Mike Leach Pushes for 'Mainstream' 64-Team College Football Playoff
You can look at his career choice after graduating law school, or his fascination with pirates, and, of course, his wacky offensive system.
So go figure when it comes to his stance on a college football playoff. Leach has long been an advocate of some type of playoff system in Division I-A football to determine the national champion.
But Wednesday, the final day of the Big 12 media days, the unorthodox coach rolled out at plan for how he thinks a playoff system at the college game's highest level should be executed. He suggested a 64-team playoff, similar to the NCAA basketball tournament.
The plan? Reduce the current 12-game regular season to 10 games so that the two teams that eventually make it to the title game play just 16 games in a season.
"Texas High School state champions, 16 games," Leach said. "Division II champions, 16 games. Division III, depending because some those guys will fudge on a game, 15 or 16 games. NFL, the old guys, even more than that. Everybody thinks I went into a cave and carved all this out.
"If we played 16 games, that would be great. I would guarantee everybody 12 games."
Leach said the only reason college presidents and other administrators balk at a playoff is because of resistance to change. Most college coaches favor a playoff. But there has been a long tradition of postseason bowl games and in recent years the Bowl Championship Series has identified the national champion after a single bowl game.
College presidents have long said they would like to keep the tradition of the bowls. Apparently Leach's system would allow them to remain.
"I think the bowls need to be an important part of a future playoff system which I hope comes about," Leach said. "I don't know if it will.
"The thing that always interest me on this is there is a lot of 'Oh my God, this has never been done. I've never heard of such a thing. How can you suggest this? This has never happened in college football and on and on. Everybody else does it this way.' There is nothing unique about what I'm saying.
"I'm the mainstream. This other system is not mainstream. Everybody else has playoffs, it involves a lot of teams and none of this let's have four and play one or any of that crap."
Leach also doesn't buy the argument that a playoff system would come at the risk of academics as most colleges go through finals during the month of December, which would be at the height of any proposed playoff system.
"First of all, most of it would happen when school is not going on. Second of all, if academics is an issue on this then they need to cut every sport except football because football is the least intrusive on academic. Now I think all those others sports have a ton of validity and enrich a lot of lives and they shouldn't cut any of them because I don't think they are too intrusive, either. "
So how does a guy who seems so comfortable going against the grain feel about fitting in with the mainstream?
"It's not like I'm rattling cages or that I'm dissatisfied," he said. "What do I think the best system is? I told you what I think the best system is. I'm I unhappy about the system we have now? No, I'm having a lot of fun. Could it be improved? I think so."