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Mike Leach To Maryland: How Would The Air Raid Alter The ACC?

As whispers grow ever louder of Mike Leach’s Black Freighter pulling into Maryland’s National Harbor to begin raiding the ACC’s Atlantic Division, let’s take a look at what kind of damage Leach could do.

This year, the ACC’s offenses averaged 375 yards per game, a number that would’ve finished just below the middle of FCS football if a lone school did it. Maryland’s dragged that average down a bit, producing only 342 per game. In his final three years at Texas Tech Leach’s offense banged out over 470 per game, including a ghastly 531 in 2008. While that average ACC yardage number is reflective of both offensive struggles and defensive aptitude, we’re still talking about an entirely different culture taking root in laying siege of Maryland if Leach is hired.

The first thing we need to know about Leach: his offenses score a cruel ocean of points. Texas Tech finished in the top ten or darn near it every year of Leach’s tenure since 2003, settling as high as fourth a pair of times. To spend the next three hours reading about the Air Raid, click here.

It worked in the wide-open Big 12, but would it work in the ACC, a conference whose defenses tend to make its offenses look like metal buckets welded to the floor? Well, let’s look at how he did against non-Big 12 competition while at Texas Tech. He went 6-4 in bowl games, though one of those losses was in his first season. In 2007’s bowl win over the ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers, his offense scored 31, and in 2002 he put 55 on Clemson. There’s a 21-point effort in a 2003 loss to N.C. State, but the Red Raiders laid 48 on the Wolfpack the year before.

Other games against non-Big 12 BCS-conference opponents include offensive outings of 44, 41, 38, 34, and so on. And there’s a 70 against TCU.

I’ve gone through it twice, and that looks to be all the ACC teams he played. That’s a 38.75-point average against bowl-quality ACC teams, so the question isn’t whether it can work here but whether he can find the right players.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.