College Football: Mike Leach Misses Out On Maryland...Where Will He End Up?

Eddie DzurillaCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2011

College Football: Mike Leach Misses Out On Maryland...Where Will He End Up?

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    That sound you hear is that of the pirate, ensconced in his Key West lair as he plots his return to pillage the college ranks.  Unfortunately for him, his attempts have been stymied as of late.

    Last fall I wrote of ten programs that could take on the services of Mike Leach in 2011, given the shaky status of their current captains.  Several have, indeed, cast away their coaches on to the shores of Loser Island. 

    Indiana, Vanderbilt, Minnesota and Maryland have all gotten new leadership as of late, but have spurned the services of Leach.  Maryland, in particular, was close to getting the swashbuckler on board but instead decided instead to raid UConn for Randy Edsall.

    So much for bold moves.

    Some other coaches walking a short plank have managed to coax themselves back on board via decent seasons, including the helmsmen at UTEP, Syracuse, Texas A&M and Louisville.

    So, now that his hat and eye patch are definitely back in the ring, might Leach end up in 2011.  Let’s take a look at ten possibilities.

# 10 New Mexico

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    The Lobo’s stink.  Mike Locksley has gone 2-22 over the past two years.

    But that’s not all.  Locksley has been involved in several off field altercations, and continues to give the school a black eye.

    Attendance is plummeting, and the fans and alumni have just about given up.

    Leach would seem to be a good solution, and definitely know the area from his days at Tech.  One problem however…moolah.

    Lack of it.

    New Mexico apparently does not have enough money to buy out Locksley’s contract.  Given that the pirate left Tech because of a dispute over sheckles (you didn’t really think it was about some shed, did ya?) the chances of him in Lobo land are slim.

    But they could sure use him.

#9 New Mexico State

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    When you have a two win season and your highlight is a 2 point win over putrid in state rival New Mexico, things are not looking good.  But then, this is New Mexico State…where things have never really looked good.  They are one of the all time losing teams playing BCS/D1 football over the last 50 years.

    So could Leach, with his run and gun style, get some success here?  Fan expectations are low, the area is already known for tolerating eccentric personalities, and the weather sure fits throwing the ball around.  And with the watered down WAC losing Hawaii, Fresno State, Boise State and Nevada, a conference championship could be thar fer the pluckin’, givin’ Leach some booty.  Current coach Dewayne Walker seems safe, but hey…two wins is two wins.

    And they are not running out of money like their cross state rivals.

# 8 Rice

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    Leach is a renowned smarty pants, with interests in history, piracy and a juris doctorate to his name.

    Rice is ground zero for smarty pants in Texas.  As a matter of fact, Harvard calls itself “the Rice of the North”.

    So could Leach be a good fit in a smart pants school with smarty pants kids running his smarty pants offense?

    Coming off a 4-8 record and competing in Conference USA, Rice could use an upgrade.  They are the type of school that could tolerate Leach, have decent facilities (their home stadium seats over 65,000, a legacy of their glory days in the SWC), and are located in a great recruiting area.

    Leach always had teams that graduated in the top ten nationally at Tech, so maybe recruiting for a school with great academics would be right up his alley.  And, French pirate Jean Claude Lafitte was rumored to have treasure buried at Galveston, only 50 minutes or so from the Rice campus in downtown Houston.

    Yar, matey.

#7 Stanford

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    Rich Rod’s made a big ol’ mess of the once proud maize and blue, culminating in an embarrassing can of whup ass being opened up on them by arch rival Ohio State in a 37-7 loss in the last regular game of the season, followed by a 52-14 bowl debacle against a middlin’ SEC Mississippi State team.

    Exit, stage right, Rich Rod.  Enter, stage left, Jim Harbaugh, former Michigan quarterback who has turned around the Stanford program. 

    Which means the Cardinal will need a new coach.

    Leach might be a good fit at this, another cerebral institution.  The PAC has always been kind of pass happy anyways and he would be in a BCS conference.  He might even not mind that dopey ass tree that they use for a mascot.

    By the way, it was kinda cool seeing all the famous Stanford alums on the sidelines when the beat the tar out of Virginny Tech in the Orange Bowl…Condoleza Rice, John Elway, Jim Plunket.  Wonder where ol’ Tiger Woods was?

#6 Duke

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    Everyone around Duke is saying that Coach David Cutliff is safe, since he’s “turned the program around” and they are “no longer pushovers”.

    They went 3-9 last year.

    If Duke wants to do something each fall other than yearn for the start of hoops season, they might be thinking of jazzing up their program with a high profile hire.  A guy like Leach.

    The Dukies offer the advantages of being in a BCS conference and in a good recruiting area, and have good support for the program.  If Leach could smooze the Dukie alum like he did the Tech fans, and get some 7-5 and 8-4 seasons like he did at Tech, he could be coach for life there.

# 5 Pitt

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    Has the Pitt coach stopped beating his girlfriend, yes or no?

    Wow…what a cluster.  First they get rid of a died in the wool Panther who has had a decent amount of success and who the entire team wanted to keep.  Then they replace him with a guy who spends his first news conference talking about making the team wear ties and other disciplinary stuff.

    Then the new coach manages to get himself arrested on domestic abuse charges…wonder if he had his suit and tie on during that escapade?

    Pitt has a long and storied history, with such players such as Ditka, Dorsett, Marino.  They continue to land plenty of talent, as evidenced by the number of Pitt players who go on to the NFL.

    Leach might be a little weird, but he certainly won’t get himself arrested for wife beating or DWI’s and other dumb ass stuff.  And his program at Tech always maintained academic integrity…important to a University that is proud of its academic standing. 

    So could Leach be the coach who would lead Pitt to its first national championship since 1976?

#4 Cincinnati

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    Cincy built a lot of momentum under former coach Brian Kelly, winning back to back Big East titles and appearing in big time bowl games.  They’d like to continue that.

    Last year, however, first year coach Butch Jones, despite a decent amount of talent on the roster, slumped to 4-8.

    Cincy, like Texas Tech, will always have to scratch for talent, given that Ohio State and Michigan are the big guns in the region…with Pitt and West Virginia also making forays into the area.  So having a guy like Leach who knows how to grab the diamond in the rough would seem to be in the schools interest.

    For the pirate, Cincy offers a BCS program with good support in a decent sized media market and recruiting territory.  Talent wise, the Bearcats have a fair amount already in house and definitely already like to throw the ball around.  So Leach might make a good fit here.

#3 Connecticut

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    Randy Edsall has just left the Huskies for the greener pastures of…Maryland?  Go figure.

    He built a program centered on a conservative running game, decent defense and good line backers, and grabbing a bunch of talent from Florida.

    So bringing Leach in here would entail a change of direction for the offense.  Other than that, it makes a lot of sense.

    The money and support are there, with a shiny new stadium and BCS status.  The school could use a good recruiter like Leach.  His system would make the most out of the two and three star recruits that UConn generally gets.

    And Hartford is the insurance capital of the world.  Insurance is essentially legalized piracy, so they would be right in tune with ol’ Mike. 

    Polly wanna cracker?

# 2 Washington State

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    In three years, had coach Paul Wulff has gone 5-32.  This past season they finished 2-10.

    People keep saying that the Cougars are improving.

    I’ll repeat.  5-32; 2-10 in 2010.

     Washington State is a lot like Tech.  Out at the edge of the conference.  On the high plains.  A legacy of utilizing the passing game.  Competing against better known and respected brand name competitors.  And in a BCS conference.

    By being out on the eastern plains of Washington, Leach might have the lee way he needs to run the program the way he wants to.  Lord knows they need a winner.  And what past success the Cougars have had has come from ramping up the passing game (remember Ryan Leaf)

    So the Cougars might take a chance and get Leach in to run the program.  Why?

    Repeat after me.  5-32.  2-10.

#1 Colorado

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    Leach left the big 12 last year.  Colorado followed him out the door this year, and will now be a PAC school.

    It’s been a while since the Buffs have put a decent team on the field.  Dan Hawkins was just terrible as coach there after garnering great success at Boise State.  And the Buffs do have a decent amount of talent on stock. 

    The Buff’s could use an offensive injection in general, and hippie-dippie Boulder would definitely fit Leach’s style. 

    Whoa dude, you're like so gnarly offensive.  What a goof.

    And hey, the Buff’s in the Rose Bowl has a nice ring to it.