College Football Overtime (cont.)
I'm sure there have been more disastrous coaching hires in the last decade than New Mexico's Mike Locksley. I just can't think of any.
Locksley, formerly Ron Zook's offensive coordinator and ace recruiter at Illinois, took over a program that was down but hardly broken. The Lobos went 4-8 in predecessor Rocky Long's last season, but posted at least six wins seven straight seasons before that. To say Locksley has since run the program into the ground does not even do the situation justice.
On Saturday, New Mexico fell to 0-4 with a 45-10 loss to previously winless UNLV. Opponents have now outscored the Lobos by a combined score of 225-41, dropping Locksley's New Mexico record to 1-15. Mind you, this is the same guy who decked an assistant coach last season. It's truly bewildering that he still has a job.
Apparently a faction of the New Mexico faithful feels the same way, because they've taken to starting wild rumors to undermine Locksley's job security. Last week, a former executive producer for Lobos' sportscasts (and subsequently the school's flagship radio network) "reported" that Locksley would be fired -- but not until Oct. 9 -- and replaced by none other than Mike Leach. Those details are so absurdly preposterous (for one thing, when Leach goes back into coaching, it won't be at New Mexico) they could only have been leaked by someone who desperately wants Locksley gone.
I'm sure that someone won't have to wait too much longer.
Mini-previews for three of this week's big games:
Florida at Alabama, Saturday (8 p.m. ET): This one feels reminiscent of the 2007 Florida-LSU game, when a rebuilding Gators squad went into Baton Rouge and took the eventual BCS champ to the wire. Florida will definitely come in jacked after what happened in Atlanta last December, but it will take more than that.
Stanford at Oregon, Saturday (8 p.m. ET): Speaking of revenge-minded teams, you've got to think Chip Kelly will be bringing up the Ducks' 51-42 loss in Palo Alto last season, their lone Pac-10 defeat. Stanford's defense has gotten much better since then. But it's not like LaMichael James has gotten worse.
Oklahoma vs. Texas, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): After winning five straight from 2000-04, Bob Stoops has lost four of the last five Shootouts. His team figures to be a heavy favorite due to Texas' offensive woes, but the pressure's on Sooners quarterback Landry Jones to avoid mistakes against the Longhorns' secondary.
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