Les Miles is going to Destin, Fla., next week for the annual Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting hoping to come home with some version of beach blanket justice.
LSU’s football coach, Athletic Director Joe Alleva and interim Chancellor William Jenkins have been beating the drum for months for the SEC to do away with permanent opposite division opponents.
It will be a tough sell. The SEC has had permanent opponents since 1992 when it created East and West divisions, and adding Missouri and Texas A&M last year didn’t change the widespread support for the scheduling format.
The permanent opponent plank protects traditional cross-divisional rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia. LSU and Florida, which have played each other annually since 1971, sort of falls into that category, though Miles and LSU officials would like to see it fall out of the SEC’s future scheduling plans.
The conference is expected to adopt a long-term scheduling format at next week’s meeting. Alleva anticipates a scheduling format of at least six to eight years in length.
“The most important thing the conference has to do is pick a champion in a fair, straightforward way,” Miles said Monday while making a brief appearance at the University Club for the start of the John “Big Chief” Chavis charity golf tournament. “I think everybody understands that.”
Alleva maintains only Texas A&M and South Carolina are on LSU’s side, but Miles is optimistic more schools will come around.
“I trust they will recognize with the upcoming playoff, and with the BCS bowls being so important, everyone should shoulder the burden of playing the better teams,” Miles said. “Everybody.”
No update on Hill
Miles was less expansive on the subject of trouble running back Jeremy Hill.
The sophomore from Redemptorist was arrested last month for his role in an off-campus bar fight that led Miles to indefinitely suspend him from the team.
“I have no update,” Miles said. “It has to work itself out.”
Earlier this month, a judge placed new restrictions on Hill’s existing probation from his guilty plea in January 2012 to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, including a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew that would at least impact his ability to play night football games.
There is a possibility Hill’s probation could be revoked and he could serve up to six months in jail.
Miles said most of his players are home having completed spring semester classes, taking a 10-day break before returning to LSU in June to take summer session classes.
“There are a small number of guys on campus taking (intersession) classes,” Miles said, “but most of the team is home.”
Miles said he has been pleased with his players’ dedication to preparing for the upcoming season.
“I think a lot of guys recognize this is a very key year,” he said.
The level of focus for LSU’s Aug. 31 season opener against TCU in the Cowboys Classic is similar to what he saw from his players before the 2011 Cowboys Classic against Oregon, Miles said.
“It is a quality, quality opponent with which to start the season,” Miles said. “The football team recognizes that you have to have a special summer.”