College football season won’t start for another 3 months, but we’re overdue for a check up on the resident idiot that inspired this blog (sort of). So, how is good ol’ Mike Leach doing this offseason down in Starkville, MS? Well, the great news (for him) is that he hasn’t made any off-the-field headlines this year … yet. So, what about the forecast for his overrated brain this fall?
Let’s see where the Mississippi State Bulldogs reside in those “way too early” Top 25 lists:
The Athletic: Not in the Top 30, as 8 other SEC teams made the list.
ESPN: Not in the Top 25, as 7 other SEC teams made the list.
CBS Sports: Not in the Top 25, as 6 other SEC teams made the list.
FOX Sports: Not in the Top 25, as 6 other SEC teams made the list.
Sports Illustrated: Ranked 12th, as 7 other SEC teams also made the list.
The Sporting News: Not in the Top 25, as 7 other SEC teams made the list.
USA Today: Not in the Top 25, as 6 other SEC teams made the list.
Yahoo! Sports: Not in the Top 34, as 7 other SEC teams made the list.
NCAA.com: Not in the Top 25, as 6 other SEC teams made the list.
The average there is … what? No. 26, and that’s assuming Mississippi State would be the “next” team in each ranking, which is highly unlikely. Leach makes $5M a year, and he’s halfway through his four-year deal, signed when he left Washington State after the 2019 season. We suspected Leach wouldn’t make it to Year 4 of this deal. We may be right. He hasn’t impressed enough yet for a contract extension.
And, even SI‘s outlier ranking came with a huge caveat: “Every preseason Top 25 rankings have one surprise team, and this appears to be it. Will Rogers returns as one of the SEC’s most productive quarterbacks in an offense suited to his skill set, but the Bulldogs face arguably the toughest schedule in college football. Don’t be surprised if Mississippi State doesn’t win a game in October or most of November.”
If that happens, Leach will get kicked to the curb, for sure. Stay tuned; it’s going to be a fun fall to watch Leach flail away like he often does when facing the real competition inside his own conference. He has an 11-13 record in two years, although the Covid year of 2020 can be tossed out the window. So, he went 7-6 last year with an embarrassing Liberty Bowl loss. Is that what $5M buys you in the SEC?
Time will tell.