Where Will The Mike Leach Appear Next?

September 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

So we are 4 weeks into the college football season, which means that teams’ trends can and have been discovered and fates determined, all done with 100% certainty. Until next week. Then we’ll be certain.

The fan-bases of some schools have been satisfied with expected success (Ohio State, Oregon, Boise State), others giddy/cautious at the overachievement (Michigan, LSU), and furthermore teams have begun the despondent spiraling death march of the Early Season Loss (Georgia). Let’s go live to the chopper over South Bend:

In all of the froth and perfervid emotion of the moment, however, we seem to have lost sight of The Ultimate Question: Where in the world is Mike Leach going to land? Currently a commentator for CBS Sports (I have no visual proof of this, but the Internet assures me this is the case), once his lawsuit’s done you know he wants back in. So, where is our favorite Geronimo-enthusiast going to pitch his teepee? Where is Calico Mike going to harbor his ship? Surely this is the time for rash speculation!

Here are a couple of qualities I think we’ll need to keep in mind in our search for his next home:

A little cash. Mike Leach is an unemployed man, but shame on you if you thought that meant he is an unproud man. His previous salary was around $1.8m, and to think he’s going to wander into some higher learning establishment for peanuts, well let’s just say “HAHA GOOD ONE NEW MEXICO.

BCS Conference. A slight restatement of the previous quality, but it’s important to remember Leach is not gonna June Jones it and flee to the MAC, MWC, or Conference USA for straight $. Once you taste of the bowl committee’s honey, nothing ever else tastes as sweet. (Aside: I seriously considered adding “and not The Big East” to this one, but I could see Leach taking on the challenge of ruling that pile of fail just for research purposes.)

Tradition. I’ll grant you that if you go far enough back, every school has a tradition of winning (I mean, University of Chicago once had a quality squad. It’s true, look it up). But what we’ll be looking for is a school that has had some success in the past 3 decades and has fallen on harder times. 3 decades because that’s enough of a time period that the alumni and fans who remember victory are still alive and active. Memories, of course, are a perfect fuel for

Desperation. Rightly or wrongly, Mike Leach has a bit of a stain on his resume at the moment (the correct answer is “wrongly”) and it’s going to raise eyebrows at whatever place his name is mentioned. The perfect antidote to such eyebrow raising is of course panic and desperation. Or lack of shame. That would explain the New Mexico thing. Bonus point: if the school has made a recent hire and is increasingly worried that they biffed it, they too under the guise of Desperation might drop the last hire in the hopes that the program isn’t too scathed by the misstep. I am in no way talking about Cincinnati and Butch Jones.

So, with our boundaries and hurdles set, let’s begin the Great Hunt.

Big 12

Colorado – This is a damn strong start. A strong tradition of excellence (Nat’l Championship in the past 2 decades), a soon-to-be conference improvement, and a pissed off fanbase that has blown out it’s rage-o-meter a few years ago and now resides in Apathyville. Rumors ’round here in Denver almost had Dan Hawkins getting fired mid-year if he had lost to Hawaii. Former players, rich alumni, all are furious at the man and are drumming up a war fund to have him drummed outta town the day after they get demolished by Nebraska.

Texas Tech – I can dream that the world is just, right? I can dream that Tuberville will fall on his face in his first year and that Leach, who most TT fans would happily have back can waltz back to Lubbock the returning hero? No, this is never happening.

Big East

Cincinnati- OK, I lied: I was talking about Butch Jones and Cincinnati before. Yes, it is his first year at the school, and yes, for their fan-base to be desperate would first require Cincy to have fans, but still: it’s only a short drive down I-71 to Louisville, and Cincinnati can still smell the charred remains from the Kragthorpe-ocalypse in the air. And having Brian Kelly and being good, man, was awesome.

Pac-10

Washington State – Just seeing if you were paying attention. Notachance. The Boys of Pullman have a great thing going on in Nowhere, WA and are proud of their 3-4 wins/year grow operation. Mike Price’s success was an unfortunate mistake that the Cougars never plan on making again.

SEC

Georgia – I will freely admit to knowing roughly %.002 of the things about Georgia football that a T Kyle King or a Doug Gillett do. I will also freely admit that I am including UGA as a prospective Leach Landing because (1) I can sorta see this actually happening*, and (2) anyone who says that they aren’t titillated by the idea of Leach v. Urban/Leach v. Johnson/Leach v. Saban is a damn liar and shouldn’t be trusted with your kids.

*Willing to be proven totally wrong and smacked down for this. I have no opinion on Mark Richt, whether he should stay or go.

Big 10

Illinois – Another strong one. Big 10 dollars, a moribund team (we need to change the acutal term to Zookibund). As far as tradition: have you forgotten Kurt Kittner? Never forget Kurt Kittner. Why, if it weren’t for Rohan Davey, Ron Turner would still be riding the Illini Juggernaut to consecutive Big 10 titles! The problem more has to do with the dearth of Illini football fans. They’re a basketball school, no one can change that. You know who else is an Illini alum? Tim Brewster, which brings us to

Minnesota – oh, papa likes. New stadium that is currently full of some of the shittiest football this side of NAIA? Check. Recent memories of bowl games? Check* BCS? Check. Would anyone begrudge the Gophers, in the wake of Tim Brewster (no need to add ‘-calypse’ or ‘-gate-‘, for his name is synonymous with these things already), for them to take a flyer on Mike Leach. No, no one would. The guy’s won everywhere he’s been, he’d be given enough of a leash and peace-and-quiet to build up a program, and the upper-Midwestern passion for the game, which is fervent yet bound by chains of decorum and etiquette, is much more compatible with the Mad Scientist than the tribalistic voodoo-and-omerta-making tastes of Texans.

So my frontrunner for Leach is the frozen plains of the Great North. Who knows? Maybe he’ll get into vikings or Norse mythology or find a way for humanity to finally defeat Brett Favre!

* That might be the strongest damnation against Brewster: people are longing for Glen Mason! Somewhere right now Mason brain is sizzling with revenge-joy and schadenfreude. His mouth will translate that into him murmuring “win some, lose some” as he quietly stacks his wife’s doilies for her next coffee klatch.

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