9 Comments

  1. Davey OBrien

    Ian I read an article earlier today in which some Democratic consultants did some analysis of the recent presidential election. Not going political here, but using it as an illustration. Common narrative for many Dems after the election was they simply thought the election was a slam dunk and did not turn out to vote. If they merely work their voter base in the future problem solved.

    What is missed in that however is that the large number of voters who were not traditionally aligned with one party or the other did not vote Democrat like they had voted in the previous two elections. It seems they did not view themselves as Democrats as voters for change and they feared a return to the status quo.

    A common defense of the Big 12 in regards to this year’s draft has been the youth of many of the teams in 2016 and that Texas has been done. Both are true, but both don’t tell the whole story.

    Take TCU for example. Frogs last year had less than 10 seniors and only had two guys with any real interest by the NFL in terms of the draft. Next year is a senior heavier class, but guess what? They don’t look to be heavy with what looks to be NFL type talent. Top of my head I would say the two possibilities are Noteboom and Schlottman. Maybe one of the receivers if they can actually catch the ball, but the NFL has an issue with receivers who can’t catch and don’t go sub 4.5.

    Texas is a bit older next year, but in my mind their best NFL prospects are their juniors and red-shirt seniors.

    Every team you look at you can find a few solid prospects, but not more than 4-5.

    It isn’t simply a matter of youth, but partly the programs focus and geography. The state of Mississippi has a population roughly smaller than Iowa, Kansas, or Oklahoma.

    According to Pro Football Reference in the last then seasons there have been 170 players who played in the NFL at least one season during that time who was born in Mississippi.

    Kansas had 44 players during that same time, Iowa had 51 players, WV had 14, and Oklahoma 76.

    I realize that not every kid in those four states went to the respective B12 school in the state of their birth, some moved in and some moved out, and the schools can and do recruit out of their home states. Consider though that of those four states, their own backyards so to speak had 185 players born in their States play in the NFL during the last ten seasons.

    Alabama and 128, Arkansas had 52, Kentucky had 53, Tennessee had 101, and South Carolina had 153.

    Granted, I have not factored in Texas in regards to the numbers for the B12, but they also have to be included in some factor for the SEC with A&M and even if I give the entire number to Texas I still have not counted the SEC’s big three of Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia.

    The states outside of Texas in the B12 just don’t provide any yield. Consider the state of Washington and Oregon during that same time period have (Washington 70 and Oregon 40) a combined 110.

    The numbers just don’t lie and location really does matter.

    • ianaboyd

      “It isn’t simply a matter of youth, but partly the programs focus and geography. The state of Mississippi has a population roughly smaller than Iowa, Kansas, or Oklahoma.”

      No doubt, I addressed this in my “market inefficiencies in B12 recruiting” article. There’s an obvious demographics issue confronting the Big 12 in addition to having a smaller base population.

      • Davey OBrien

        In response to the idea the NFL might be overlooking Big 12 players who might be good enough they still are scouting the Big 12 and still selecting players from the conference.

        It is possible there is a bias among the scouts who cover the area or they struggled to project the players into NFL offenses and defenses.

        That does not explain however the lower number of UDFA signings compared to other conferences.

        I will again use TCU as an example. Collins and Carraway were the only two players who really garnered much pre-draft attention and one was selected. Collins did a few good things at the combine, but he really was not an effective offensive linemen over his five years, technique is terrible, and struggled this year against better defensive ends. Big enough problems he did not merit a draft selection, but he does have enough raw potential to merit at least one team offering him a FA contract.

        Denzel Johnson was offered and I am still not sure what Dante’ Gray did other than run fast. After those guys nothing, but who else among the seniors really flashed the type of raw physical traits or talent to merit interest?

        Now look around the other nine schools and it is a similar story. The defensive lines for most schools don’t have the size or raw physical talent, true NFL type linebackers are a scarcity, and most of the defensive back talent that is that quality is still too young.

        Offensive line is a bit perplexing as I would think that area should be stronger, it was a down year for quarterbacks and wide receivers, and the three top running backs did get attention.

        The NFL has proven they will travel where they need to in order to find talent. They might struggle to be creative in projecting talent, but once again which raw talent did they miss out of the Big 12 this year?

        • ianaboyd

          I think this year truly was down in the Big 12. Also, when you watch the teams, I mean OU dominated the league after getting pounded by Houston and Ohio State.

          • Davey OBrien

            No doubt though the bigger question is which programs are better, status quo, or lesser than the early years of the Big 12.

            Personally,

            OU – better
            UT – lesser
            OSU – better
            Tech – lesser
            Baylor – better
            K State – lesser
            Kansas – even
            Iowa State – even

            OU obviously got much better faster when Stoopes came to Norman, but if I am not mistaken OU had a losing conference record their first 3-4 seasons in the Big 12.

            Kansas got their Mangino bump and obviously Baylor was crap before Briles.

            I am curious what WVU fans think of the program since the move. TCU is better in terms of revenue, get more exposure than before, and have recruited better. They also had two very average years, one bad year, and two strong years.

            Conference unfortunately needs more bell cow programs just like it needs more fertile recruiting states and I just don’t see how that can happen.

          • ianaboyd

            Better in what sense? Lots of these programs benefit from having less contested access to Texas recruits and TV markets, but the league overall suffers in comparison to other leagues in terms of revenue.

            It’s hard to milk as much money from DFW and HOU as other programs are getting by combining the west coast and mountain zone or the whole southeast, or the whole northeast and midwest.

            Actually makes me wonder if UTSA might be an expansion candidate in the future since the SA-Austin metroplex is growing so big and becoming increasingly important.

  2. Davey OBrien

    I do agree that the conference as a whole is in much worse shape than when it first was formed and so along that line any team in the conference at this time that was there in the beginning is in a lesser place.

    Unfortunately there never was the buy in to work together for a variety of reasons and from the very start the conference was in a state of decline instead of what might have been.

    OU had a losing record in the first three years and was not a national presence. They might have gotten smoked in back to back years by Clemson, but that is a far cry better than they way they finished the 1995 season when they not only got beat by KSU, OSU, and Nebraska, but were outscored 98-0.

    No way you can tell me where the OU program is today is worse or on par to where the program was at the end of the 1995 or the start of 1996 when they went 0-4 losing to TCU, SDSU, Tulsa, and Kansas.

    OSU has become a solid Top-2o program not only in terms of rankings, but facilities, and they have upgraded the talent. No, they are not Bama, LSU, etc…..but they are better and had Taylor stayed at d-tackle that would have been a nasty defensive front.

    As far as Baylor yes in one part they are in a world of crap, but the talent in that program is light years ahead of where it was in the first part of the conference.

    UTSA is no answer for the Big 12. They do nothing to expand the presence outside of Texas and only split the pool inside the state by a fractional share.

    • ianaboyd

      The UTSA thing depends on what B12 market share looks like in San Antonio right now, it’s probably fine.

      The better answer would be to draw in a program with big time resources and new marketshare that could benefit from recruiting Texas. Like BYU…or Nebraska.

      Your points about schools like OU and OSU…a lot of that is just having the right coach, or in the instance of OSU having T. Boone Pickens money also. Many of those things are totally independent of being a part of the Big 12.

      Baylor is one school that has benefitted immensely from the conference affiliation. They now have booster investment and resources to justify their inclusion and are making a lot more of their position.

      • Davey OBrien

        It could be said that all it takes is one coach at any program. Look at the difference Art Briles made to Baylor and I am not trying to be funny.

        As far as OSU that program is a long way from where it was at in the mid-90’s and it simply wasn’ the coach. I know someone who was on Bob SImmons’ staff and he will readily admit they tried to get kids to commit prior to coming to Stillwater. The town wasn’t the issue as other schools were in similar towns, but the facilities were bad compared to other Top 20 programs.

        The idea of the conference itself making those teams better is crazy and that isn’t the case in other conferences as well. The brand of other conferences is stronger for many reasons, but it isn’t because of what the conference gives the team in turn of an identity. It is what has been created in that conference by the members.

        The very problem with the Big 12 is that from the beginning is the key programs never bought in and were more worried about themselves than what they could be part of as a collective. Losing the four schools it has lost basically is a blow that will ultimately kill the conference and there is no silver bullet program out there to save it.

        Not UTSA, not BYU (cancer in a conference), not UCF, etc…… The only way the Big 12 survives is if OU and UT stay and I don’t see that happening over the long term.

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