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HBO to feature Washington State in college version of ‘Hard Knocks’

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College football fans, your prayers may have been answered. Those looking for a “Hard Knocks” style show focusing on college football may have their wish with Washington State announcing a tease for “The Cougs,” which will be airing exclusively on HBO.

The surprise may have been spoiled with HBO cameras seen filming the Cougars during practice on Friday. Naturally, it is expected the bulk of the show will focus on head coach Mike Leach, which may be reason enough for some to make sure they have a subscription to HBO or HBO’s streaming option.

HBO had been rumored to be in discussions with a handful of college football programs about possibly featuring them in a series similar to the hit “Hard Knocks,” which has been covering teams in NFL training camps for a 14 years (this year the show is with the Oakland Raiders). Schools connected to various HBO rumors included Alabama and Penn State.

There is no air date for the premiere of The Cougs as of yet, but be sure to check your local listings, if people still do that.

Sadly, the Mike Leach home assistant device is not real

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Just as there is a seemingly endless supply of streaming services and battle royale-style video games, the home assistant device market continues to be flooded with options tailored for your preferences. Amazon has Alexa. Google has Google Home. Apple has a device. Now, Washington State has the Mike Leach Mini.

In a new season ticket promo, Washington State head coach Mike Leach is the inspiration for a fictional (yes, unfortunately, this is NOT a real device) home device that will answer any and all questions asked of it. “They say it knows everything, just like the real Mike Leach.”

If you have ever had a mystery question of life, the artificial intelligence version of the Cougars’ head coach delivers the charm expected of Leach with a dose of awe and blunt honesty.

Imagine getting to use a Mike Leach device to add items to your shopping lists, check the weather, check your email, or anything else that falls into your daily routine? I’m sure a digital Leach would offer a unique and introspective take on your daily chores and reminders.

It really would be the perfect addition to anyone’s home, or at least it would be if Washington State ever decides to make such a device available to the masses. Hey, Washington State. I would add this to my desk in the office. Just saying.

Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?

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On Monday night, Virginia and Texas Tech will battle for the men’s basketball national championship. A victory will clinch the first national championship as a head coach for either Virginia head coach Tony Bennett or Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. But if you want college basketball coverage, our friends over at College Basketball Talk have you taken care of. Here, we’ll take the football angle and try to determine what college football coach will be the next to win his first national championship.

First, a refresher of the recent history of championship head coaches. Unless you’ve been sleeping under Howard’s Rock, you know the last four national titles have been split evenly by Nick Saban of Alabama and Dabo Swinney of Clemson. Swinney is the most recent coach to win his first national championship, having done so three seasons ago with a victory over Saban’s Crimson Tide in the 2016 season. Before Swinney, the most recent coach to win his first national title was Jimbo Fisher, then at Florida State, in the 2013 season in the final BCS Championship Game before the College Football Playoff took over. Since the 2010 season, the only other coach to win his first national title was Gene Chizik at Auburn, doing so in the 2010 season with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton topping the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship Game.

There are certainly some obvious candidates to be the next coach to win his first national title. The conversation likely has to begin with Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. In his first two seasons as head coach of the Sooners, Riley has taken two Big 12 championship teams into the College Football Playoff with a Heisman Trophy quarterback, although the Sooners have yet to win a playoff game. Each time, Oklahoma was eliminated by the national title runner-up. It doesn’t look as though Oklahoma is going to be slowing down any time soon, although the competition just in the conference may improve and make a playoff run a tad more difficult. Tom Herman at Texas could be the most likely coach out of the Big 12 not named Riley to win his first national title.

There are still some coaches to watch in the SEC as well. Kirby Smart has already taken Georgia to the national title game, where they lost in overtime against Alabama two seasons ago. He will certainly be in the mix to win his first national title. He’s even taken out Riley and Oklahoma! Dan Mullen at Florida could be a coach in the running as well, although there may still be some work to do in Gainesville before Florida can crack the four-team playoff field. Or will the football gods align the fates just right for Ed Orgeron to take LSU the distance?

The ACC is tough to find a coach you can feel has a great shot to be the next coach to win his first national title, especially with Clemson continuing to roll for the foreseeable future. The Pac-12 looks like a difficult spot too considering the quality of play in the conference recently. The thought of Mike Leach being the next to win his first national title is fun to dream about though.

But what about the Big Ten? Ryan Day is taking over as head coach of a playoff-worthy candidate at Ohio State this season. Jim Harbaugh should have another strong Big Ten contender to work with this upcoming season. James Franklin and Penn State have a couple hurdles they need to prove they can clear again before making their case, but all three coaches would certainly be on the radar.

Or, if you dare to do so, do you think there is a Group of Five coach out there ready to make the jump to a power conference program and guide them to a national title in the next few years while Saban and Swinney go another couple of championship rounds? Call your shot in the comment section or on Twitter.

Mike Leach’s final lecture will stream live through the magic of the internet

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Technology is a wonderful thing. And because of it, we’ll all be able to witness to Mike Leach instructing his class this spring semester at Washington State. Specifically, the world will be invited to observe the final session of Leach’s course, Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies, in late April.

Leach’s course is an extracurricular course being offered by Washington State with four separate sessions beginning in late March. The course is only available to WSU students, of course, but WSU knows there is much to be gained by allowing Leach’s class to be viewed by others outside of Pullman.

According to a statement released by Washington State, the final session will summarize all four previous lectures and there will be a live Q&A session. Those watching the live feed will be invited to submit questions in text form for the Q&A too.

Washington State, Mike Leach agree on contract extension

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Coming off a season with the most wins in school history, Washington State and Mike Leach have agreed to a contract extension that will run through the 2023 season. In addition, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has been signed to a three-year contract.

The contract extension for Leach is a one-year addition to the current contract for Leach. In all, Leach is now on a five-year contract as he continues to improve the Washington State program on the field. The Cougars went 11-2 last season with a victory in the Alamo Bowl, although one win shy of playing for a Pac-12 championship. The Cougars have won at least eight games each of the past four seasons.

“Coach Mike Leach has built a nationally prominent football program at Washington State and our student-athletes continue to excel athletically and academically under his leadership,” Washington State Director of Athletics Pat Chun said in a released statement. “His ability to create and steward a winning culture, combined with his vision and expertise, make him one of the elite coaches in the entire sport of football. Few coaches could have accomplished what Coach Leach did in 2018. There is no greater head football coach for WSU than Mike Leach and we are happy to have him leading our program for many years to come.”

Leach will be paid $3.75 million for the 2019 season and $4 million in 2020. He will be given a retention bonus of $750,000 after the 2020 season.

Under Leach’s current agreement, his 2019 compensation will be $3.75 million, while the following four years he is scheduled to make $4 million per year. Following the 2020 season, Leach will also receive a one-time retention bonus of $750,000. Details of Claeys’ contract were not released.

In his seven seasons leading the Cougars, Leach has amassed 49 victories, which ranks third in program history, He has guided the Cougars to five bowl games in the past six years, also a first for a Cougar coach, and over the past four seasons WSU has the second-most conference wins of any program in the Pac-12.

Claeys joined the Washington State coaching staff in January 2018 as the replacement for Alex Grinch, who left the Cougars for a job at Ohio State. Claeys has also been the one-time head coach of Minnesota in 2016 after serving as an interim coach in 2015 and defensive coordinator of the Gophers from 2011 through 2015.