The long offseason continues for football, giving us plenty of time to discuss other topics that we don’t have time to touch during the grind of the season. We’ve discussed how the in-state rivalry can continue and kicked off the previews for all the positions in the upcoming season, soon to be a bi-weekly product. This week we’ll kick off a new series discussing offseason topics, beginning with recruiting and what it’s like to bring in players compared to national title contenders.
It’s obvious that the college football landscape has moved south, with the Southeastern Conference winning the last seven national championships and multiple teams scoring the highest recruits. Just this year the Ole Miss Rebels reveled during national signing day. Notre Dame went through the season undefeated before getting absolutely smashed by Alabama that proved just how radically different the talent level is regionally.
The list goes on with additional help from ESPN creating a new SEC Network, creating more exposure to entice recruits to pick one of the conferences’ schools. It’s an unfair advantage to the rest of the nation, but it’s hardly the beginning of Iowa State’s problems in trying to be relevant in the football world.
Randy Peterson from the Des Moines Register had a great article a few weeks ago on Paul Rhoads being dissatisfied with what he’s done with the program. Sure, it’s great to make it to three bowl games, but not getting past seven wins or having a winning record in the Big 12 is still upsetting to him. When discussing on what needs to change the culture, Peterson presses on resources. Rhoads gave us an inside look at recruiting.
“When a young man comes on an official visit from far off, we can pay for him to fly here and pay for everything once he gets here, but we can’t pay for his parent or legal guardian to fly from Florida, Texas, California, Georgia or wherever. We can pay for expenses once they’re here, but we can’t pay to fly them here. It’s not right, because you’re not allowing a decision-maker to come on a trip to help make a decision, and our percentage of signing kids when a parent comes on a trip with them is very high.
“There are certain programs that don’t want the same rules, because they think it hurts them. If you ask the schools in Texas or in the southeast or wherever, they’re not in favor of it because they don’t need it.”
It’s just about impossible for the Cyclones to gain national respect in a conference that has the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners; it’s even harder when national college football analysts mock the Big 12 in favor of the southeastern schools to set the precognition that other schools are irrelevant and couldn’t compete with the SEC.
Much of the talent already resides in places like Florida, Texas, and California. If it’s too costly for a five-star athlete to bring his parent along for a trip, it’s easier just to stick locally. Why bother even trying to make the trips north or east when top caliber schools are in the same zip code? Double down the difficulty with high prospects this state of Iowa or all over the Midwest that are eyeing the SEC thanks to the exposure.
That’s the biggest difference between Iowa State and Alabama trying to recruit; no one barely even knows who’s joining the Cyclones for the upcoming season compared to ESPNU broadcasting Crimson Tide practices. It’s an official visit giftwrapped to the nation while Iowa State can’t even bring a recruit’s mother or father along with them.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe change needs to happen in the recruiting world to give a team like Iowa State a more equal shot, or should things stay the way they are?
[Quote source: Des Moines Register]