Over at SB Nation, Bill Connelly continues his fascinating alternate history series on college football recruiting.
Tuesday it was Texas' turn, when he looked at how the successful recruitment of Robert Griffin III could have changed the last few years in the Big 12 South:
Since Colt McCoy left Austin following the 2009 season, the quarterback position has been, to put it kindly, a question mark. The triumvirate of Garrett Gilbert (in 2010 and two games in 2011), David Ash and Case McCoy (in 2011) have combined to produce the following stat line: 462-for-790 passing (58 percent), 5,014 yards, 22 touchdowns, 31 interceptions, 46 sacks for 377 yards (5.5 yards per pass attempt), 872 pre-sack rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.
So what if Texas had offered one of these quarterbacks? For the purposes of this post, we're going to focus on Griffin, since he at least had an offer of some sort, but one would have obviously seen improved results with either of the other two quarterbacks as well. Let's say that either a) Texas decides to take a chance on Griffin as a quarterback or b) Griffin takes his "athlete" offer and heads to Austin to prove his new coaches wrong.
This isn't the Butterfly Effect that Tebow-to-Bama would have been. It hasn't necessarily impacted recruiting quite all that much (at least for teams not named Baylor), but it certainly cost Texas some wins. They went an incredibly mediocre 13-12 in 2010-11, and they probably would have won 18-19 games with Griffin. (The result would have probably been similar with Andrew Luck.) At the same time, however, they have begun to address some offensive issues that they may have danced around had they continued to win nine or ten games.
As Connelly points out, while ten wins at Baylor is miraculous, a ten-win season at Texas is expected. As a result, even if Griffin would have had an equally dominant first three years in Texas, he would not have won the Heisman Trophy and would have been coming into the 2012 season as a pre-season All-American.
Longhorn fans will have to hope that the new offensive coaching staff does a better job evaluating and developing QB's going forward, as that seems to be the only position holding Texas back to a return to national prominence.