A poster on Bruingold was wondering why we keep getting beat by schools like Oregon and Cal in recruiting, and I did some thinking... Here was my response...
Eugene is very pretty to someone who has grown up in a desert like LA. Sure it's cold and it rains, but its very green and fertile and that environment is very attractive to some California transplants. As for their facilities, I would argue they are among the top 3 of any school in the country. Autzen is a nice stadium, and the crowd effect really stands out. Not to mention their support from Nike and their constant jersey changes, all of those things really appeal to recruits.
Cal, while not as "beautiful" of a campus at UCLA (it's a pretty ugly campus) has San Francisco just across the bay (a gorgeous city), as well as an on-campus stadium, some decent football success, as well as new facilities that are very nice. Not to mention it's, barring Stanford and CalTech, the premier academic institution on the West Coast.
UCLA on the other hand has a lot going for it. However, Acosta training center, despite the remodeling, is limited by serious space concerns, and frankly is probably not even in the top half of the training centers in the pac. We don't even have a full size practice field, Spaulding being notoriously lousy. We don't have an on-campus football stadium, though we do play in the Rose Bowl, and our students are fairweather oftentimes. Generally, we have a lot of disadvantages, and they're all football related. The advantages we have are all quality-of-life related. Academics, close to the beach, in a beautiful part of LA, big city, etc. It's hard with benefits like those to reap in people who ONLY care about football, and I think those are the players we NEED MOST.
Essentially, all on-field success/failure aside, we have some issues, and they are all directly related to football. It's not surprising when I see kids going to Cal, not only because they have good recruiters, but because they have a lot to offer and actually have football support, despite their shoddy record.
Here it is most glaring how football lacks support. If we had more support, we could make Acosta a palace. We could tear out the IM fields and replace it with a practice Facility, and relocate the IMs to spaulding. We could tear out Drake and put a stadium in, or put one near Jackie Robinson (pipe dream, imo)... Autzen does not have a much bigger architectural footprint than Drake. It's possible, but it likely won't happen, because not only do we face LA challenges, we don't have the collective administrative and financial willpower to get it done. So, as always, it's an uphill battle.
Any thoughts? Any hope for change on these fronts? Bueller?