Although mild by comparison, LSU Tigers’ head coach Les Miles has joined the ranks of those disagreeing with Florida Gators’ head coach Will Muschamp. It’s not an argument of Texas A&M levels (even though that wasn’t much of an argument either), but a difference of opinion between the two regarding the annual game between their teams.
Last week, Muschamp voiced his support of keeping the game between the Gators and Tigers on the schedule every season. The stature of the teams coupled with the rivalry that has been created is reason enough for many to want to see the game on an annual basis. With the changing landscape of the SEC and the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, Miles doesn’t feel the same way. At least, that’s what we’re devising from this:
“This is all based on some vague tradition that is not considering that you’re adding teams to the conference.” – Les Miles, LSU Tigers’ Head Coach
Miles went on to say that Florida isn’t in the same state as LSU (a true fact) and that the rivalry is only there because of the enjoyment of playing each other (uh, okay). The LSU head coach has never been easy to understand when it comes to attempting to read into his words, but this much seems obvious: he doesn’t value the rivalry that has been created over the past 41 years as much as Muschamp does.
Florida and LSU have faced each other 57 times (and each of those last 41 years) and have each won six of the last 12 meetings. Whether Miles wants to admit it’s a true rivalry or not, it has become one and should continue long after these two coaches have moved on. It should be preserved over attempts to create new rivalries with the new SEC members. Those will come over time, but this rivalry has already flourished.
Muschamp reiterated his point again. He believes the game is good for both programs, for college football, and for the conference. He’s right. Sure, the SEC doesn’t need much help when it comes to big games and national prominence, but there’s no need to start to eliminate valuable rivalries now.