When the Pac-12 signed the new television deal with ESPN and Fox, the member institutions came into some money. I don't mean the $500 savings bond your grandmother got you for graduating from high school, I mean "wealthy uncle no one knew about died and left you his Richie Rich fortune" money. WSU is paying down the bonds on the CFP, football operations building and countless other projects with the cash. They hired Mike Leach and Ernie Kent thanks to the windfall.
Mike Leach and his staff (especially Joe Salave'a) are great recruiters on their own; the significant uptick in the quality of recruits coming to Pullman proves that. Regardless of how good their coaches are though, teams look for any advantage they can to snag the best high school players in the country.
Some of the Big Ten coaches were on the ESPN campus Wednesday and the newest addition to the Conference of Punting Champions made sure their prop wash was felt by all.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood arrived at ESPN in style -- in a helicopter. Uses the chopper a lot for recruiting. #ESPNB1G— Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) July 30, 2014
That's right: SUNJ-Rutgers, previously of the Big East and American conferences uses a helicopter in recruiting. Why, pray tell, must Kyle Flood use a helicopter to get around for recruiting?
Re: Flood's helicopter use. Says it's important in Northeast because traffic jams can be a nightmare. Schiano started using at Rutgers.— Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) July 30, 2014
Traffic jams? Greg Schiano couldn't sit in a measly traffic jam (not that that's surprising)? Now Kyle Flood, he of the 3-5 record in the American Conference against the likes of Temple, Connecticut and South Florida, needs a helicopter to avoid traffic?
This leads me to an obvious conclusion: college football recruiting has, just now, gotten ridiculous. When a team bound for an annual trip to the Pinstripe Bowl needs a helicopter just to keep up, WSU needs to do something drastic to stay competitive in the actually competitive Pac-12 (sorry, not sorry #B1G).
WSU's primary recruiting area is southern California. We compete against the likes of USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, etc. for these precious few difference makers. We have the money. We need to stand out from all the rest.
We need a blimp.
You heard me right. We need a damn blimp. If Kyle Flood thinks traffic is bad in New York, he has obviously never been to Los Angeles at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon. You'll sail over it in the Washington State blimp.
The blimp may not get you there faster than a helicopter but imagine the possibilities. Who would've won the recruiting battle for DeSean Jackson at Long Beach Poly? Jeff Tedford in a helicopter or Bill Doba circling the field in a WSU blimp with the scroll reading "We want you at Washington State, DeSean."? The blimp wins. Got a kicking recruit you want to woo? Lower the blimp onto the field and challenge him to kick it over the thing. Is Nick Saban flying in on a private jet to try and steal your prized receiver away? Block the runway with your got' dang BLIMP.
Does anything I'm suggesting violate Federal Aviation Administration regulations? Definitely. Does it violate NCAA rules on recruiting? Probably. Do I care? Not one iota.
"But Michael, buying and maintaining a blimp is massively expensive and Washington State University can't afford it!" Hogwash. According to this completely reputable looking website, blimp rentals about $175,000 per month or $2,000,000 to buy. Even better for WSU, Goodyear has a mooring site in Carson, CA, right in the middle of their recruiting hot bed. Gimme the slice of Pac-12 money we were going to sink into the indoor practice facility and we're good to go.
"Well, that's still way too much for some high school football players." I've got good news for you: a personal blimp can be had for about $200,000 from this not at all Geocities looking website SkyYacht. Throw a couple coats of crimson and gray paint on that bad boy, buy a few tanks of helium and soon you'll be cruising to a top speed of 10 miles an hour to sweep a recruit off their feet. I have full confidence in this product. After all, Dan Nachbar looks like he knows what he's doing, sewing the blimp together at home in his craft room.
The blimp could be a game changer in WSU recruiting. Soon, coaches could circle high school football fields for entire games, drawing amazed looks from fans, friends and family of recruits from all over the Southland. A blimp could tilt a five star quarterback towards Mike Leach and away from Steve Sarkisian or give us the final bump we need for a talented offensive lineman who would've otherwise ended up in the greasy paws of Jim Mora.
Get ready for the most exciting thing to happen to WSU football in ... well, ever. Rose Bowls will become common place, not twice attended abnormality of a coach from days gone by. National championships will flow into Pullman like Paradise Creek. This is the rich future of Washington State Cougars football.
The blimp is recruiting change we can all believe in. Dream big. Dream blimp.