“Bucky,” KC SportsNation
Any analysis of the resurrection of MU football has to start and end with recruiting. Even MU fans would not laud head coach Gary Pinkel as a great coach, whether it is Xs and Os or schemes. He wants to get as many good athletes as he can and put them in a good position to win and they have steadily become more successful. Since MU is in a large state with relatively little competition, it is easy to see them having a good recruiting base in-state. However, any rise of the local teams can be directly attributed to Texas recruiting. Pinkel, Bill Snyder and former KU coach Mark Mangino have all had their best success when they were pulling quality players out of Texas. Nebraska, as usual, believes because they are Nebraska, that they will continue to recruit Texas even though they have withdrawn from the Big 12. Over time, that will prove to be a fallacy and it might be sooner rather than later. Nebraska believes this even though teams with more national prominence like Ohio State and Michigan have little success there.
This is a simple look at the state of Texas and who recruits it. Before leaving the Big 12, Nebraska had a very good year (2011) in Texas signing five of their 19 recruits from Texas. This led to a No. 15 national ranking. 2012 has not been as kind thus far. With most “prominent” programs anywhere between 15–20(+) commitments, Nebraska only has seven players committed. How many from Texas? One. No need to do the percentages, but unless there is a dramatic change, their pipeline in Texas will turn into an IV drip. By the way, they are not even in the Top 50 in the nation this year and are only ranked 8th in the Big 10. They will pick up more commitments and they will rise in the rankings, but their average star rating last year was over 3.5 and this year it is under 3.2. They are lacking in quantity and quality. Welcome to the Big 10, boys. Better get the needles out.
This next section will look at the SEC and Texas recruiting. The number will be the national ranking and the second number will be the number of Texas signees/commitments. Special notice should be made of the bordering states – Arkansas and LSU. With Missouri being geographically further than either, it goes to follow that they will have less success than bordering states.
|National Ranking||Team||Texas signees/commitments|
Taking the last two years, HALF of MU’s recruits come from Texas. They have out-recruited LSU and Arkansas combined the last two years. Going forward, Texas kids are more likely to go to LSU or Arkansas, and TCU for that matter, before MU, based on geography let alone the success of the programs (history and/or recent success). Pinkel will have to move his assistants and their connections to other places (Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida). And then you have the issue of out-recruiting schools that are geographically closer to the recruits. Texas kids overwhelmingly play in Texas or the league they are in. California kids are the same as are Florida kids. They play in the Pac 12 and SEC, respectively. It simply defies logic and gravity for Nebraska or MU to think otherwise. It might work for a year or two to recruit Texas, but it is not a long-term solution for either school. When they left the Big 12, they also left their ability to recruit Texas. LSU would be a very attractive school for Texas kids (success and geography) and they still don’t recruit Texas well.
Analysts have mentioned the place Arkansas used to occupy nationally before they went to the SEC. They are an also-ran in the SEC now as they have a below .500 conference record (72-77-2) since joining the league. MU fans are fooling themselves if they think they will be competitive in the SEC over the long-haul.
The Big 12 is a lesser league without Nebraska and Missouri. It is one of those rare instances where all parties will be hurt after this is over. The Big 12 can admit it. In time, so will Nebraska and Missouri.