David Ubben over at ESPN posted a story regarding Paul Rhoads' take on the new conference schedule. To be honest, I am really disappointed in Rhoad's comments.
In my opinion, complaining about not being able to stack up meaningless non-conference wins to help you get to a bowl game is weak. Now coaches in football use bowl games as a way to validate what they are doing. If a coach can say we went to x number of bowl games, that's a selling point for the fans, recruits, and the like. Some will say that going to bowl games actually helps the development of the team (the extra practices for example), and I am going to try and work on a research project over the summer seeing what the impact on bowl games might be for teams like Iowa State.
To me, a team ought to be judged by the competition. When Rhoads came here, like any coach who would have taken the job, he said the goal was to win Big 12 North titles and compete for the conference championship. Fans make joke around, but when you are building a program, that has to be the goal. Now we get Rhoads complaining that winning 7 games with the new schedule is going to be hard. Isn't part of wanting to win conference championships having the opportunity to play all the teams and prove it on the field?
Since when was the goal to just qualify bowl games every year and be content with 6 and 7 win seasons? I understand Iowa State has been to only 10 bowl games ever. Most (including myself) would argue that going to a bowl game is a successful season at Iowa State, and that might be the ceiling given location, resources, etc. But if a coach is going to set the bar to medocrity what does that say? Isn't the goal to strive for greatness? This sounds like Rhoads is conceding defeat. I get that the team isn't going to be great next year, but if your goal is for the team to be good in a a few years, does this matter?
The worst thing about college football is the postseason. 68 of the 120 FBS teams go to bowl games, and for the most part they are meaningless games. Lots of teams go into the red just traveling there, and nobody remembers who wins. I am tired of seeing these 3-5, or 2-6 conference teams winning 4 non-conference cupcakes to make a bowl game. Big whoop. I might be in the minority, but when you see those 3-5 conference record teams, often times that's about where they stay. Those programs never get better.
Look at Kentucky. They went 2-6 in the SEC last year and went to a bowl game. In 2009, they went 3-5 and went to a bowl game. In 2008, they went bowling again with a 2-6 record. In 2007 they went 3-5 and went bowling. 2006, they went 4-4 and went bowling. What has going 3-5 and 2-6 in the SEC done for Kentucky? They have been making bowl games the last 5 years, but I bet if you asked a non-SEC football fan which team has made a bowl game each of the last 5 years of Auburn, Tennessee, and Kentucky, they probably won't be guessing Kentucky. All making these bowl games have done for them is keep their coaches employed, while being a non-factor in the SEC.
What do you think? Is it fair that the Big 12 plays 9 conference games while most other conferences play 8? Do you agree with Rhoads' comments?