The next time you’re looking for a description of just how hectic the college bowl season is for a team, think about getting engaged.
That is how Head Coach Mike Leach explained it in his conference call Monday, where he talked about the activities and scheduling that go along with playing in a bowl. The short period of time the team gets to prepare and to travel is not easy, Leach said.
“If I talk to friends or relatives, they say, ‘The season’s over. You’re probably just hanging out, relaxing, and going to go take a vacation at this bowl.’ That couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re all hectic,” Leach said.
Leach said one of the smartest decisions he ever made was being engaged to his wife for only two weeks before they got married.
“If you’re engaged for a year or two years, or however many months, that’s how long you drag out the hectic nature of things,” Leach said.
A bowl game represents achievement, but also a busy schedule.
“In this case, the part that’s hectic is that you’re trying to multitask with so many things,” Leach said.
The team still has to practice, and the method of practice is different than that during the regular season, he said. Coaches are out recruiting because they are allowed to visit players in their homes, and recruiting weekends are also included.
Finals week falls between the last game of the season and the bowl game, so that presents a scheduling problem, Leach said. Transporting people to the bowl site and then going to events and practices around that site is challenging as well, he said.
As the Gildan New Mexico Bowl draws closer on the Cougars’ schedule, the team will have to not only adjust to a hectic lifestyle but also to a balanced opponent, the Colorado State Rams.
“Their greatness comes from the fact that there’s no holes,” Leach said. “It’s not like anything they do is off the charts intimidating, but there’s not really any key vulnerabilities to them.”
The team reached this point in the season with a predominantly young team and with Leach, who is only in his second year as the head coach. Leach explained the importance for the Cougars in earning a spot at this bowl game, especially after not being in the postseason for 10 years.
“Part of it is the realization of what’s possible, and reinforces what’s possible,” Leach said. “Everybody can work harder than they think they can, and everybody is a little better than they think they are. So that reinforces all of that, so you’re able to elevate even further.”
Coach Leach might wish the time before the game were as brief as his engagement, but one thing is certain: Saturday, Dec. 21 in Albuquerque, marriage is here and the engagement is over.
The Cougars will play the Rams on ESPN at 11 a.m., kicking off the college football bowl season and putting a cap on a season of improvement.