6 Schools That Would Recruit Better If They Were in Different Conferences
There are some programs that show signs of becoming a recruiting juggernaut. Maybe there is one thing that is holding them back, such as their location, lack of tradition, frequent coaching changes or even just their conference.
Conference membership does play a role in a recruit's decision; just ask Greg Bryant. Recruits want to play in the best and most competitive conferences so they can be showcased in BCS bowls.
Another way conference affiliation comes into play is if some schools were in a different conference than their regional foes, they could offer a different alternative to recruits.
Here are six programs that could be better recruiting schools if they were in different conferences.
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Even though Pete Garcia announced that he had fired Mario Cristobal today (ESPN.com), FIU has some good things going for them.
For starters, they sit in South Florida and the talent that walks around the region of the country is ridiculous. Some prospects that are growing now may not be familiar with rival Miami's glory days.
If FIU were in a BCS conference, they could offer local South Florida players a solid alternative to stay home yet play for BCS bowls.
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Rutgers is already in a BCS conference, but the Big East probably won't be considered a "major" conference pretty soon.
The Scarlet Knights will eventually land in the Big Ten and their recruiting could skyrocket. I've lived in the state of New Jersey and I can testify how serious the people there take their football.
Solid recruiting grounds are around Piscataway, where Rutgers can keep players like Brian Cushing, Eli Woodard, Yuri Wright and Kevin Olsen home.
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Personally, I think Houston is a high profile coaching hire and a conference change away from being on the right track. If your program is in a talent rich area such as the Cougars are, leaving Conference USA may be all it takes to become an elite recruiting school.
San Diego State
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The Aztecs could have some pretty potent things to sell to recruits if they were in another conference, preferably a BCS one.
At initial thought, they are in beautiful San Diego and we all know location is everything. Next, talent is all over Southern California and SDSU could contend for recruits with other Pac-12 schools.
Until then, the Aztecs will continue trying to sell recruits on playing in the dying Mountain West conference.
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Skip Holtz got fired after three years, but there is a reason why so many coaches want this job: you can win here.
In fact, if USF were in the ACC or SEC, they would be able to land a few more high-profile recruits. Vernon Hargreaves II could have convinced his son that going to Florida wouldn't be overly different than playing at home in Tampa.
The Bulls are a program that could get major things accomplished even without changing conferences; all they need is the right coach.
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Mark Dantonio has it tough as a recruiter. He coaches a program that routinely has to go against three programs that are among the elite classic staples of the sport in Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
To make things even harder, both the Wolverines and Buckeyes are conferences foes for Michigan State.
I don't know what conference the Spartans could move to, nor am I even saying they should move. I just recognize that recruiting at Michigan State may be tougher than recruiting at any other prominent BCS program in college football.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.