Two months until Opener

Total Red

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The reset button has been pushed. As it stands we are exactly 2 months away from the opening football game. We face Eastern ILL at Hancock Stadium.

Some fans have been underwhelmed by the EIU series but I like it. Eastern has provided us with some impressive performances by future NFL QB's like Romo and Garoppolo. Lately the Redbirds have had the upper hand with 3 straight decisive wins. If that trend continues that's fine. It's hard to argue that a decisive win over a FCS non-con opponent hurts us and in fact it would look good at playoff selection time.
On the other hand EIU might be ready for a four quarter, back and fourth epic struggle. The Panthers return the QB (Woodbery) that started most of last season. He struggled at times as did the Panthers in their first season under a new coach, but Woodbery finished strong with 5 TD passes and 0 Int's in the last three games. As it stands now Eastern will also benefit from having already played a game when they come to Normal Sept. 12. The Panthers are scheduled to play Ind St. in Charleston on Sept. 3.

But regardless of who we play I'll be more than ready to see this Redbird Football team in action. It's a good looking team on paper. Hope to see it on the field.
 

Virginia Redbird

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I like the EIU series. It has history and tradition. Both of those are not very popular topics right now but I like that kind of tradition. I also would let the series go if it was int the best interests of the Redbird program. This year though, that is not a factor. The U of I game is gone so lets hope this game goes ahead. Fingers crossed!
 

ISUBU

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EIU is a cost effective, interconference game that offers scheduling stability to both programs. A win counts for playoff consideration. All in all it is easy to see why both teams continue to play this game.
 

MadBird

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Well, if we had a shot at an annual home and home series with NIU, then no question to me we go with the Huskies and ditch the Panthers. Or an annual or bi-annual trip to Champaign and/or Evanston. But under the current circumstances, an annual home and home with EIU, given our historical "connection" is just fine. I could see making it every other year if it started to "get in the way" of other decent scheduling.
 

StLRedbird

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I don't think anyone has argued that decisive wins over EIU hurt our chances when the FCS tournament bids come out. The advantages of keeping the series are obvious - bus game, old rivalry, generally a quality FCS opponent.

Unfortunately, if you get three non-con games a year and you're gonna play a cup cake, EIU, and a FBS, well, that's an awfully rigid approach. IMO you could replace the EIU game with H&Hs with traditional FCS powers like the Montanas, Idahos, UNH, JMU, and other CAA schools. Those games would be far more interesting to me. The cost is chartering a plane and other travel costs every other year.
 

Virginia Redbird

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I don't think anyone has argued that decisive wins over EIU hurt our chances when the FCS tournament bids come out. The advantages of keeping the series are obvious - bus game, old rivalry, generally a quality FCS opponent.

Unfortunately, if you get three non-con games a year and you're gonna play a cup cake, EIU, and a FBS, well, that's an awfully rigid approach. IMO you could replace the EIU game with H&Hs with traditional FCS powers like the Montanas, Idahos, UNH, JMU, and other CAA schools. Those games would be far more interesting to me. The cost is chartering a plane and other travel costs every other year.
I personally would love to see ISU head out east and play some CAA teams. JMU would be a good game as well. It appears that ISU is more intent on going west than east when you look at the games they have scheduled. Colorado State, Northern Arizona, and the Utah team nobody has ever heard of. I can see why they do that. The cost to travel is not much different but the recruiting opportunity is much different I would think. Here on the east coast, it is more condensed and the recruiting environment is intense for talent. The main thing ISU would have going for it in the recruiting battles is the success they have had on the field the past few years and that they have had a few people in NFL training camps fairly regularly for an FCS team. Maybe not all drafted but they seem to have a couple of players almost every year getting free-agent contracts and there are some players on NFL squads now. At the same time, their facilities do not help. The Hancock makeover is nice but the lack of an indoor facility and zero plans on the horizon hurt them. ISU is a really nice campus but it is central Illinois and you are going to have snow up to your eyeballs in the winter. Not a real draw for players from moderate climates or further south. The CAA is pretty compact geographically. I think it would be hard to break into recruiting in the Mid-Atlantic area. Those CAA schools have close ties with all the high school programs and you would probably need someone on the ISU staff with serious contacts here. Montana and Idaho seem to be more in line with where the program is looking to establish some recruiting roots.
 

StLRedbird

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I personally would love to see ISU head out east and play some CAA teams. JMU would be a good game as well. It appears that ISU is more intent on going west than east when you look at the games they have scheduled. Colorado State, Northern Arizona, and the Utah team nobody has ever heard of. I can see why they do that. The cost to travel is not much different but the recruiting opportunity is much different I would think. Here on the east coast, it is more condensed and the recruiting environment is intense for talent. The main thing ISU would have going for it in the recruiting battles is the success they have had on the field the past few years and that they have had a few people in NFL training camps fairly regularly for an FCS team. Maybe not all drafted but they seem to have a couple of players almost every year getting free-agent contracts and there are some players on NFL squads now. At the same time, their facilities do not help. The Hancock makeover is nice but the lack of an indoor facility and zero plans on the horizon hurt them. ISU is a really nice campus but it is central Illinois and you are going to have snow up to your eyeballs in the winter. Not a real draw for players from moderate climates or further south. The CAA is pretty compact geographically. I think it would be hard to break into recruiting in the Mid-Atlantic area. Those CAA schools have close ties with all the high school programs and you would probably need someone on the ISU staff with serious contacts here. Montana and Idaho seem to be more in line with where the program is looking to establish some recruiting roots.
Scheduling has so many aspects. You would think that maybe we would be looking at FL and TX if we were consciously looking to improve our recruiting visibility. What I don't know about that would fill a library.

But I think you could also make an argument that you would improve your rankings in the subjective polls if you merely spread you name around. I know there are plenty of folks that think the polls are unimportant, but the selection committee uses 'em. We've talked about how important SIDs are in FCS rankings, both coaches and media polls. Beating a quality team from a conference with 10 SIDs boosts all of their opinions of you. Gets coaches watching game film with you in it. If the coach hasn't delegated the ranking job to the SID, gets you more votes, right?

The onion has layers, and I chafe at the EIU game because it paints us into a corner.
 

MadBird

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Scheduling has so many aspects. You would think that maybe we would be looking at FL and TX if we were consciously looking to improve our recruiting visibility. What I don't know about that would fill a library.

But I think you could also make an argument that you would improve your rankings in the subjective polls if you merely spread you name around. I know there are plenty of folks that think the polls are unimportant, but the selection committee uses 'em. We've talked about how important SIDs are in FCS rankings, both coaches and media polls. Beating a quality team from a conference with 10 SIDs boosts all of their opinions of you. Gets coaches watching game film with you in it. If the coach hasn't delegated the ranking job to the SID, gets you more votes, right?

The onion has layers, and I chafe at the EIU game because it paints us into a corner.
This is kinda where I've always been - get around, let people know about ISU, get your name out there, let them see our players, build your reputation. It's probably not easy scheduling, but I'd do it. Also think Texas especially, and Florida, would be good for the cause.
 
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