Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ten Stats That Will Leave You Optimistic About 2015 Iowa State Football

With college football season right around the corner I figured it was time to re-establish myself on the blog. After some research I've found myself more optimistic than most when it comes to the upcoming ISU football season.  Here are ten statistics that will leave you feeling the same. 

1) The last coach to go 5-19 over a two year span in Ames (Gene Chizik) won a national championship just two years later. Paul Rhoads is 5-19 in his last two seasons. 

2) The incoming freshman class has never lost a Big 12 game. NEVER. 

3) Top 10 good?  Maybe. ISU finished in the top ten in the Big 12 in EVERY statistical category last season. 

4) Playoff?! We're talking about playoffs?!  If they get there it's important to note that a likely opponent (Alabama) hasn't beat Iowa State since the 2001 Independence Bowl.  

5) Iowa State's only winning season in the last decade was preceded by a winless Big 12 slate the year before. Last season? 0-9 in the Big 12. 

6) The Cyclones have now had three 2-10 seasons in their history. In the previous two they responded with seven win seasons including a CHAMPIONSHIP in each of those seasons (2004 Independence Bowl, 2009 Insight Bowl). 

7) Lucky #7. Paul Rhoads is entering his 7th season as head coach. The last coach to make it to their seventh season won seven games (Dan McCarney 7-5 in 2001).

8) Las Vegas has Iowa State's odds of winning the Big 12 at 100-1. There are only eight teams with better odds. 

9) Last season ISU had a money line of +100000 to win the National Championship. This year? +40000.  Remember folks, in this case the lower the number, the better the odds. 

10) With the completion of the "South Endzone Project" Jack Trice will now have the third largest capacity in the Big 12 behind Texas and Oklahoma. This new "Big Three" trio of OU, UT and ISU has combined to win 10 out of the last 15 Big 12 championships. As Meatloaf says, "two out of three ain't bad"!

Cyclone fans let me caution you, #AStormIsComing

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Baylor's Hidden Advantage

Art Briles said something interesting at the Big 12 media days, this from an ESPN article:
Briles on playing in central Texas: "Get your map. Throw a dart. Try to hit the middle. It's gon' be right around Waco."
Briles on recruiting in Texas: "If I was coaching at Ouachita Baptist in Arkansas or at San Jose State, that would be my priority also. Which it is, for everyone, every university in the nation. Texas is the most heavily recruited state. That's what makes it so invigorating as a recruiter and football program to keep kids here." 
Briles on winning over the target demographic: "We're a young brand. You ask somebody [age] 10 to 30 who's the best football team in the Southwest part of the United States -- you know, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, the bordering states around here. They're going to say Baylor. Now 30 to 60, you might get a different answer. And 60 to 90 may be different. But those young kids, they associate with Baylor. That's something that's working for us." 
Both Baylor's football and basketball programs have risen to national relevancy over the past five or so years.  Baylor is a small private school, with no national following and not much local support to speak of.  So how did this happen?  Briles' statements will lead us to some interesting answers.

Art was close with his Texas geography.  Technically, Waco is about 100 miles east of the geographic center of Texas, but this puts it right in the middle of the "Texas Triangle" - Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio.  Waco is only 50 miles from the population center of Texas.  A good place to be if you're trying to keep Texas kids in Texas.

How many people are we talking about?  We always hear about kids wanting to stay close enough for their families to see them play, which I assumed was within a three-hour drive, or about 200 miles.  This also allowed Baylor to be within reach of Houston, D-FW and San Antonio, areas all well-represented on their current roster.  This very cool site ( allows you to search for population within a radius of any location.

More than 20.3 million people live within 200 miles of Waco.  That's a lot of potential recruits.  That number is higher than the University of Texas or either of the other Texas schools and roughly two to four times that of the former Big 8 schools.  Only West Virginia has a greater population within 200 miles.

Also worth noting is Baylor has the highest surrounding population growth of any of the Big 12 schools.  Their recruiting base is growing at a faster rate.  There really are millions of kids and young adults growing up in and moving to the region for whom Texas' and Oklahoma's dominance is a fading memory.  Baylor has more recently won a Big 12 championship (2), had a top 10 finish and Heisman winner than either UT or OU.  For kids in high school today, it isn't "Baylor is Baylor is Baylor" anymore.  Basketball is even more wide open in the state of Texas than football.  

Baylor capitalized on the opportunity in a big way.  The two head coaches seem to be perfect fits for the school, and are committed to signing Texas talent.  The school secured donations based on the recent success to build a brand new football stadium, which will undoubtedly attract more fans, players and money.  

Coda:  27 million people?!? I thought West Virginia was in the sticks?

We forget how much closer metropolitan areas are on the east coast than the rest of the nation.  Morgantown is no metropolis, indeed the whole population of West Virginia is only 1.8 million.  However, included within a 200 mile radius are Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Richmond Virginia, Washington D.C, and Baltimore.  This is undoubtedly what attracted the Big 12 to WVU when it came to TV revenues.