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Two-Timing Tigers
January 14, 2008
In sending Ohio State to a second straight crushing defeat in the title game, marauding LSU became the first school to win the BCS twice
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January 14, 2008

Two-timing Tigers

In sending Ohio State to a second straight crushing defeat in the title game, marauding LSU became the first school to win the BCS twice

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Providing an unexpected preview of LSU's vaunted team speed were four Tigers seen sprinting out of Scores, a strip club on Bourbon Street, at 11:51 last Friday night. They had nine minutes to cover the five blocks to the team hotel and however many floors to get to their rooms before a midnight curfew. The way they hightailed it toward Canal Street, the players made bed check with plenty of time to spare.

Ohio State was all business when it arrived in the Big Easy five days before the game. Prior to facing Florida in last year's national title game, the team was lodged at a posh Scottsdale resort for part of its 12-day trip, and many Buckeyes remain convinced that their stay there softened them up for the Gators. This time they were billeted at a hotel whose best feature, according to Barton, was its fitness center (which he used between practices).

"The only place I've been," cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said last Friday, "is Walgreens."

"If there's a time to have fun down there," All-America linebacker James Laurinaitis said of Bourbon Street, "it's Monday night—after the game."

The Buckeyes who did make their way to Bourbon Street following the game had no reason to celebrate. Seeking redemption for their 41--14 humiliation at the hands of Florida, they suffered more disappointment. Celebrating, instead, was Flynn—at last.

Standing on the dais after he was named the game's offensive MVP, the quarterback wound up in possession of the football-shaped crystal trophy awarded to the BCS champion. While Miles addressed LSU fans, virtually all of whom had stuck around for the ceremony, Flynn stood behind his coach striking a series of poses with the crystal, to the delight of teammates.

BUT THE victory may have been sweetest for Miles, who hadn't won over Tiger Nation despite going 11--2 in each of his first two seasons. With national-title-caliber talent, rabid LSU fans argued, he didn't win so much as a conference championship until this, his third year.

Those complaints and any lingering suspicion over his unconsummated affair with Michigan were swept away in the tumult at the Superdome. With two minutes left in the game, the crowd had taken up a thunderous chant, "Les Miles! Les Miles!" The coach was feeling the love then, just as he would feel it several hours later while standing on a Bourbon Street balcony and holding the trophy above a raucous, adoring throng.

Last Saturday, outside his temporary office in the team hotel, Miles had talked about the temptation of the Michigan job. "I've got to be real honest with you," he said. "Michigan didn't communicate with me. I did everything I could to arrange an opportunity to talk [later]."

He could have lobbied more forcefully for the job but held off while his squad remained in the national title chase. Not even the Mad Hatter, as he came to be known this season, is that crazy. "The thing about Bo," he said of Schembechler, for whom he played and coached at Michigan, "was that there was never any question about his commitment to the team."

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