Jul 26, 2013; Culver City, CA, USA; Washington State outside linebacker Elliott Bosch, head coach Mike Leach and defensive back Deone Bucannon speak to the media during PAC-12 media day held at the Sony Studios Lot. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Spokesman Review and Cougar beat-writer Jacob Thorpe apparently did some digging this week about Washington State’s chances of being selected by a few different bowls.
Before we get to that, his must-read article (found HERE) also talks about Leach comments towards the Sark hiring and his thoughts on whether or not WSU indeed gets an invite, along with some bowl practice notes and an interesting thought on a second position coach that could get an interesting call to leave Pullman.
Back to the original point really quick (or not really quick). The article is interesting on all counts in regards to the “Leach factor.” First, what is it?
"One of Moos’ pitches to bowl games has been that, if the bowl in questions is located in or near Texas, that the so-called “Mike Leach factor” would come into place. The theory holds that Texas Tech fans who were more supportive of Leach than the TTU administration during the coach’s controversial departure from the school would be likely to pay close attention to the game, and perhaps even attend. The director of the New Mexico Bowl seemed skeptical of the theory, while the folks at the Heart of Dallas Bowl seemed to give it a little more weight."
You can also see the statement that the Texas Bowl sent Thorpe directly in the article on their thoughts toward the matter.
I see the Mike Leach factor from both sides of the equation. His fans are sure to pay attention, but actual attendance would likely be more geared toward match-up than close proximity. After all, watching Leach on tv might be the best way to save for the Texas Tech Bowl game. Heck depending on the schedule, Tech fans might already be at their own bowl site! Unfortunately WSU vs TTech isn’t an option, otherwise the bowl(s) would be all over that for a lot of obvious reasons!
Still, a Texas Bowl with WSU vs Mich would be a terrific sell with the emphasis on match-up generating interest from the Texas-Leach fans, as would WSU vs Minnesota. An SMU loss this weekend combined with an at large BCS berth from Okie St. or Baylor could sew up the opportunity for a match-up like that and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a second Pac-12/Big Ten bowl game.
Of course the WSU vs Michigan intrigue dates all the way back to the 1998 Rose Bowl. Much more on this if the match-up happens. WSU vs Minnesota would be an intriguing match-up as well, two up-and-coming teams with hungry fan bases and the coaching stories of Leach and Jerry Kill would be an amazing ticket.
Washington State vs North Texas seems to be a popular thought for the Heart of Dallas Bowl and could generate some “Leach factor” excitement, maybe drawing some rival UNT fans to the stadium. And of course the New Mexico Bowl reps might get a WSU vs Boise State, Colorado State or Fresno State shot.
Leach vs Peterson or vs a 1-loss Fresno could carry some intrigue, especially looking for the upset to happen for publicity. Of course if it comes down to having to bypass the closeness of Arizona and viability of Ka’Deem Carey, that might be tough to do also. Oregon State really isn’t much of a threat to WSU in our estimation here.
Overall the Leach factor could definitely come into play if the right match-up is available and there are a few that would be intriguing. But from what Thorpe gathered there wasn’t a whole lot of weight to it from the bowl reps. At least not at this time. The New Mexico Bowl reps seemed the least interested in the “Leach factor” but seem to be very intrigued by Washington State all the same.
NM could probably use a potentially explosive, pass happy offense to come in for an old-fashioned shootout with Boise or Fresno, that could be fun.
Come Sunday the scenario could be different, depending on what plays out over this final weekend of college football.