Les Miles started Oklahoma State's push to prominence, energizing the program for takeoff to the elevated status it enjoys today.
Inheriting a team short on talent and broken in spirit, Miles flipped a switch, creating pride and swagger — and wins — with the Cowboys averaging eight wins over his final three seasons, all resulting in bowl trips.
What if Miles had never left, choosing to stay in Stillwater instead of bolting for the Bayou?
And sources have always maintained that's not at all a reach, that Miles was locked in for an extension, before a final few details killed the deal, leading him to LSU.
So, what if Miles had stayed?
What would have become of the Cowboys?
Of the Tigers and their place among college football's elite as an SEC power?
Obviously, things turned out OK for OSU, with Mike Gundy taking the program into the previously unchartered territory of BCS relevance, Big 12 prominence and the greatest stretch of winning in school history.
Still, Miles was good for OSU. And he's been good for LSU, and in turn the SEC.
“He's such a positive guy,” former Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken, an assistant under Miles at OSU and LSU, said a year ago. “He would look at our team (at OSU) and I really think he believed in every game we went into, we could win. And I looked at him like he was crazy. I looked at our team sometimes like, ‘There's no damn way.'
“But in his mind, he believed in the guys and the coaches that we had assembled. Even when he went to LSU, I thought that was a big strength in the way he handled the team and he handled the coaches.”