There’s no denying that Les Miles has accomplished plenty as the head coach of the LSU Tigers. But in a profession that is obsessed with what a coach has done lately, there’s reason for Miles to be a little bit nervous this bowl season. LSU has lost their last two bowl games in bad fashion and need to come out sharp to avoid that losing streak getting extended to three in the Outback Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes. While nobody is asking about Miles’ job security in Baton Route just yet, another bad bowl game could get the whispers started.
Two years ago, LSU made a run to the BCS National Championship with a perfect 13-0 regular season record as the champions of the SEC. There, they were dominated by the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 21-0 rout that saw the LSU offense do absolutely nothing for the entire game. Last season, LSU went 10-2 and in the regular season and made it the Chick-fil-A Bowl where they surrendered the last 12 points of the game to the Clemson Tigers in the fourth quarter, capped by a 37-yard field goal as time expired, to lose 25-24.
Those bowl game letdowns leave a pretty bad taste in the mouth of LSU fans following what should have been great seasons. This year, LSU is coming into the bowl season at 9-3, have lost two of their last four games against FBS opponents (including a 38-17 shellacking at the hands of Alabama), and will be without the services of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger after he tore his ACL in the regular-season finale against the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is the probably the weakest that LSU has come into the postseason since 2009, which makes their performance against Iowa all the more important.
The SEC will continue to be a buzzsaw in 2014 with every team looking like a tough game on LSU’s schedule. Getting 2014 off to a good start with some positive momentum could be a huge difference-maker for Miles and the Tigers next season and the best way to do that is with a good showing in the bowl game. LSU needs to come out and play sharp out of the gate and re-establish themselves as one of the premier teams in college football. The best programs win in the postseason. Can Miles get LSU back to that level in the Outback Bowl?