If you had to choose either Les Miles or Sam McGuffie in 2008, who would you choose?
A star player can really make a difference to a team, and even carry them through a tough season and lead them to greatness. Look no further than our own Mike Hart to prove how one man can be the special winning ingredient. Texas had Vince Young, Florida has Tebow, and USC had Reggie Bush. Without a doubt, a special athlete can make a program in the short term. No one will argue against the fact that Sam McGuffie is sensational - but if he is a gamebreaking, unstoppable force at the college level remains yet to be seen.
In the long term, a good coach will have the superior impact on a program. Great recruiting, solid coaching, and keeping up excellent relationships with the press keep a great program on a successful trajectory. Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, and Pete Carrol are all examples of how top-notch coaching can bring a program to the top tier of elite college football teams. The question is - is Miles this kind of coach? He has done a very respectable job at LSU - but much of what he needed for success at his post was installed by his predecessor.
My gut says go with McGuffie. There are lots of good coaching candidates around who would do a fantastic job - but that once-in-a-decade recruit comes around only so often.