The SEC is a cutthroat business -- as if anyone needed to be told.
Roughly a third of the conference's jobs are turning over, including three of its more noteworthy programs. As football fans nationwide are well aware, Auburn set a new precedent for expectations when it fired Gene Chizik two years after he delivered the school a national championship. Georgia coach Mark Richt has his Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game for the second straight year, and yet it wasn't that long ago that the 12th-year coach was on a hot seat of his own.
These are all things to remember when considering that Les Miles not only still has his job after eight seasons with LSU, but that he just got extended for another seven or so. Presuming Miles maintains LSU at its current level -- which is no guarantee, by the way -- he could serve 15 seasons as LSU's head coach before he signs another contract (or retires).
For some perspective, that's longer than Steve Spurrier coached Florida, and it's longer than Nick Saban has even coached in the SEC.
"I am an LSU head coach, and will be an LSU head coach for as long as I can be. We’ve done some special things here. It’s nice that the administration, Joe Alleva, and Chancellor Jenkins recognize that," Miles said Wednesday. "Seven years is a long tenure. I’m fortunate to have that commitment from a great institution and a great school in LSU.”
With turnover being what it is in this conference, Miles' tenure can't be understated. Had he left for another job -- be it Arkansas or elsewhere -- there's no telling what would have happened to the Tigers' current crop of recruits, or the deep-founded recruiting ties within the state. It's hard to say how fortunes would change in the future if Miles and his staff, including the likes of recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson, were to uproot.
Just look at Chizik's talented crop of 2013 commitments, which has already lost ESPN 150 names such as Trey Johnson, who decommitted this week.
That type of SEC uncertainty doesn't seem likely to permeate Baton Rouge, though. Miles' brief flirtation with Arkansas was his third chance to leave LSU in the past five years, and he has yet to take the bait. That gives the Tigers a stability that is hard to find in such a competitive league. Miles could even lose an assistant, as he advocated for defensive coordinator John Chavis as the new head coach at Tennessee, and it wouldn't be a detriment.
"There's no question that if Tennessee was looking for a very quality candidate, John Chavis should be one," Miles said.
In an uncertain conference, Miles' extension cements him as the face of LSU football for the foreseeable future. That's something he'll be sure to trumpet on the recruiting trail, or hope others trumpet for him.
"Maybe (the media) can help me, and let them know: I'm going to be the coach here for quite some time," he said.