BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's an area where LSU carries the SEC banner quite boldly.
And nobody waves it better than Les Miles.
If the Tigers beat Washington Saturday at Tiger Stadium, they will tie an FBS record with 39 straight non-conference, regular-season wins. The streak, which started with a win over the Citadel on Sept. 7, 2002, would tie the mark set by Kansas State from 1993-2003.
Washington would be the 11th opponent from a BCS automatic qualifier conference in that stretch, the ninth since Les Miles arrived as head coach in 2005. The Tigers have beaten six ranked teams during the streak meaning, clearly, it hasn't just been a case of the Tigers padding their record against weaker non-SEC competition.
The domination of non-conference opponents is even greater under Les Miles, who is 28-0 in non-conference regular-season games, including all six of the wins over ranked opponents in the streak. He's also 5-1 against non-conference opponents in bowl games, all against teams from BCS conferences. All six bowl opponents were ranked.
Miles' only loss to a non-conference opponent in seven-plus seasons as the Tigers' head coach was in the 2010 Capital One Bowl, when Penn State edged the Tigers on a horribly muddy field, 19-17.
Add it up and Miles-coached Tigers teams are 11-1 against ranked, non-conference opponents and 33-1 against all non-conference opponents.
Miles, 76-18 overall and 43-17 against SEC opponents (including SEC championship games and last seasons's BCS championship game loss to Alabama), dodged talk of LSU's streaks when he was asked about them this week.
"I'm not going to comment on that," he said. "You might give me that (question) after the (Washington) game. This is a quality Washington team. We aren't going to talk about ifs and whens. We are really going to focus on this team."
If UW wins, it could keep LSU from tying the non-conference winning streak record and LSU's Tiger Stadium winning streak record (the Tigers need one win to get to 19 straight home wins). To get his team ready for Tiger Stadium, Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian brought a live, caged tiger to practice Tuesday, preparing his team for the possibility that, as is custom, a caged Mike the Tiger might be waiting outside their locker room as they walk out onto the Tiger Stadium grass Saturday.
History shows, Miles has been the more dangerous beast for non-conference opponents to worry about.