What's the toughest obstacle for Tech to overcome to become a college football power? What can be done to overcome it? How can non-blue blood schools breakthrough and have multiple seasons of success, while Tech has struggled to put one really good year together? Since Spike Dykes took over as head coach in 1987, Tech has finished a season with three or less losses only four times. By comparison, Baylor has finished a season with three or less losses three times in the past four seasons. To look outside the Big 12, Michigan State has accomplished that feat four of the past five seasons while Clemson has done it the past three seasons. These are all non-blue blood schools with multiple years of success in a Power 5 conference but that's not the only reason I chose these.
I also pulled these colleges because from a name perspective they play second fiddle to a larger state college like Tech. Automatically, this wipes out the perception excuse to me. Perception is nothing more than letting someone else tell your story for you. I don't think this is the biggest obstacle, but I have heard several Red Raiders I know attach Tech's lack of success to being perceived as a lesser name. Tech will almost always have an uphill battle against the big boys and past recruiting classes bare this out but that doesn't mean Tech can't succeed.
Facilities is a more tangible discussion. We (and recruits) can see the stadium, workout facility and soon-to-be indoor practice facility. Right now, Tech sits middle of the road in the Big 12. We are the only Big 12 team without an indoor practice facility, but our stadium compares well to others with the exception of UT and OU's stadium. I have toured LSU's football facilities and Tech isn't miles behind, but we can all agree in the current state of college athletics there is always work do no matter how we compare to others.
Location, location, location....it matters in retail and I think in matters in college athletics. Every recruit has different reasons for choosing the university they attend. Some make their decision based on relationships they build with coaches and players, some on the school's tradition and others based on location. Recruits, parents and grandparents that want to stay close to home (or have their child/grandchild stay close) will never choose Tech when they have similar offers unless they are from West Texas. Tech's location can't be changed, so the easy way to deal with it is find out if location matters to the recruit and then decide whether or not to his recruitment. Location is an obstacle, but isn't insurmountable.
I think these are the three biggest recruiting obstacles Tech faces on a regular basis. The most interesting thing I found in writing this article is that Clemson, Baylor and Michigan State all hired their head coaches in either 2007 or 2008. They also all had some ugly seasons early on in their coach's tenure, but have continued on the path and found success. Their obstacles may or may not have been the same as Tech, but they definitely had to overcome them in order to find success. Their early results prove it wasn't always an easy road for these coaches. I am not ready to crown Kingsbury as the Mark Dantonio of Texas Tech, but we have to continue to support the coaching staff. We have to give them time to develop their system and find ways to overcome obstacles. After the next couple of seasons, we will know whether or not we are on the right path.