The devil went down to . . . Louisiana?

With Halloween just around the corner, the hobgoblins of the gridiron are up to mischief and mayhem.

The SEC West is getting all the treats: No. 4 Auburn and No. 6 LSU stand alone and undefeated, heading into their matchup this weekend with identical and pristine 7-0 records.

Based on performances thus far, Auburn should emerge victorious. After all, two of LSU’s victories have been of the mind-boggling, no-freaking-way sort: Coach Les Miles‘ egregious clock mismanagement vs. Tennessee was absolved only because LSU got a game-winning, last-second do-over. And the Tigers’ triumph over Florida was the result of a last-minute Miles-engineered trick play.

Les Miles: A deal with the devil?

Contrast Miles’ luck with the recent misfortunes of Florida and Tennessee, as well as the decades-long woes of my University of South Carolina, and it’s easy to see why some are saying the LSU coach made a deal with the devil.

Miles — who’s been called the Mad Hatter for his, shall we say, devil-may-care coaching style — apparently has something hidden beneath his ball cap: a contract with Old Scratch himself.

Steve Spurrier, on the other hand . . .

When the devil’s done with Les Miles, perhaps USC’s Steve Spurrier should sign up for Beelzebub’s draft. After all, nothing else seems to be working: Miles has been able to pull off numerous, sweet-fancy-Moses miracles, but Spurrier’s fourth-quarter play-calling hasn’t produced the same results.

Carolina looked to have the SEC East in the bag — until last weekend, when the Head Ball Coach went for the win instead of an almost-sure-thing field goal that would have sent the ‘Cocks game with Kentucky into overtime.

After the game, Spurrier had this to say: “We can’t, as they say, put a nail in the coffin. We can’t do it. I really don’t know why.”

Well, perhaps a bit of introspection is in order.

Sure, our handsome quarterback Stephen Garcia has had his ups and downs (and our special teams weren’t very special in the loss to Kentucky). But let’s face it, Coach Spurrier is no Les Miles when it comes to saving his team from fourth-quarter death.

The truth is, Coach Spurrier shares the blame for both of USC’s 2010 losses: First, he had a conniption late in the Auburn game and benched Garcia in favor of an inexperienced freshman who threw two interceptions. Then there was the wasted time out with just seconds to go vs. Kentucky that telegraphed his intent to go for the end zone — combined with an ill-fated toss to a redshirt freshman with two career catches.

Nails in the coffin? It’s time for everyone to grab a hammer.

The Broken Heart Meter

Holding back the tears at 7.5. The SEC East was ours for the taking. We didn’t take it. But hope lives on . . .



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