I was having a conversation the other day about the state of Minnesota College Football. It is kind of an interesting situation we’re in if you think about it. I see these two facts…
Fact 1-The Gophers stink, have for a while, and probably will stink for quite some time.
Fact 2-Small Schools in this state are thriving and considered some of the best in the nation. Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State, St. Thomas, St. John’s and Bethel have all been considered national championship contenders within the last 5 years.
Now to me Fact #2 is only a fact because of Fact #1. The way I see it, if the Gophers were any good whatsoever some of those marginal players would find their way into the maroon and gold uniforms.
Not everyone can recruit like an Ohio State or Alabama or pick your favorite football factory school. Smaller schools require getting some of those marginal, borderline D1/2 players and developing them into quality players. Iowa is a nice example of this. I think Kirk Ferentz does a nice job of getting those kinds of players and turning them into something he can use.
Iowa’s not going to get the same level of recruits as an Ohio State, but year after year they are competing with the Buckeyes on the field well. They don’t always win, but they always have a chance…something Minnesota hasn’t been able to say in years.
You don’t hear anything about small schools in Iowa, because the talent isn’t there on the D2 or 3 level. The talent is all on the Hawkeyes, (and what isn’t there is on Iowa State’s roster).
I applaud the Minnesota small schools for stepping up, recruiting well, and bringing very good talent into their programs. I haven’t analyzed the national scene, but I think anyone would be hard pressed to find a better area for small college football than right here.
To get back to the Gophers, I don’t think they are getting the marginal players because kids realize two things…A. I don’t want to lose more games than I win and B. I’m not going to play in the NFL so let’s go someplace I can get a good education.
I personally think factor B is the higher thought in their heads, and that also speaks well of the small colleges in Minnesota. They are putting together class athletic programs AND world class academic programs.
I don’t mean this to be a bash the Gophers article, I’m simply trying to pay all the small colleges in Minnesota a compliment for a job well done.
But cmon, at this point…if say Minnesota Duluth or St. Thomas played the Gophers on the gridiron. How many of you would actually pick the Gophers to win that game? I don’t think I would.
Go small schools! Make us proud, because your “big brother” won’t.