As we approach bowl season and the holidays, that also is a mark to us recruiting followers that we're inching closer and closer to National Signing Day. We're starting to round into the home stretch of this 2013 recruiting cycle.
There are several prominent programs that are a bit behind than normal pace on the recruiting trail. These programs are in need of a strong finish to sign a solid class this year. If not, they face the danger of not signing a top 25 class, which are below standards for these programs.
Here are six programs that we need to see a jolt and strong finish from in 2013 college football recruiting.
The folks in Fort Worth got what they wanted when the Big 12 added them. TCU wanted to be in a BCS conference and compete with the big boys on a regular basis.
Well, to do that, you need need to recruit like a big boy too.
Right now, Scout.com ranks TCU's class 41st in the country. Gary Patterson isn't going anywhere, so making that known to recruits should be a priority now.
The Horned Frogs lost out on DT Justin Manning to A&M, but they should be able to add more depth to their 15-commit class.
The Cardinals have been in the news quite a bit as of late. First, they announced that they were moving to the ACC, then they got into the Orange Bowl with a win over Rutgers.
Then, after that, their coach, Charlie Strong, flirted with Tennessee, only to sign an extension to stay at Louisville. Now, it's time Strong improve his recruiting class of only nine commits.
A strong finish in Louisville's case (no pun intended) would start by landing WR James Quick.
The Sooners likely will have a top 25 class, but this group isn't as highly ranked and rated as past OU recruiting classes. RB Keith Ford leads a class that also features DE D.J. Ward and QB Cody Thomas, among others.
A strong start is need by OU not only to improve its rankings, but also because its rivals are doing well. Texas has a top 10 class, and Oklahoma State is in position to get into the top 25 recruiting rankings too.
The Sooners must finish strong to keep up. Landing DT Maquedius Bain and WR Laquon Treadwell would go a long way.
Auburn's recruiting class has been breaking apart for awhile. LB Reuben Foster has de-committed, RB Jordan Wilkins could be the next to bolt, Trey Johnson has already left and you have to think Rutgers is all over Tashawn Bower.
Even Carl Lawson is another possible de-commit candidate. Gus Malzahn must find a way to piece this class back together and finish strong in his initial recruiting cycle as head coach on The Plains.
If not, Auburn will only fall that much further behind Alabama, and Malzahn's tenure will get off to an even more rocky start.
David Shaw has a quality class right now, but it only possesses 10 commitments. QB Ryan Burns is the top prospect, and several other prospects will be starters on The Farm.
Yet Shaw and his assistants must attack the recruiting trail hard to finish strong. Stanford, unfortunately due to its lack of quantity, may not crack the top 25 rankings.
They must keep the quality of the class while still adding more pieces to it. WR Jordan Cunningham, DE Austin Hooper and WR Devon Allen would help.
Oregon is in a similar position to Stanford's, as it has a quality class, but it's small. Chip Kelly holds just 11 commitments right now, and this class need a little more depth to it.
A strong finish would help this solid recruiting class that features RB Thomas Tyner, OT Evan Voeller and WR Darren Carrington. Giving up on S Max Redfield is not the way to go for the Ducks if they want to finish this cycle strong.
If Kelly can convince S Leon McQuay, RB Derrick Green, ATH Tarean Folston and LB Mike Mitchell to head to Eugene, then his class should be strengthened.
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.