National Signing Day 2012: 10 Schools with Question Marks Going into Feb. 1

Alex HerbstContributor IFebruary 1, 2012

National Signing Day 2012: 10 Schools with Question Marks Going into Feb. 1

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    With so much chaos shaking up the coaching ranks of college football, many schools enter National Signing Day tomorrow with a large amount of uncertainty. The question marks loom large over many college football programs, and they range from the cream of the crop to the underbelly of the NCAA.

    One thing is for sure:  no one is safe from the question marks this college football offseason.

New Mexico

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    New Mexico has finally lured in their prize, but will their prize actually deliver?

    The signing of Bob Davie as coach of the Lobos turned many heads in the college football ranks.

    What's overlooked:  Davie's under-.500 record while coaching at Notre Dame.

    The presence of a big name like Davie is going to help New Mexico in recruiting, but it remains to be seen how big of an impact it will have. 

Ohio State

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    The Urban Meyer era has begun in Ohio State.

    After a year of embarrassment and a 6-6 record to boot, Meyer is looking to come into Ohio State and replicate his magic from Florida and Utah.

    However, with the NCAA continuing the breathe down the neck of the entire athletic department at Ohio State, would that steer away top recruits from a perennial Big Ten contender?

    I am not one to underestimate the recruiting power of Urban, but the NCAA investigation may kill the hopes of the Buckeyes in becoming a top-five recruiting class.

Florida International

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    Mario Cristobal has turned Florida International from a doormat of college football with consistent 1-11 and 2-10 finishes to a Sun Belt champion and bowl game contender.

    Cristobal led FIU to an 8-5 season after a loss to Marshall in the Beef 'O Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, but things still appeared on the up for the Panthers. Cristobal had finally gotten the university to buy into the football program and invest in new infrastructure for the growing program.

    However, with rumors that Cristobal may move on to greener pastures, could this hurt FIU's recruiting? The program will most certainly get a boost out of the great season of 2011, but the deciding factor for many players could be whether or not Cristobal will be able to stick around in the long term.


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    Let's face it: Arizona fell flat this season, disappointing many that thought that the Wildcats could contend for the Pac-12 South title in a year without USC being eligible for postseason play.

    Mike Stoops saw his job security fade rapidly throughout the season, forcing him out at midseason.

    Replacing him will be former West Virginia and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. "Rich Rod" will be looking to prove his doubters, including yours truly, wrong after embarrassing seasons at the "Big House." Rodriguez will most certainly be a boost to Arizona recruiting, but will it lead to the instant gratification that so many in college football are looking for?


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    Kansas would love to forget the Turner Gill era.

    Charlie Weis is hoping to do that for them.

    Can Weis can right a program that sat at the bottom of the Big 12, after reaching the highest of highs when they won the Orange Bowl less than a decade ago?

    Weis is an outstanding recruiter, as seen in his days coaching at Notre Dame and as a coordinator at Florida. However, Kansas is a whole different animal in recruiting against the best of the Big 12.


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    The Bruins of UCLA were the Pac-12 South champions this year, fought Oregon for the Pac-12 Championship and got to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

    Even with all of this, a 6-7 record doomed Rick Neuheisel to not getting another year to right the ship of the Bruins.

    Enter once again into the coaching ranks Jim Mora, whose last coaching endeavor did not go so well with the Seattle Seahawks, seeing him get replaced with USC's Pete Carroll.

    Mora, like so many of the new coaches in the college ranks, has plenty of coaching experience, but it has yet to be seen what he can do with recruiting. Having to compete against crosstown rival USC and the other powerhouses of the Pac-12 for top recruits may prove to be too much of a challenge for Mora and company, at least this year.


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    No time like the present for Greg Schiano to take his first crack at the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right?

    Not if you are a fan of the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.

    Due to Schiano's departure with only a week to go before National Signing Day, Rutgers is left scrambling to reassure recruits of the right coach to come and replace the man who turned Rutgers from 1-11 to a perennial Big East contender in just over a decade.

    They first targeted Florida International's Mario Cristobal for the task, but they were unable to come to terms on a deal.

    With that, Rutgers seems poised to remove the interim tag from the former Offensive Line coach Kyle Flood, a move that keeps continuity in-house but may still not sit well with all recruits.

Florida Atlantic

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    Well, the jokes of Florida Atlantic being the Schnellenbergers are over, after the legendary coach pictured retired at the end of the season from coaching the Owls.

    Replacing Howard Schnellenberger will be Carl Pelini, brother of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.

    Pelini certainly knows what he is doing when recruiting. What remains to be seen is if Pelini can bring the prestige to the Owls that Schnellenberger worked so hard to instill.

Miami (Fla.)

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    The Hurricanes can't seem to avoid the spotlight, which normally wouldn't sound like a problem to coach Al Golden.

    However, of late they have been in the news for all of the wrong reasons.

    With the Hurricanes marred in the middle of an NCAA investigation into illegal contributions from boosters to the program, and the decision to skip a bowl game in 2011 because of this, recruiting is almost guaranteed to take a bit.

    I hate to break it to Coach Golden, but no matter how you word what is going on at the school, it does not sound appealing to college recruits.

Penn State

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    This shouldn't come as a surprise to the informed reader.

    The combination of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, the firing of Joe Paterno, the hiring of Bill O'Brien from the Patriots, and the sad news of Joe Paterno's passing really hurt Penn State this year, one where they looked poised to contend up to the end for the Big Ten title and a BCS bowl bid.

    As much as all of this hurt the Nittany Lions this season, it looks even more likely it will have even graver implications this season, as in the wake of the Sandusky scandal recruits jumped ship in droves.

    It could be a long signing day tomorrow for the Happy Valley faithful.