Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts during the third quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
National sports radio was all over the story of Mack Brown possibly getting the boot from the Texas football team on Wednesday. Many speculated whether or not it was deserved, if Nick Saban was going to be the next guy, if the Alabama coach would even want the job, and so on. Sitting around with my roommates, they quickly came to the assumption that Saban at Texas would be bad for Iowa State. While that obviously would shove the difficulty level of the Longhorns to “extremely hard,” in the long term it may actually help not only the Cyclones, but the Big 12 in general.
Iowa State broke through against Texas back in 2010, winning their first game against the 22nd-ranked Longhorns in Austin. Since then, it’s assumed the Cyclones can always compete against Texas. They almost had another victory when both teams met earlier this season, but a late call didn’t go Iowa State’s way and the Longhorns held on to a 31-30 victory.
If Saban walked out on the sideline in burnt orange and cream next season, that would probably be a death sentence for the Cyclones. Not even the biggest die-hard fans would anticipate winning that matchup; that’s the thought process when you see ISU lose to Northern Iowa nearly both times in their last two meetings.
But what Saban would bring to Texas would evolve throughout the Big 12, and it would benefit Iowa State.
Dec 7, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown watches from the sidelines against the Baylor Bears during the second half at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears won 30-10 to win the Big 12 championship. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Cyclones owe the world to the Longhorns for keeping the Big 12 in place. If Texas ever ventured out into either the Pac-12 or ACC, the Big 12 wouldn’t have survived, and no one was considering picking up Iowa State in athletics. They are the Big 12, and them returning to national championship contender would bring in more football recruits; those that want to join Saban’s army, and the ones that want to compete against him.
Iowa State will be seeing the benefits of solid recruiting with one of the best classes coming in next year, and that would only improve in the coming years. It’s a process that won’t happen overnight, but everyone expects the Cyclones to potentially finish with a winning season next year after so many young players shined over their senior counterparts and gained all that experience. They’ll be better, and that should build the new, talented recruits to become even better than they are coming in.
Would Iowa State football suffer major blowouts against a Saban-led Texas team? Probably, but they’ve already been ran over by the Longhorn semi multiple times in their history. What’s a few more that could ultimately improve them down the road?