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Les Miles-to-Arkansas rumor makes dollars but no sense

Let me get this straight. Les Miles turned down his alma mater, Michigan, but would leave LSU for Arkansas?

Of all of the off the wall things Miles has done since arriving in Baton Rouge eight years ago, taking the Arkansas job would take the cake.

Since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992, the Hogs haven't exactly gone Hog wild with conference football championships. Arkansas has won a total of zero. After Alabama or Georgia win the league title Saturday, LSU will still own four of the last 12 titles.

Arkansas is a second-tier SEC job. Money has helped the program come a long way but still.

It was 15 years ago this week when former Arkansas football coach and director of athletics Frank Broyles called Tulane's Tommy Bowden and offered him the job. Bowden said no. A few days later, Broyles called back. Bowden still said no. Broyles hired Houston Nutt. One year later, Clemson called and Bowden said yes.

My guess is Les Miles wants a raise. And he deserves one. His base salary of $3.751 million per season has remained stagnant since LSU won the BCS championship five seasons ago. In his latest contract renegotiation with LSU, Miles was given a huge buyout.

If LSU would have terminated Miles in the first year of his new deal in 2011, the school would have owed him $18.7 million.

Coaches say they don't read the newspaper or watch TV, but if Les Miles were reading USA Today earlier this month, he would have mined some interesting nuggets.

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (no SEC titles with the Gamecocks) earns $3.55 million. TCU coach Gary Patterson earns $3.467 million per season. Even the new coach at Arizona State, Todd Graham, earns $3 million per season.

Alabama's Nick Saban earns in excess of $5.3 million per season. If Miles had won the BCS title last year, his contract stipulates he would be the highest paid coach in America, plus $1,000.

After much haggling, Miles' deal was finally announced in late August of 2011.

"To me, I think tenure is more important than the money," said Les Miles.

Now, it's time to get some more cash. And LSU should give.

There's a reason LSU is building a new deck above the south end zone. Les is winning. Miles is 85-20 at LSU including 23-3 over the last two seasons.

And if anyone should understand how the game is played, it should be LSU's director of athletics Joe Alleva.

In the summer of 2011, Tennessee pursued Alleva. He was earning $325,000 per year and received a $175,000 bump in pay plus an additional $200,000 in "supplemental compensation."

Miles and Alleva are not buddies. But Miles knows few places in college football are better than LSU, and Alleva knows that it will be hard to replace a coach who has won 85 out of 105.

That means it's time to make a deal.

 
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