STARKVILLE — Mike Leach, famous for his viral rants almost as much as his Air Raid offense, is consistent with his takes.
Candy corn? Trash can.
College football playoffs? Expand it to 64.
Kickers? Make your goals on the pitch.
So when the Mississippi State football coach was asked to share marriage advice on Monday, Leach gave the usual advice to quarterback Chance Lovevertich, who proposed to his fiancé after MSU’s win over Memphis.
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“Looks like I’m too late,” Leach began. “…First advice, run away. Just eliminate all the family input, the aggravation, the constant shifting that exists with planning weddings, and the anxiety and pressure that almost drives people to divorce before they even begin.
“The second will be if you’re not going to elope, let’s definitely do it by the week off. You can honeymoon a bit in the week off.
Lovertich set the stage perfectly for his coach’s return to the Pac-12, though that probably wasn’t on his mind when he asked the life-changing question.
Contrary to his opinions, the inconsistency damaged Leach’s reputation as a coach. His huge upsets, like MSU’s victory at Texas A&M last season, are often met by big blunders, like MSU’s loss at Memphis two weeks prior.
The 2017 season, when Leach first went viral for his marriage advice, is a case in point. His Washington State Cougars went 9-4 and were ranked in the AP Poll every week.
Washington State beat a top-five USC team in a 6-0 start, but lost by 34 two weeks later to five wins for Cal. Leach also lost the Apple Cup to a strong Washington side that season – one of his seven losses in eight attempts against the rival.
He can’t worry about trying to get his first Egg Bowl victory just yet, but he could make a move on Saturday by ensuring no unnecessary losses in a brutal 2022 schedule.
He has already defeated Memphis, it is resounding fashion. Now he has to back it up with a trip to Arizona, where FanDuel Sportsbook has Mississippi State as the 11½-point favorite.
“They’re much improved,” Leach said. “The quarterback is the key position for them. They have slick guys who can hurt you. They are great on the offensive line and the defensive line. They had key transfers which I think helped them. It’s a bit unpredictable what they’re going to do because their defensive staff have never been together before.
The biggest transfer addition for the Wildcats is Jayden from Laura.
The former Washington State quarterback signed on to play for Leach in 2019, three months before he left for MSU. Leach complemented Laura’s accuracy, efficiency and competitiveness to get rid of the ball, feet and competitiveness.
It’s a bigger challenge than expected when the Wildcats finished 1-11 last season, but the gap is where it is for a reason. Mississippi State is an SEC school expecting a step up from its seven-win season. Arizona is a Pac-12 team hoping to reach bowl eligibility.
Fresh off a contract extension with one of the most experienced teams in the country at his disposal, the excuses won’t be there. He can’t be wedded to his reputation for inconsistency.
Stefan Krajisnik is the Mississippi State drummer for the Clarion Ledger. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @skrajisnik3.