I can say this about Mike Leach: the Texas Tech coach has a lot of guts. Leach won't find out until Monday if the Big 12 will fine and/or suspend him for his heavy criticism about the officiating following his team's 59-43 loss against Texas in Austin on Saturday.
This is the second year in a row Leach felt his team got robbed against UT. Last year, after UT edged Tech 35-31, he sent a tape to the Big 12 office that pointed out 18 non-calls or disputed calls. Afterwards, Leach said the league office "begrudgingly'' admitted that mistakes were made in that game.
This year, though, Leach wanted the rest of the free world to know that he thinks something suspicious is going on whenever Tech plays Texas.
"Something needs to be said and I'm going to say it,'' Leach said. "When you get right down to it, this is the only defense for Texas Tech, for our players and people like that. Something's got to change and I'm going to say what I've got to say in even tones. This isn't going to be some emotional outburst and it may not have the answer that the subject deserves.
"Last year in this instance I bit my tongue and I regret it. Before I do everything status quo and, "Oh my gosh, the conference might fine you,' sometimes that's just the right thing to do. Sometimes nothing's going to get changed unless somebody stands up and says something, and I don''t know if this will impact anything or not. But I want to make sure that I do my best, I do my part to impact it the best I can.''
Leach probably left his postgame rant fully knowing he will at least get fined. But he doesn't believe he'll be suspended from next Saturday's home game against Oklahoma.
Back in 2004, Kansas coach Mark Mangino was fined $5,000 by the Big 12 after he had some harsh words about the officiating following a loss to, of all teams, Texas.
While Leach didn't tell the media he's a man or reveal how old he is - like Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy did in a postgame rant a few weeks ago - he did let it be known that he questioned the integrity of Saturday's officiating crew.
"I've got players out there, coaches out there, we work hard, we try hard for years, certainly, days, weeks, all that stuff,'' Leach said. "And there's no defense if somebody doesn't stand up and say something.
"I don't know if something will be done. But people have to know, people have to be aware, people have to quit being afraid of fines and people have to say something.''
While some of Leach's grips involving Saturday's game were not valid, he does have one strong point that sticks out like a sore thumb. Why is somebody who lives in Austin officiating a game involving the University of Texas?
This is not to question the integrity of anybody in the officiating crew of Saturday's UT-Tech game. But no one who lives in Lubbock should officiate a game involving Tech, no one who lives in Fort Worth should referee a game involving TCU, no one who lives in Columbus, OH, should referee a game involving Ohio State, no one who lives in Baton Rouge, LA, should officiate a game involving LSU, etc, etc., you get the picture.
Why even put that person is position where his motives are questioned? Isn't there enough college games around this country that that person can get on a jet and officiate a game not involving the team where he lives?
For his part, Leach just wants a fair shake. Nothing more, nothing less. Especially when Texas Tech plays Texas.
"Unless this can change, the Big 12 conference needs to take a serious look at having out-of-conference officials officiate the Texas Tech-Texas game, and perhaps other games where there has proven to be a bias by officiating,'' Leach said. "And that's unfortunate.''
-- Dwain Price