Which do you like better, Christmas or Coaching Carousel Season?
Luckily, one is already in full swing and the other is right around the corner, but I love me some hirings and firings more than just about anything in the world. College football fans are so dedicated and ravenous that there is no greater joy in their lives than having a bad coach fired and getting a brand new addition to their family thanks to several million dollars and three courtesy cars.
But the best news about new coaches in new places is that they can totally change the framework of how an entire conference works. That kind of wackiness is exactly what I love so much about the Pac-12’s two newest family members — Washington State hiring Mike Leach and Arizona hiring Rich Rodriguez is about to make the Pac-12 a whole lot more fun.
First of all, Leach and Rodriguez will bring two explosive offensive minds into the conference, and that’s an exciting prospect. The Pac-12 already has five of the nation’s top 25 offenses — and two of the top 10 (Oregon and Stanford) — so just imagine what it will be like to have Leach and Rodriguez added to that mix.
Rodriguez was the guy who turned West Virginia into a two-time BCS bowl winner by finding guys like Steve Slaton, Pat White and Noel Devine, and Leach’s Texas Tech quarterbacks routinely threw for more than 5,000 yards a year. When you add them to the conference’s already potent offensive minds, I get excited just thinking about it.
Can you imagine the box scores that look like something out of NCAA ‘12? Can you see the scores that look like they came from a basketball game instead? The Pac-12 will be like the Anti-SEC!
But secondly, and more importantly, Rodriguez and Leach will bring their two unique (and somewhat bizarre) personalities to the conference — something that should be significantly more exciting for the fans than the imminent offensive explosion.
Simply put, there is no better thing for any football team than a coach who loves to stir the pot and talk trash.
For example, a Stanford fan’s mind should turn directly to former head coach Jim Harbaugh, who not only took the Cardinal from an also-ran to one of the baddest teams in the country, but shook up conference supremacy by bad-mouthing USC and getting into a tiff with Trojan head coach Pete Carroll. How much better did that make the conference? Infinitely better. Immeasurably better. The same thing is true in the NFL — Jets head coach Rex Ryan has made the entire league more fun to watch by always running his mouth about anybody and everybody. So getting Rodriguez and Leach into the Pac-12 in one hiring season is like hitting the jackpot.
For example, Rodriguez LOVES to cry during press conferences, and that could make for some entertaining and awkward moments during Pac-12 media days. But Leach will bring a new level of weirdness to the conference that has never been seen before.
He’s obsessed with the history of pirates because he thinks pirates would make great football players.
“Pirates function as a team,” Leach once said. “There were a lot of castes and classes in England at the time. But with pirates, it didn’t matter if you were black, white, rich or poor. The object was to get a treasure. If the captain did a bad job, you could just overthrow him.”
He once said his Texas Tech team lost to Texas A&M because, “As coaches, we failed to make our coaching points more compelling to the players than their fat little girlfriends.”
He once dispensed dating advice to a Texas Tech freshman by telling the starry-eyed youngster to take a girl on a date to a steakhouse — because the girl will be forced to eat in front of you, which girls hate to do, so they will have to “conversate and show their true self.”
Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up — but isn’t that much better than a coach who does nothing but dispense cliches?
So get excited, Pac-12 football fans — I know I am — for a new era of quirky quotes and nonstop offense, because it’s about to take the West Coast by storm. As long as someone doesn’t get locked inside a storage shed again, that is.
Jack Blanchat aspires to one day be both a pirate and a head football coach, and he doesn’t mean working at Eastern Carolina or Tampa Bay. Send him some more practical and less dangerous job options at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jmblanchat.