSU imposes its will on the competition, the critiques of Miles get quieter. The chortling about end-of-game management is less a reality and more a novelty in the lines of Ron P. jokes. The Tigers are for real. Miles’ previous title was backed into; if this version plays for a BCS Championship it will be because it was earned.

Muschamp was forced to start a scout team freshman at quarterback, Jacoby Bursett. Such a scenario obviously favored the Tigers, but the fact remains that LSU now has four wins over teams ranked in the top 25 at game time. The Hat speaks softly and carries a big lightsaber.