Head coach Mike Leach of the Washington State Cougars looks on trailing 39-36 to the USC Trojans during the fourth quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
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Mississippi State reportedly had interest in Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge, who took the New York Giants job. He taught a class at Washington State a year ago about football and combat. After finishing 11-2 in 2018, Washington State was 6-7 this year and closed the season with a loss to Air Force in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Prior to Leach's arrival, Wazzu did not appear in a bowl game for eight straight seasons and had won just nine games in four years under previous coach Paul Wulff. He produced a similar turnaround at Texas Tech, taking the Red Raiders to bowl games in all 10 seasons. Leach's teams are annually among the nation's leaders in passing yards and total offense. It immediately gives Mississippi State an identity and national intrigue, which the school developed during Dan Mullen's tenure there but has mostly lacked for generations. The hires should make for an entertaining Egg Bowl for the foreseeable future.
Leach's new job also comes with an immediate, if not unusual, home-field advantage. Ole Miss introduced Lane Kiffin as its new head coach in December. Between them: one roll of toilet paper.