Washington State head coach Mike Leach is always good for a few money quotes, whether it be talking about his own team or saying that a certain conference in the Southeastern portion of the nation needs to pick it up on offense.
So, with Leach speaking at Pac-12 Media Days on Thursday, it is no surprise that, when the subject of the SEC came up in a question, he was there to voice his opinion. Surprisingly, though, he liked a certain scheduling technic that the conference enacts during the regular season.
Leach was asked about the SEC taking a week break from conference play in November and the practice of usually playing an overmatched team. The sixth year coach of the Cougars agreed with the idea.
“I think it’s very smart by the SEC, and I think it’s a lesson we can learn from the SEC,” Leach said. “I think there is a lot of kind of figurative muscle flexing that goes on with regard to how many conference games and who plays who and who they play non-conference, and all this chest beating is kind of — quite overrated.”
The so-called “cupcake games” are spotted on many SEC schedules, with conference teams playing the likes of Louisiana-Monroe, Mercer, and UAB.
To Leach, those games are not as critical as walking away with the conference title.
“I think it’s important to win your conference. I think as a result of that, I think the SEC laughs all the way to the bank. And I think other conferences would be able to laugh a little louder if we learned some of those things.”
He has a point, as the last SEC champion to not play in either the BCS National Championship Game or earn a spot in the College Football Playoff was following the 2005 season, when a 9-2 Georgia team beat undefeated LSU in the title game in Atlanta.
As for now, Leach’s team will play its three non-conference games in the first four weeks and close with eight straight Pac-12 opponents.
When someone like Leach is agreeing with the SEC, his own conference might want to pay attention.