Welcome to the midst of way-too-early college football preview season. Unsurprisingly, UTSA has received little love from pundits across the nation. Coming off a four win season and returning just five starters, it's hard to predict anything more than a .500 season without coming across as a gigantic, bumbling homer (Just setting the scene for my own season preview here).
I don't need to tell you this but 2015 is not going to be UTSA's year. As someone that's been feverishly optimistic throughout every step of the Roadrunners' FBS transition, even I struggle to find seven feasible wins against this year's daunting schedule.
If we entertain the thought that this UTSA team gels early and racks up wins in conference, it's still nearly impossible to imagine them having the firepower to knock out Marshall or Western Kentucky in a conference championship. And hey, that's perfectly okay!
College football, especially at the mid major level, is a cyclical game. There shouldn't be any shame in having a rebuilding year or, if you're Georgia, a rebuilding decade. Recruiting is difficult, and even great recruiting classes often take three years to really start contributing.
I'm here to propose that UTSA uses this season to build for the future.
I'm not saying that the Roadrunners' shouldn't place their best athletes on the field or to not fight and claw like hell to win every time they step on the gridiron. But if a freshman and a senior are neck-and-neck for a position battle why not give the freshman an opportunity to build experience so that UTSA can translate that experience into a true championship run in the future?
It was smart for UTSA to bring in an experienced transfer quarterback. Russell Bellomy will bring stability and leadership to a young quarterback unit that could certainly use a little bit more of both. Bellomy can teach UTSA's young quarterbacks how to work and study like a Division I quarterback. That's important.
But every unofficial report out of summer workouts have Bellomy and freshman Blake Bogenschutz evenly matched in both physical ability and intangibles. If the two athletes are as evenly matched as rumor has it, UTSA is doing itself a disservice by not giving Bogenschutz starting duties.
UTSA has underclassmen all over its offense. David Morgan, Kenny Bias, and Aaron Grubb are the only impact skill position players that will graduate in 2015. There's intrinsic value in letting the rest of the young offense develop chemistry and a strong bond with a quarterback that will be in the huddle with them for the following years, especially when Bogenschutz already has the respect and trust of his teammates.
Given Bellomy's abysmal statistics at Michigan it's hard to project him being that much better than Bogenschutz. Let's give Bellomy the benefit of the doubt and say that he ends up being worth one extra win than Bogenschutz in 2015. That one win difference could be the difference between five wins or six, granting UTSA a potential bowl invite. Not bad. On the flipside, even if Bogenschutz is worth one less win in 2015, he'll provide a huge future value over the following three years.
No one will become "The Next Boise State™" by stringing together a nice multi-year run of attendance at the Popeyes' Bahama Bowl or the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. It's going to take major upsets on the national stage and College Football Playoff bids. A mid major program simply isn't going to get to that level by rehauling its roster every year.
Hand the keys to Bogie. Show your faith in the young man. Build for the future.