Why Mike Leach can't be married to Mississippi State losing game it shouldn't at Arizona

STARKVILLE — Mike Leach, famous for his viral rants almost as much as his Air Raid offense, is consistent with his takes.

Candy corn? Trash.

College Football Playoff? Expand it to 64.

Kickers? Make your field goals.

So when the Mississippi State football coach was asked Monday to share wedding advice, Leach gave the usual tips to third-string quarterback Chance Lovertich, who proposed to his fiancé after MSU’s win against Memphis.

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“It sounds like I’m too late,” Leach started. “…First advice, elope. Just eliminate all the family input, aggravation, constant change of course that exists with planning weddings and the anxiety and pressure that almost drives people to divorce before they even start.

“The second will be if you’re not going to elope, let’s get it done certainly by the off week. You can honeymoon it up a little bit during the off week.”

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Lovertich set the scene for his coach’s return to the Pac-12 perfectly, though that likely wasn’t in mind when asking the life-changing question.

Unlike his opinions, inconsistency has hurt Leach’s reputation as a coach. His enormous upsets, such as MSU’s win at Texas A&M last season, are often met by great blunders, such as MSU’s loss at Memphis two weeks prior.

The 2017 season, when Leach first went viral for his wedding advice, is a fitting example. His Washington State Cougars went 9-4 and were ranked in the AP poll every week.

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach talks to reporters after the NCAA college football team's practice Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Mississippi State coach Mike Leach talks to reporters after the NCAA college football team's practice Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Washington State took down a top-five USC team as part of a 6-0 start, but lost by 34 two weeks later against five-win Cal. Leach also lost the Apple Cup to a solid Washington team that season – one of his seven losses in eight attempted against the rival.

He can’t worry about trying to get his first Egg Bowl win yet, but he could take a step Saturday in securing no unnecessary losses in a brutal 2022 schedule.

He already defeated Memphis in resounding fashion. Now he has to back it up with a trip to Arizona, where FanDuel Sportsbook has Mississippi State as an 11½-point favorite.

“They’re much improved,” Leach said. “Quarterback is the key position for them. They have some skill guys that can hurt you. They’re big on the offensive line and the defensive line. They’ve had some key transfers that I think help them out. It’s a little unpredictable what they’re going to do because their defensive staff hasn’t been together before.”

The biggest transfer addition for the Wildcats is Jayden de Laura.

The former Washington State quarterback committed to play for Leach in 2019, three months before he left for MSU. Leach complemented de Laura’s accuracy, efficiency in getting rid of the ball, feet and competitiveness.

It’s a greater challenge than expected when the Wildcats finished 1-11 last season, but the spread is where it is for a reason. Mississippi State is an SEC school expecting a step forward 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 nation’s most experienced teams at his disposal, the excuses won’t be there. He can’t be married to his reputation of inconsistency.

Stefan Krajisnik is the Mississippi State beat writer for the Clarion Ledger. Contact him at skrajisnik@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @skrajisnik3

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Why Mississippi State football, Mike Leach can't afford loss at Arizona