Alabama football is facing a wild card on Saturday
Every team in the SEC is desperate to find someone who can beat Alabama football. While no one has found a consistent solution, there have been plenty of hits or misses. Because of this high standard, teams tend to swing for the fences and take risks.
An example of this was when Mississippi State hired Mike Leach to replace Joe Moorhead. Dan Mullen had built a formidable program in Starkville, and it was important for the Bulldogs to find a strong replacement to continue his success. Moorhead failed to live up to the standard, so they changed directions quickly. They took a risk with Leach after that.
In terms of experience, Leach checked all of the boxes. He had 18 years of experience as a head coach before being hired. 14 of those seasons ended with winning records, and 15 of them ended with a bowl game. However, his unique offensive playstyle was a risk in the SEC. It worked against Pac-12 defenses, but it had not been proven in a defensively sound conference. Leach also relies on a heavy passing game, and Mississippi State plays multiple teams that consistently put defensive backs in the NFL.
Leach is also an eccentric human. He’s known for his strange quotes and stories in press conferences, and it has led to some controversy. He has sent some problematic tweets, and you never know what he is going to say.
Hiring Leach was a swing for the fences, but it has not been a home run. Mississippi State had a 4-7 record last year, and their play has been inconsistent. You can blame their lack of scholarship players for that, but they still failed to perform. It will take time for the Bulldogs to turn things around, but there hasn’t been much to be excited about. Their offense was supposed to be reliable, but it hasn’t been yet. While the passing game is explosive, they’ve only averaged 27.8 points per game.
Does this mean they can’t upset Alabama football on Saturday? No. They are a wild card, and the stars might align once again. After all, they will be playing at home at night. However, the Mike Leach experiment hasn’t lived up to the hype. Unless he finds a way to develop a defense and add more creativity and consistency to the offense, the Bulldogs will be looking for another head coach in the coming years.