There's no doubting the fact that the USC Trojans struggled to live up to their lofty expectations on the football field in 2012, and when you struggle on the football field, it ultimately will impact you in the realm of recruiting.
To his credit, head coach Lane Kiffin has done a great job of recruiting and keeping his No. 1-ranked 2013 class (according to Rivals.com) intact for the most part, but not everything can be measured in recruiting.
USC's disappointing season hasn't directly hurt its recruiting class much, but it has helped two of its biggest rivals—UCLA and Notre Dame.
USC's 7-5 season will be something that both Notre Dame and UCLA can use to help their chances on the recruiting trail, if only because they both played a huge role in adding to the disappointment.
The big thing that UCLA can point to is that, at least for this season, it is on top of the college football world in the city of L.A. Jim Mora's squad beat the Trojans 38-28 in an extremely impressive win, and it's one that had to go a long way in impressing recruits.
Regional recruiting is extremely important to the success of a program, and in the case of Mora and the Bruins, it's vital when it comes to rebuilding a program.
For the next year, until these two programs meet again, Mora and his staff can tell recruits that his team beat USC in a huge game with a spot in the Pac-12 Championship on the line. If UCLA goes on to win the Pac-12, that win against USC becomes even more meaningful.
Either way, it's a marquee win that can be used to show recruits that the Bruins are on their way back to the top of the Pac-12.
Any time you can beat a regional rival, it goes a long way in recruiting.
The same can be said for Notre Dame, except in its case, there are national recruiting implications.
The whole college football world was watching Saturday night as Notre Dame marched into the Coliseum and beat the Trojans 22-13. In the process, the Fighting Irish secured an undefeated 12-0 regular season and a spot in the BCS National Championship game.
I shouldn't have to explain how important those two milestones will be for Brian Kelly and his recruiting staff.
The fact that USC is one of Notre Dame's rivals is just one of the great side notes in Notre Dame's epic win, and it's one that the Fighting Irish can point to for a long time on the recruiting trail.
This was a win that had historic implications, so it's one that will have a long-lasting impact with recruits. Even in three or four years, Notre Dame will be able to pitch this game as one of the great historical moments in Fighting Irish history and that in itself will help draw in recruits.
Either way you look at it, USC's 2012 season has been disappointing, but when you consider how the Trojans helped out their rivals on the recruiting trail both now and in the future, it makes it even worse.
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