Be careful what you wish for, right? We say, instead: Boldly wish for a miracle!
Less than two weeks ago in this space, we wrote of Washington State University football’s Mike Leach: “Let him go to another school the next time those ‘rumors’ (probably started by Leach himself) arise. The Cougars can do better than this.”
Well, two years after the University of Tennessee almost lured him away, the Mississippi State Bulldogs have done the stupid: They hired Leach away from WSU, and the Cougs should celebrate that they’re off the hook for millions in wasted—and guaranteed—salary.
The smallest school in the Pacific-12 Conference can now go after a young(er), truly innovative head coach to serve the very loyal fan base in Pullman, and WSU is spared the embarrassment of the boorish bully who really can’t coach a lick.
Some Cougs are lamenting the loss of Leach, pointing out how his four winning seasons in eight years at WSU are an improvement from the previous regime, which won just nine games in four seasons.
But come on … giving a guy credit for being better than the last guy (who was clearly dead on arrival) isn’t a good comparison. It’s like praising a cook for not burning a meal, just because the last chef did burn it.
And sure, Leach got the Cougars to five straight bowl games, a school record—but that’s not saying much in an era when almost 70 teams make bowl games every season. Besides, we all know how Leach schedules small schools for cheap wins in order to get bowl eligible. He’s been doing it his whole career, dating back to his time with Texas Tech.
Leach’s inability to adjust his coaching style will doom him in the backwater of Mississippi State when it comes to “winning” in the SEC. Sure, he will probably schedule cupcakes for four easy victories a year as soon as possible—it’s his pattern—but his one-trick offense will get shredded often, just as the it did in seven straight Apple Cup defeats by an average margin of 21.3 points per game.
Remember, B1G championship-winning coach Bret Bielema couldn’t win at Arkansas, so there’s little chance Leach—a guy that has never won a conference title in his career, despite several situations where he could have—will find any meaningful success in the SEC. It will be fun for Cougs fans watching him stink from afar.
WSU should be celebrating, and with names like Alex Grinch, Jim McElwain, and Nick Rolovich being floated as possible successors in Pullman, the future is much brighter now in the Palouse than it was in 2019.
Miracles really do come true.