This year, more than any other year, Iowa State fans have been watching the coaching carousel with an extra large mix of fear and dread. Despite CPR's continued assurances that he isn't going anywhere, his name has been linked to quite a few coaching searches. (Illinois, Ohio State, and Penn State just to name a few.) Like many of you, I believe he's here for the long haul. Doesn't make me any less nervous when I turn on the local sports radio talking heads and there's an Ole Miss fan talking about how "That guy from Iowa State is exactly what we need to compete again in the SEC!*"
But there was another threat always lurking. Somewhere, off the coast of Key West, the Dread Pirate Leach was biding his time. Watching. Waiting. Probably drinking a rum-based beverage. Getting interviews with various D-1 schools despite the hit job put out by Craig James, famed killer of hookers. (Seriously. Read Leach's side of the story, and try and feign surprise that Mr. James would use his ESPN connections to try and sell Texas Tech on his son.)
And then Kansas fired Turner Gill on Sunday. (When reached for comment, an unusually livid Gill was quoted as saying "Darn it all to Heck!") The Leach to KU talk started almost immediately, and he seemed like the perfect candidate for a Big XII team that was sick of having a "nice coach who loses" and might be in the market for a slightly dickish coach who could deliver some wins.
It would also have the likely side effect of making Kansas competitive again. When you're struggling for six wins because you're playing in a round robin schedule in the hardest top-to-bottom conference in football, you don't want the only team you've been favored against all year to suddenly start getting good again.
Breathe easy, Cyclone Nation. Today, the dread pirate was seen setting sail for the Pacific, where he will be coaching the Washington State Cougars. This not only has the potential to make the late-night games infinitely more watchable during the college football season, it means that the Pac-12 North has a pretty good chance of outscoring the entire Big Ten next season.
We here at WRNL would like to raise our tankards of ale to the return of the one true Pirate King of college football. May the wind always find your sails, may your players' little girlfriends not be fat, and may Craig James be forced to announce all your bowl games.
(And may Tommy Tuberville last another five seasons at Texas Tech, because Rhoads flat out OWNS that guy.)
*This is not an exaggeration. I actually heard that statement from a caller, word for word, on my way home from work yesterday. Seems that Oklahoma State win turned a few heads in SEC country, and not just in Alabama.