DEVILLE: Waaaa Hoooo! The Tigers are Champs

NEW ORLEANS – It looked as if Les Miles might break down and cry.

Sitting on a stage in the Louisiana Superdome having just led his team to the BCS National Championship, Miles conclude his opening comments to the media with a statement that could have only been followed by tears.

That wasn't quite the case.

Known for his off the wall comments and unpredictable actions at times, what transpired next was trademark Les Miles.

"I couldn't be more proud of this team and so fortunate to be the coach here," Miles said. "So fortunate to represent LSU.

"And," Miles said before pausing. "Excuse me…"

What happened next not only caught the media in attendance by surprise, but also evoked thunderous laughter in the cavernous bowels of the Superdome.

"Waaaaaa Hoooooooo," Miles yelped playfully.

LSU quarterback Matt Flynn, who was seated to Miles' immediate left, giggled like a third-grader at recess.

The outburst was one of sheer joy for the LSU head coach, who led the Tigers to their third national championship in the program's history. LSU also became the first team in the nation to win two BCS national Championships.

But the playful shout held an underlying meaning, much deeper than the superficial scream of a happy football coach. The yelp was one of accomplishment, pride in his team, but most of all – relief.

The 2007 college football season was one that may never be duplicated. And it shouldn't be for the sake and health of all coaches, players and fans involved.

It couldn't be regarded merely as a season of upsets, yet that of sheer "shock and awe." Appalachian State tops Michigan. Syracuse runs past Louisville. Louisiana-Monroe unseats Alabama. Coaches were fired. A sophomore won the Heisman Trophy.

Absolute chaos.

Oh and by the way, a two loss team won the national championship. Who'd have thunk it?

LSU fits right into the bizarre nature of this season with its own roller coaster ride though 2007. Two losses on the year, both in triple overtime, and more than enough gut-wrenching victories to send the faint of heart running to the cardiologist.

Toss in the circus that surrounded Les Miles' name being constantly linked to the coaching vacancy at Michigan and you have a full-blown, four-alarm college football free-for-all.

It's no wonder Miles felt the need to exhale after his two-loss team was the last man standing in the wake of such a mentally and physically trying season.

Afterwards, Miles was asked about the feeling of lifting the crystal football into the air for all to see in the Louisiana Superdome. He admitted that he had never really thought about it before the actual moment, which caused him to pause momentarily before removing the crystal pigskin from its perch atop the Coaches Trophy and enjoy the moment a bit.

However, the always humble Miles, in typical fashion, said holding that trophy in the air and winning the national title had very little to do with him, but more about the players.

"It's not something that has to do with me," Miles said. "It's a quality team. I'm fortunate to represent a great school. And I would represent those seniors and those underclassmen that have really worked so hard and done everything in their power to lift that team."

While Miles takes little credit for the accomplishment of winning the BCS National Title, it seems appropriate to give the Tigers head man is just due.

When Miles came to LSU, there were big shoes to fill in those left by Nick Saban. At time of his hiring, Miles wasn't what you would call the most popular hire.

Even through back to back 11-2 seasons, there were plenty of folks who weren't sold on Miles being the man for LSU. There was always the debate of the absence of a championship.

As the 2007 season played out, the Tigers ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the country, but twice fell from hard in a pair of devastating losses.

Then came the first elusive championship – of the SEC variety. And with that win over Tennessee, the second opportunity at an even bigger prize – a national championship.


Miles has now closed out one chapter and effectively jumpstarted a new one with LSU's recent national championship. The Tigers are now in a class by themselves as the only program to claim two BCS National Championships, two in five seasons.

Sure Saban won one of the titles, but as the former coach used to say, it is all about "what have you done for me lately."

And for those who still question Miles' coaching ability and how he stacks up against the top coaches in the nation, take this stat into account. Prior to Miles leading LSU to the 2007 title, there were four coaches in the SEC that had captured national championships.

Steve Spurrier.

Philip Fulmer

Nick Saban.

Urban Meyer.

What do all four of these coaches have in common with Miles this season? He defeated every one of them on the field en route to playing Ohio State for the national championship.

In the BCS title game, he beat another coach who had previously won a national title in Jim Tressel.

So in five of LSU's 12 victories in 2007, Miles defeated coaches that had won college football's top prize.

And now, Miles joins that elite circle. Welcome to the club Les.

Waaaaaa Hoooooo!


Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at

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