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  • Les Miles's transition to the big screen has prompted our best movie pitches to kick-start his career. Plus, a closer look at one of the offseason's trendiest sleeper teams and some context for the practice of non-conference games a decade into the future.
By Andy Staples
May 30, 2018

The Les Miles sizzle reel is out, and you have questions…

From Bailey: What Star Wars spinoff should Les Miles be in?

This is a great question, but first let’s discuss why former LSU coach Miles is acting and what scripts we already have in development for him. To learn more about Miles’s thespian exploits, read this from Ross Dellenger*.

*Ross is SI’s newest college football writer. He just started here this week, so feel free to drop him a hello on Twitter. Expect plenty more great stories like the one I linked from his old job at The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

To get an idea for Miles’s range, watch this amazing video from Lauren Sisler at AL.com, which features Miles in scenes from The Silence of the Lambs, Independence Day and The Godfather.

Now, let’s talk about what we’ve already got in the pipeline.

Wednesday, I was on SiriusXM’s SEC Radio with Cole Cubelic, and we began developing our first starring vehicle for Miles. Cubelic said he wanted to see Miles starring in an Anchorman prequel as Ron Burgundy’s father Don. So I came up with this plotline for Goldenthroat: The Legend of Don Burgundy

It’s 1955, and Don Burgundy is an announcer at NBC. He has a beautiful voice. (Miles will play Don, but during the time he works at NBC, James Earl Jones will provide the voice for all his lines.) A young Ron accidentally kicks Don in the throat, forever altering the elder Burgundy’s voice. (Now Miles is saying all his own lines.) Don loses his job and is forced to sell used cars. But with his own television dreams crushed, he channels them into his son. Imagine Miles playing a taskmaster similar to the one J.K. Simmons played in Whiplash. Sample line courtesy of Cubelic: YOU READ EXACTLY WHAT THE TELEPROMPTER SAYS! NOTHING MORE!

If that doesn’t win Miles an Oscar, this will. Joe Goodman of AL.com suggests putting Miles in a sequel instead of a prequel.

I beat Joe to the punch and already started writing…

Bobby Boucher is happily married to Vicki Vallencourt and coaching the Mud Dogs. They have three kids and a pet alligator. Legendary South Central Louisiana coach Lester Vallencourt (Vicki's long-estranged father, played by Miles) shows up out of nowhere. Zaniness ensues. Lester Vallencourt, a former high school rival of Boucher’s father, begins second-guessing every football (and life) decision coach Boucher makes. Boucher’s nerves are frayed, but coach Vallencourt is about to meet his greatest opponent (and possibly his greatest love) yet: Mama Boucher (Kathy Bates).

Meanwhile, frequent #DearAndy question supplier @HistoryOfMatt has his own idea for a Miles vehicle…

Now let’s answer Bailey’s question. 

Miles should be cast in the Boba Fett standalone movie. He should play fellow bounty hunter Cad Bane. Bane is a Clone Wars-era character, meaning he would be at the height of his powers as a teenage Boba is beginning to learn the trade. Just listen to these juicy lines and imagine them coming out of the (heavily makeup-ed) mouth of Miles.

From Alex: Will West Virginia actually be a serious threat this year?

The Mountaineers bring back more key players than anyone in the Big 12 this year, so this certainly seems like their best chance to compete for the conference title since joining the league. Early games against Tennessee in Charlotte and at NC State will give us a much better idea of how good West Virginia can be, but the offense should be explosive. Quarterback Will Grier averaged nine yards per attempt last season before a hand injury suffered in game 11 cut his season short. Receiver David Sills V, in his first full season playing the position, tied for the first in the nation with 18 touchdown catches. (None came after Grier’s injury, which underscores how important it is to keep the QB healthy.)

The bigger question involves coordinator Tony Gibson’s defense, which went from allowing 5.5 yards a play in 2016 (not bad for the Big 12) to 6.1 yards a play in 2017. This year’s group should be more experienced. Linebacker David Long Jr. is a sideline-to-sideline playmaker (75 tackles, 15.5 for loss in 2017), and Dravon Askew-Henry has played in multiple places in the secondary. If defensive end Zeke Rose and company can produce some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it could help produce the kind of turnover margin the Mountaineers will need to succeed. Last year, West Virginia gave the ball away seven more times than it took it away. A year earlier, West Virginia had 25 takeaways and 21 giveaways. Both sides of the ball need to work to ensure the turnover margin remains positive. If they can, then a November stretch that includes consecutive games against Texas (away), TCU (home), Oklahoma State (away) and Oklahoma (home) will determine whether the Mountaineers play for the Big 12 title at season’s end.

From Lou: Why do teams schedule non-conf games eight to 10 years in advance (like Wisconsin-Pitt last week)? They don’t know how strong that opponent will be in 10 years. Wisconsin got burned last year when BYU was awful, costing them in the playoff chase. Why risk that again?

Athletic directors will tell you that the reason is twofold. First, the logistics of arranging a football game are difficult, so they’re more comfortable scheduling them a long way out. Also, it’s a matter of supply and demand. ADs see other schools filling their non-conference schedules in future years and start to get nervous if they have open slots.

Unfortunately, this results in games that seemed great when they were made that fall flat when they are played.

The best potential solution was the one the Big Ten and Pac-12 planned in 2011. The concept was similar to the conference-on-conference challenges we see in basketball. It was supposed to begin in 2017, and it would feature all 12 Pac-12 teams playing a rotating group of 12 Big Ten teams. But the idea was called off in 2012 because some Pac-12 school leaders expressed reservations about adding a Big Ten game to their nine-game conference schedule. Stanford and USC—which play Notre Dame every season—could have had exceptionally challenging schedules depending on their Big Ten opponents. The Big Ten decided instead to shift to a nine-game conference schedule.

The challenge format still would work the best if two leagues could agree on parameters. The best method would be to make a long-term scheduling agreement but not assign specific games. If the Pac-12 and Big Ten decided to revive such a deal, the best way to do it would be to schedule home and away dates years out. So the Big Ten could tell its teams that these six teams will get home games and these six teams will have away games in a particular year, and the Pac-12 could tell its teams the same. That way, ADs could budget properly. Then, a year or two before the games are played, conference officials could huddle and make the best matchups. Potential conference title contenders would be matched against one another in the hope of creating the type of wins that can catapult a team to the College Football Playoff. Rebuilding teams would be matched against one another so no bad team had to suffer the indignity of getting smashed and no good team had to take on a blowout win that would do nothing for its playoff résumé.

Guaranteeing the home and away dates years out would be the only way to make ADs agree to these more flexible matchups. Unfortunately, it would require two or more leagues to agree on something.

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