Les Miles is head coach at LSU, a highly successful program with a recent national championship under its belt and the January scalp of the last good Fighting Irish squad. It was in a squeaker against upstart division rival Ole Miss on Saturday, and found itself down 2 points with only a couple seconds left on the clock. LSU could have tried to rush out the field goal team to win it, or alternatively they could snap the ball and take a shot at the end zone since they might not be able to switch out 11 dudes before the clock ran out (no time outs left).
Instead, the quarterback tried to spike the ball with 1 second left to stop the clock, but the clock beat him to the punch, and the game was over before LSU got to make their final play. Miles, incensed, gives a press conference calling out his QB in front of God and everybody for trying to clock the ball and criticizing what was unquestionably a poor decision.
Only problem is one TV network had a camera on the field facing Coach Miles at the critical moment, repeatedly giving his QB the signal to spike the ball:
Of course, Miles won't suffer any repercussions for this sort of thing as long as LSU keeps generally winning, which at 8-3 and facing unranked Arkansas at home next week, probably means Miles will be safe for quite some time.
The lesson here is the same as the lesson currently being taught in South Bend. Jack Swarbrick says that winning "also" matters along with graduation rates and other such tripe, but the truth is that winning is all that matters, whether at a lowly football/party school like LSU or the austere, Gothic heights of Notre Dame. Charlie can boast high grad rates and all the rest, as could Willingham, but they were (or will be) unceremoniously canned on the basis of one statistic alone, in the same way that Les Miles can display all the poor judgment and cowardice he wants and will still get paid millions by the state of Louisiana as long as the tigers keep smoking their opponents in January bowls.
And let's stop kidding ourselves: if ND's next coach lets his kids make terrible grades, has a bad attitude, recruits a bunch of drug dealers and rapists, and makes an ass of himself on television but the Irish beat USC on their way to the National Championship Game, his job will be as safe as Jenkins'. This and previous athletic directors have more than amply shown that the alumni and ticketholders make the final call, and they only care about the W's.