It's kind of a weird feeling, but for the first time, probably ever, I don't really have much of an opinion for what's going on with ISU at the moment. Makes it kind of tough to write anything good. So instead, I'm going to write something, and if it sucks, don't say I didn't warn you.
As you are aware, ISU made a couple of coaching hires with Nick Nurse and Jeff Grayer. I don't know if I have an opinion either way with these guys yet. I think that they could help with player relations, which has been a glaring hole. Having to bring in 6 new guys/year is a recipe for disaster, not success. Depending on how much influence Nurse will have, maybe ISU can instill more of a pro-style game to their offense. At the very least, I hope this helps with developing our guards. We need better guard play to win games. I'm not sure what Nurse or Grayer can do as far as recruiting goes. It sounds like they have the right personalities and have the potential to be good recruiters. Perhaps McDermott will need to be more involved in the earlier stages with recruiting than before. We'll have to see.
There has been some local talk about McDermott to Creighton, or at least willing to listen to Creighton. Not sure if this is true, but who knows at this point? He was successful at the MVC, and I think he'd be a good fit at any MVC school. He knows what it takes to win at that level, and has the qualities that the fanbase would love to see in their coach. We will just have to stay tuned I guess. I would be curious as to who would be the head coach at ISU. Hiring a headcoach in May is dicey. Look how long it took Oregon to find a guy. And they have the money, and had the luxury of having the position open in March.
You probably heard about the NCAA Tournament staying on CBS, partnering with Turner, and expanding to 68 teams. I love this move. First, the field doesn't expand too far. If there were 96 teams, I would think we'd see less upsets, and most of the time it'd be midmajor vs. midmajor, or midmajor vs. crappy BCS team. NCAA Tournament should be a tough thing to get into, and be an honor of playing in. I'm so glad it isn't going to be marginalized. I also love that the games will be televised on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, meaning that we'll get to choose between the multiple games playing at the same time, as opposed to letting CBS decide for us.
Turning the page to football, with the ISU Spring Game, I'm still pretty blah about it from the fan perspective. It's tough to say what we've got, until we see our guys lining up across from another team. Then again, once you are at that point, it's tough to make drastic improvements on the season. Over the summer, we will talk a lot more about the schedule, and the team, as we ramp up for fall camp. I was hoping a week removed from it, I would have some new found wisdom or appreciation for the event, but I still feel the same now, as I did last Saturday.
The NFL draft reminded me why I really thought Oklahoma would be playing in the National Championship game last year. I know some people thought I was crazy when I said that at the beginning of last year. They had seven guys picked in total, including four first rounders, and three of the first four picks in the draft. They had the talent. Injuries really hurt that team, no pun intended.
Lastly, just for the hell of it, because I know so many people love football, below is my preseason Top 25 as of April 25th, 2010. Between now, and the first blogpoll, these may change, but this is what I'm feeling at the moment. I'm counting this down backwards for suspense. I wanna thrill you, and hopefully these rankings below can be the first step in me changing your life:
60. ISU - Just in case you were wondering where I have us, in my very scientific poll here
25. Texas Tech. They return 13 starters and have the pieces in place to have a potent offense again. I imagine Tubberville is going to want to bring more balance to this team, and I'm not sure how that will play out.
24. Arkansas. Good offense, returning 10 starters on that side, 7 on the other. Could see them making some strides this year.
23. Georgia. I like the Bulldogs. They have 12 returning starters (8 offense, 4 defense). Last year they struggled on offense, at times, and need to figure out the QB position. But they have a good O-Line, and whenever a team has that, I'm liking them. They are also switching to the 3-4 on defense, so it will be interesting to see how that transition goes for them.
22. Oregon State. They have 15 starters coming back, but did lose 2 All-Pac 10 Linebackers. I really love watching this team. They don't have a QB figured out yet, which is why I have them lower.
21. Auburn. I know ISU fans may cringe with this. But 16 returning starters (8 on each side), along with a Top 10 recruiting class, and I imagine they will be pretty good. Continuing the theme of many of the above schools on a list, they have an unproven QB, and are planning on going with a JUCO QB.
20. West Virginia. They have 16 returning starters, including a solid OL and Noel Devine for his last year.
19. UNC. I know this isn't basketball. They have 9 returning starters on each side of the ball, looking to build upon a 8-5 season.
18. LSU. Last year the defense was good, offense was horrible. They lost most of their starters, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. They are perpetual Top 25 teams, and bring in a solid recruiting class.
17. Oklahoma. I expect this to be a much improved team. They have most of their O-Line back, which will be an improvement, along with an experienced QB and good top target in WR Ryan Broyles.
16. Utah. 8 guys back on offense, including a sophomore QB, and their all-conference RB will be back, along with most of their O-Line. Their offense looks like will take a step forward, and the main question with this team is defense, as they return only 5 starters.
15. Cincinnati. Pike is gone, but when he was injured last year, the Bearcats were fine. Gilyard is a bigger loss, in my opinion, and we will see if a top receiver can emerge. It's the Big East, and they will probably be the best team in that conference.
14. Wisconsin. 10 starters are back from the Top 30 offense, including the entire O-Line. They will have to rebuild their defense, with only 5 starters coming back. They quietly did go 10-3 last year, and I would expect them to do some things in 2010
13. Nebraska. I'm more bearish than most on Nebraska. Which may sound silly as I have them 12th. They will have a good D, and good running game. They are going to win the Big 12 North, but the North stinks. I'm not sure if they have a QB, and I wonder what if the D-Line skips a beat at all losing Suh.
12. Oregon. They bring back 20 starters from their Rose Bowl team, and almost everyone has them in their Top 10. When your QB and star RB are spending time in court during the offseason, there are problems though, and I can't put them that high at this point.
11. Georgia Tech. This team is good, but having them lower than most is my criticism of the Triple Option. They run it well, but what happens when they fall behind? They lost their stud WR in Demaryius Thomas. Just not sure if their scheme will allow for them to win as much as they should.
10. USC. Lane Kiffin rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but he's a good coach. 12 starters back, top flight recruiting class, and a good defensive coordinator in his dad, and this team might be the favorite in the Pac 10.
9. Florida. 12 starters are back, and the lost the second coming in Tebow. Also for the 2nd consecutive year, they lost their best WR. As long as Urban Meyer is on the sidelines, this program is going to be fine. They will be the 2nd best team in the SEC I think.
8. Virginia Tech. Might have the best offense in the conference, and have 11 returning starters in total.
7. Miami. I'm drinking the Kool-Aid hard on this team I know. But I absolutely love Jacory Harris, and believe this team has the talent with the rest. They did lose some games last year, but also had one of the toughest schedules. Unfortunately, they are playing in a tough ACC-Coastal conference, were pretty much all of the talent in the conference is located. It will be tough to finish this high, but they have the talent in my opinion.
6. Ohio State. Their offense got better as the year went on. 15 returning starters in total, but reloading is no problem at Columbus.
5. Texas. Losing McCoy hurts, but having a QB with some National Title game experience is going to build a ton of confidence heading into the season.
4. Iowa. They play ugly, but are finding ways to win. Losing Bulaga, hurts, but you know their D will be good, and will win games despite their offense.
3. Boise State. 21 returning starters next year. This team is going to be deadly, and will be disrespected all year. If they run the table, the ought to play in the National Championship game.
2. Alabama. The offense will be there. Ingram will be back. They have to replace almost their entire D. But this is Nick Saban. He doesn't rebuild. He reloads.
1. TCU. Yeah, maybe I'm crazy. But I'm drinking the Kool-Aid with this team. They have 16 returning starters including their QB. They play good D. I'm sure the AP will put Alabama, Ohio State, or Texas in the poll, but all of those teams have questions as well. TCU may be the best team coming back. They did look bad at the Fiesta Bowl, but we see teams not show up for Bowl games all the time. I'm sure some of that was due to disappointment for not playing for the championship.
So yeah, I'm crazy. Just what I'm feeling today. Feel free to get your hate on, or tell me what you think!