Many of the college bowl matchups publicize the current state of the football programs: seniors playing their last games and players finishing memorable seasons.
Really, though, these games may have more to do with the future than what happens on that field.
While these players aim to end their season on a high note, high school hopefuls congregate at the stadiums and in front of their TVs to see their interested schools go at it.
A lasting impression could make all the difference at Signing Day in February. Bowl season is when the recruiting cycle really heats up.
Let’s look at the hottest recruiting battles of the 2012 bowl season.
MAACO Las Vegas: Washington vs. Boise State
Both Chris Peterson and Steve Sarkisian pluck Rivals 3-star recruits from all around California. As a result, the Las Vegas bowl matchup will give indication on which program is headed in the right direction.
Not to mention this is a strong West Coast matchup of nationally recognized programs.
Washington had a couple impressive wins throughout the season, including a win over Stanford.
Boise St. does Boise St. things, hovering around the Top 25 even in a “down year” for Peterson’s team.
If any of these recruits are torn between the two schools or merely just have one on their list, wouldn’t it be a good time to visit Las Vegas? Sure, these high schoolers may not be 21 just yet, but there’s no reason not to check out the “lay of the land.”
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
Usually the bowl schedule doesn’t get treated with battle between bordering states as we do in the Cotton Bowl, but with Texas A&M joining the SEC this could be an annual tradition.
A&M and Oklahoma recruit mainly from the Texas area, so they’ll be making sure this is the game in-state recruits will come and see.
Those slew of recruits that go to Dallas will be lucky to see a shootout of epic proportion.
On one side, Texas A&M may be the most inviting place for an offense skill player east of Oregon, because they can play with Johnny Manziel and in the SEC.
On the other hand, the Sooners are the perennial power in the Big 12, despite losing out on a BCS bid. The next best scenario to a BCS bowl would be beating an old rival near their recruiting base.
They’ll get their chance to make a huge recruiting impression.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Louisville vs. Florida
Many may think this game doesn’t have much recruiting intrigue, but Louisville has a lot to gain with a strong performance.
Louisville and Florida? What do they have in common?
Recruiting in the South, that’s what.
Cardinals coach Charlie Strong coached in Gainesville for over ten years, establishing recruiting ties all over the state.
Under Strong, Louisville manages to snag a few Florida recruits every year, including their QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was originally committed to Miami.
The Gators and Cardinals may not fight over a ton of recruits, but on the national stage, everyone will be watching.
The way recruiting goes today, it takes only one impression to change a high schooler’s mind.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheRealShiek