Mike Leach's future questioned by Paul Finebaum if Bulldogs cannot win Egg Bowl

Mike Leach’s future questioned by Paul Finebaum if Bulldogs cannot win Egg Bowl

Mike Leach is only in his third year as Mississippi State football’s head coach, but Paul Finebaum does not believe Leach’s future in Starkville is as secure as it may appear. Finebaum warned of the dangers Leach faces should the Bulldogs fail to beat in-state rival Ole Miss in this year’s Egg Bowl — Leach is 0-2 in that game thus far — and Finebaum might just be reading the tea leaves regarding another rumor floating around the SEC.

“I have been on that campus recently and there was just a feeling that Mike Leach had one thing to do, and that’s to beat Mississippi State,” Finebaum told Matt Barrie, via ESPN. “If he loses Thursday night in the Egg Bowl, he’ll be 0-3 against Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss. And even though two of those three will have been played in Oxford, that’s not acceptable. You are experiencing what I think is the nastiest rivalry in college football. … I’m talking about in-your-face nasty. … This is downright just a mean, nasty rivalry in which losing is not tolerated. I thought Ole Miss losing to Arkansas was the worst thing that could happen for Mississippi Sate and Mike Leach. So keep your eyes on this game.”

Fueling Finebaum’s questions about Leach is a claim from former NBA star and Auburn basketball legend Charles Barkley that there will be an unexpected firing in the SEC by the season’s end and that the said program will throw the kitchen sink at Jackson State coach and NFL legend Deion Sanders. Ole Miss and Mississippi State, of course, are the two Power Five programs in-state. The Rebels might be in a fight to keep Kiffin amid speculation the Auburn Tigers could l0ok to poach him after firing Bryan Harsin.

“What I’m telling you is, I think there’s going to be a shocker, a firing in the SEC,” Barkley said on The Next Round Podcast. “And I know for a fact that they’re probably going to go after Deion. I know that for a fact.”

Sanders and Jackson State went 11-0 this regular season, and he’s now 26-5 overall as a head coach with Jackson State. Sanders previously addressed his team and said he wasn’t going anywhere in a viral video from the locker room.

“Now, I don’t want you to hear bull junk,” Sanders said earlier this month. “… I hate rumours. There’s going to be lies that I’m going somewhere to do some bull junk. I’m keeping it 100 with y’all. That’s not happening. So that’s what it is.”

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Leach, meanwhile, is 18-17 since breaking into the SEC three years ago after head coaching stints at Washington State and Texas Tech. The Bulldogs are 7-4 in 2022. Mississippi State went 4-7 during Leach’s debut in 2020 before improving go 7-6 last year. Going back to the start of the 2017 season, Leach is the third Mississippi State head coach in that span. Dan Mullen left for Florida after the 2017 campaign, and his replacement, Joe Moorhead, lasted just two years before he was fired and replaced with Leach.

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