Les Miles was announced as the AP coach of the year on Tuesday. On one hand, it's hard to argue with the selection. LSU has been the best team in the country the entire season and very well could win another national championship on January 9th. On the other hand, it almost seems too easy. LSU is undefeated, they're in the championship game. so Miles must be the coach of the year, as if by default.
Miles winning the award is not saying anybody is slighting the job Bill Snyder did this year. After all, he came in second getting 16 first place votes out of 56 ballots (Miles had 30 first place votes).
You can go back and forth on who was coach of year, but Snyder did have some interesting quotes in an article on Powercat.com this week that helps shed some light on some of the challenges a school like Kansas State faces in recruiting, helping you realize what an unbelievable job he's done, not only this year, but throughout his career.
There is little question Les Miles is working with a full deck at LSU stacked with a roster full of four and five star recruits, as are a handful of other coaches and teams around the country. Just take a look at the top of the recruiting rankings every year. You'll see the likes of Alabama, LSU, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma in the top ten most seasons, among others. One school you won't see is Kansas State, yet the Wildcats were 10-2 this year in only the third year removed from the Ron Prince era.
This is from the piece on Powercats.com:
He points out that finishing second for a top-flight prospect is the same as finishing 22nd. He would rather aim at more hittable targets. He's missed the moving ones too many times in the past.
"We got visits, but the bottom line was, at the end of the day, we weren't getting those guys," Snyder said. "So there was an awful lot of effort spent on that level of recruit." (Regarding their run of winning 11 games a year in the late 90's and going after top flight recruits).
"We spent all that time with these guys that have got these stars. That means it takes away effort from (more attainable) guys. Consequently, the guys some people would call fallbacks became more difficult to surround because we didn't spend as much time with them. We evolved back from that quickly."
You can look at that a couple ways. First, Snyder is simply doing more with less if you give any credence to the star-rating systems recruiting services use. Four and five star players simply aren't flocking to Manhattan, Kansas regardless of their record.
Whatever is your belief regarding the rankings, this season just proves he has a system figured out that works for Kansas State and that there a few better when it comes to game planning around what talent is at his disposal.
Snyder returned to the sidelines prior to the 2009 season. Kansas State's '09 recruiting class ranked last in the Big 12 (according to Rivals). The 2010 class was also ranked last. The 2011 class was ranked, yes - you guessed it, last in the Big 12. And the 2012 class that will sign letters of intent in February currently ranks ninth in the conference.
In those four classes, the Wildcats have had a grand total of zero five star commits and two four-star players, only one of which has made a contribution to date (DE, Adam Davis). Despite all this, the 2011 team finished 10-2 and should have went to a BCS bowl game
Is that coach of the year material? Well, you can be the judge of that. Let's just say after watching most of Kansas State's games this year, there are many head coaches at the FBS level who could have coached that exact team and K-State would have finished 4-8, not 10-2.
Some will look at Snyder's comments and say, well he should still be at least trying to go after the top-flight recruits. Well, if you ask him, it's not like he feels the guys he's bringing aren't worthy. "I'm not saying the guys who we recruit are not as good of athletes and players as anybody else," Snyder said. "It's just that a lot of people don't put five stars or six stars, however many there are, next to their names."
It's not exactly the way many schools try or hope to go about it, but it's hard to argue with the results Snyder has achieved in Manhattan. Finishing 10-2 in what many believed was the toughest conference in the country this season speaks volume to the job he did this season - four and five star recruits or not.