Last week we looked at how Big 12 teams fared in terms of yards per play. This week, we turn our attention to how the season played out in terms of the Adjusted Pythagorean Record, or APR. For an in-depth look at APR, click here. If you didn’t feel like clicking, here is the Reader’s Digest version. APR looks at how well a team scores and prevents touchdowns. Non-offensive touchdowns, field goals, extra points, and safeties are excluded. The ratio of offensive touchdowns to touchdowns allowed is converted into a winning percentage. Pretty simple actually.
Once again, here are the 2019 Big 12 standings.
Mike Leach: Pretty Good Coach
That’s not a controversial statement. Definitely not click bait at all. Sure, as some Leach skeptics and cynics will point out, he has never won a conference title. However, Lubbock and Pullman are hardly locales with the resources, infrastructure, and recruiting advantages to win a one. Anyway, with Leach having left Lubbock a decade ago, I thought now would be a good time to compare his ten years at Texas Tech with the ten years following his ignominious firing.
Mike Leach coached the Texas Tech Red Raiders for ten seasons (2000-2009). Since his firing for player abuse, mainly against one particularly well-connected player, three men have coached Texas Tech. In chronological order, they were a former SEC coach with an undefeated season on his resume, a former Texas Tech and NFL quarterback who later became a sought-after college offensive coordinator and NFL head coach, and a coach that guided Utah State to their second ranked finish in fifty years. In other words, the men who followed him were all competent football coaches. Texas Tech was not captained by Mike Locksley or Chris Ash. That makes the success, or lack thereof, in the post-Leach era all the more amazing.
Let’s get things started with the basic won/loss record for the ten years with Leach and the ten years after Leach.
avoid the ascendance of Baylor, but having the Longhorns and Sooners, not to mention the Aggies and Cowboys, as division rivals did not provide the Red Raiders an easy path to bowl eligibility.
Before we sign off for this week, let’s look at AP top 25 finishes for the Red Raiders under Leach and in the ten seasons since his departure.
2008. Unsurprisingly, with the team topping out at 8-5 in both 2012 and 2013, the Red Raiders have not finished in the final polls since he left. In fact, Leach is responsible for nearly half of Texas Tech’s all-time ranked finishes (eleven total).
I don’t think Red Raider and college football fans in general appreciate what Mike Leach did at Texas Tech. Once a coach makes a college football outpost successful for several years, the natural assumption is the momentum will continue unabated without them. Texas Tech is a perfect counterexample to that line of thinking. A cursory look at his record does not do the Mike Leach era justice, but a closer examination shows just how much he accomplished at a difficult job.