When you hear the words “Iowa State football”, what comes to mind? Maybe it is Matt Campbell, if your school is looking for a new coach, or maybe it is QB Brock Purdy, if you are an NFL scout. Or maybe it is those crazy passionate fans who love to drink places out of Busch Light. And all those things are fine but none of those things matter right now.
College football has a problem. Many times, we focus on the logo of the helmet or the logo of the conference instead of looking at the obvious, what is right in front us? What do we see? What do I see? I see that Iowa State has a superstar in the making and his name is not Brock Purdy. It is Breece Hall.
Look at college football’s rushing leaders and you will find that the nation’s leading power five rusher is not in Tuscaloosa, Alabama or Clemson, South Carolina. He is in Ames, Iowa and he is making history.
History and Iowa State are two things that typically do not go together, but ever since head coach Matt Campbell took over in 2016, the Cyclones have gone from cellar dwellers to a Big 12 title contender in a short period of time. Despite the 27-18 record since 2017 or the 20-12 conference record since that time, nobody is interested in Iowa State until they knock off an Oklahoma or a Texas. Speaking of Texas, since 2017 the Longhorns have an identical Big 12 record of 20-12 in Big 12 play since Tom Herman took over in Austin. Yet, who does the national media and ESPN talk about more?
Heck, even ESPN’s recent “Heisman House” where you can vote for the next Heisman winner, includes 16 players, but not Breece Hall.
You want to tell me that the logo on the helmet doesn’t matter? Sometimes, it is all that matters, and it could not be more obvious in a situation like this. Look at the current Heisman trophy odds. You would be lucky to find Breece Hall’s name anywhere despite being the nation’s second leading rusher and second in rushing touchdowns. We are six games into the 2020 season and Iowa State running back Breece Hall is just the fifth power five player in the last fifteen years to rush for over 100 yards and have at least one rushing touchdown in his team’s first six games. He joins Bryce Love, Leonard Fournette, Tevin Coleman, and Adrian Peterson to accomplish that.
Despite that accomplishment, the lack of respect for Breece is mind boggling. How in the world does Clemson’s Travis Etienne have better Heisman odds than Breece Hall right now? Etienne has played seven games compared to Breece’s six yet Breece has two more rushing touchdowns and nearly 300 more rushing yards. And by the way, he is averaging almost a full yard more per carry as well.
I understand that places like ESPN have a narrative to keep up. They own the SEC and ACC networks. It is good business to advertise and talk about players from those conference but when is everyone else going to wake up? At some point what Hall is doing cannot go unnoticed. Outside of Fox Sports analyst Reggie Bush, how many TV features have highlighted Breece Hall? Let’s face it, if Breece was wearing an Alabama, a Clemson or even a Michigan or Texas uniform, the national media would have been yapping their gums about Breece Hall until they were blue in the face.
Just because something is happening in a place it normally doesn’t happen in should not be pushed aside or ignored. It should be embraced. But can the national media and the big networks accept that? We are six games in and there are just four games left in the regular season in the Big 12. At some point people need to realize what this young man in Ames, Iowa is doing.
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