LSU coach Les Miles’ former school and conference seem to be facing a less certain future by the day.
Miles was head coach at Oklahoma State of the Big 12 before becoming the Tigers’ coach after the 2004 season. With Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, and Texas, Oklahoma and others flirting with the Pac-12, the Big 12 could cease to look like the league Miles remembers.
“I enjoy the traditions of the past, and I enjoy history,” Miles said. “I like the matchups. It’s hard for me to think Oklahoma and Nebraska will not play. It would be hard for me to not see Texas and Texas schools like Baylor and Texas Tech and A&M - and certainly both great Oklahoma schools - not having a fundamental home that they can call their own.”
The Big 12 survived Nebraska’s departure to the Big Ten and Colorado’s to the Pac-12 before this season, but it likely wouldn’t survive additional defections beyond A&M.
“It’s hard for me to fathom that the foundation of the Big 12 isn’t a real quality one,” Miles said. “In other words, that that would not work over time. I would think that they would be the conference that would want to add rather than lose members.
“That being said, I know there are some great teams there and that they have a very competitive conference, and if it does break up, a lot of members of that conference would be viable candidates to add to a great conference.”
Big game brewing
LSU’s trip to Morgantown for the game against No. 16 West Virginia is a first for the Tigers and for Miles, and everyone seems to be looking forward to it.
“I’ve been looking forward to this because I’ve been told Morgantown is a wonderful place to play,” Miles said. “Their game-day experience is a lot like an SEC game. They have a crowd that is into their team and makes a lot of noise.”
Guard T-Bob Hebert knows a little about Morgantown because his long-time girlfriend’s family is from West Virginia and her father and brothers are West Virginia alumni.
“I can’t wait,” Hebert said. “They’re all ready. They’ve got their moonshine brewing up, getting ready for the game. I’m excited.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to go to an atmosphere like that because that’s the best part about college football is these different stadiums with their different traditions. No LSU team has ever been there before. I can’t wait to go to Morgantown.”
More enthusiasm on tap
West Virginia is selling beer at its home games for the first time this season. Miles was asked what he thought the crowd might be like at Tiger Stadium if LSU adopted a similar policy.
“First of all, I suspect that no matter what the size of the crowd, there will be a little bit more enthusiasm for play at West Virginia,” Miles said. “If they serve beer in Tiger Stadium, I fear that the upper decks might not hold it.
“I certainly want to be politically correct and not be against serving beer in Tiger Stadium. Certainly the athletic director and the chancellor would have to make that decision. But I promise you, we would enjoy playing in front of a Tiger Stadium that occasionally had a beer.”
Gold Game shirts on sale
The official Nike fan T-shirt for the 2011 Gold Game is available in the LSU SportShop, at http://www.LSUshop.net and at the LSU Bookstore.
LSU is encouraging fans to wear gold to the Oct. 8 game against Florida for the annual Gold Game in Tiger Stadium.
This season, LSU worked with Nike to develop an official Gold Game shirt that shows Tiger pride while also supporting the University’s Love Purple/Live Gold campaign.
The shirt’s front graphic features the University’s Love Purple/Live Gold trademark above the familiar Eye of the Tiger logo. The back graphic features the University’s primary mark, LSU in the Geaux font.