Brad's Best Bets - College Football 9/26/2020
On Saturday, the Mike Leach era begins, and his air raid offense makes its way to the SEC West. For those who are unfamiliar with Mike Leach he began his coaching career at Iowa Wesleyan University under the tutelage of Hal Mumme. The two offensive masterminds are responsible for developing what’s known as the “air raid” offense. This offense relies heavily on shotgun sets with four wide receivers. Generally, teams under Mike Leach and teams with coaches from under the Mike Leach umbrella are known for their high offensive production. This is probably a welcomed sight for the Mississippi State faithful, just 2 short years ago Mississippi State was dead last in the nation in scoring against conference opponents. Luckily for Leach, graduate transfer KJ Costello is joining the team this season. The two-time captain started over 25 games during his time at Stanford. And let’s face it, Costello wasn’t built for Stanford’s run first offense. From what I’ve seen from Costello, he will be more than happy to see his draft stock rise under Mike Leach. Take Gardner Minshew for example. Yes, Minshew was not the most sought after QB in the 2019 draft as he was selected as the 178th overall pick in the 6th round. But if you remember, Minshew was one of the most unknown QBs in America after an uneventful stay at East Carolina University and then being slotted as the 4th QB on the Alabama depth chart after he arrived as a grad transfer. When he arrived in Pullman to play under Mike Leach at Washington State University, Minshew quickly became one of the hottest QBs in the country. His lone year at Washington State he threw for 4,779 yards, more than double what he threw in 2017. He also threw 38 TD passes which was 22 more than he threw his last year at ECU. Outside of the addition of Costello, Leach was fortunate to inherit 1,000+ yard rusher Kylin Hill and Alabama grad transfer Tyrell Shavers.
This all sounds great on paper, but due to COVID-19 limiting practices, it will be an uphill battle for this team to climb. Luckily for them, this LSU team they are playing this year is not the LSU team they played last year. Let’s start with the obvious… Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow is no longer on the team. Burrow arguably put together one of the best single season college campaigns by any QB in history. On top of losing Burrow, LSU had 14 starters drafted from their team and more than 6 of those players are now starters in the NFL. To make the road to glory that much more difficult, they lost nearly their entire offensive line. To make matters worse, LSU lost two highly effective coaches. Dave Aranda who served as the defensive coordinator for four years. In addition to losing Aranda, Joe Brady, the passing game coordinator took a job with Matt Rhule for the Carolina Panthers. Brady was the mastermind of that offense who is credited with the development of Burrow. With so many losses it’s tough for me to be comfortable taking a team to win by nearly 20 points.