Finishing in the Top 10 of any given overall recruiting class rankings is a good sign for most programs in college football.
For many programs though, it's an expectation. Just ask Alabama, Florida, Ohio State or LSU fans what they would do if their program finished outside of the Top 10.
It would not be a pretty scene.
Before we move on, let's clear up what I would consider to be a powerhouse team though.
Elite teams would be the programs like Alabama, Florida, LSU and Ohio State—the ones we expect to be in contention for the national title and their production on the field makes them elite draws on the recruiting trail.
The step below that would be powerhouse, where we have teams that are ultra-competitive and have been elite in the past, or show the potential to be in the future. A program like Michigan should be considered a powerhouse right now, and that's starting to become evident on the recruiting trail.
Texas A&M shows the potential to be a powerhouse, and there are quite a few more programs that could be put into the powerhouse category.
Powerhouses should come away with top recruiting classes.
There's still a long way to go but with those parameters set, here are three powerhouses that are expected to do well on the recruiting trail, but will not make it into the top ten overall class rankings in 2014:
There was a time where we could consider Texas elite, but now they're on the outside looking in.
The real sign of Texas' downfall is the emergence of Texas A&M both on the field and in recruiting. It used to be that the Longhorns were a proverbial lock for many elite in-state recruits, and all Texas had to do was fight off some of the "big fish" from around the country from coming in and stealing recruits away.
Nowadays though, Texas A&M has become the major recruiting draw within the state, and Kevin Sumlin and his program are starting to recruit the players that Texas would once have a major foothold with. Throw in Oklahoma in regards to Big 12 recruiting, and the Longhorns all of a sudden have their work cut out for them.
Texas is currently ranked No. 2 overall (247Sports Composite), but it's still very early. If (when) Texas struggles on the field again this season, I expect there will be more questions than answers surrounding the future and direction of the program. That will not bode well on the recruiting trail, and it will keep the Longhorns out of the Top 10 for 2014.
It started with the poor play on the field and the negative momentum increased due to a handful decommitments It's worth noting that not all of the decommitments were recruits spurning USC, but there were still a handful of former big-time USC commitments that ended up elsewhere on signing day. Five-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes are amongst the two most notable.
Will USC finish with a top ten recruiting class in 2014?
If the Trojans don't live up to expectations again during the 2013 season, that bad momentum from the 2013 recruiting cycle could very well carry over. Also, consider the fact that head coach Jim Mora is building a legitimate Pac-12 contender over at UCLA and he's experiencing a ton of success on the recruiting trail himself.
The emergence of UCLA in recruiting will only continue to hurt USC as well.
Add up all these factors, and it's tough to see USC finishing with a top ten recruiting class.
I wouldn't blame it all on head coach Mark Richt though, as it's a simple matter of competition. Consider the fact that Georgia produces some of the best college football recruits in the country on a yearly basis, which means that every major program in the country will be trying to dip into the state's talent pool.
Much like Texas, everybody wants to establish a pipeline in Georgia, and that doesn't help the Bulldogs out in any way shape or form.
Case in point, 247Sports has two state of Georgia recruits ranked as 5-stars in defensive end Lorenzo Carter and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillian. Carter has Georgia listed as a "warm interest" according to 247Sports, but the same could be said for Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, USC and Vanderbilt.
Georgia has its work cut out if it wants to keep Carter in state as a Bulldog, to say the least.
In McMillians case, he has Clemson and Ohio State on top of his interest list.
The competition is fierce in SEC country and Georgia is right in the middle of many recruiting battles. That makes it hard for Richt to really lock-down those elite in-state recruits that could take his class from very good to great.
Georgia is a team that I expect to compete with the likes of Florida, Alabama and LSU in the SEC, so hypothetically the Bulldogs should be bringing in top classes.
In Richt's case, being on this list is not as much as an indictment against him as it is for Brown and Kiffin, but the Bulldogs find themselves here none the less. I expect we'll see Georgia on the outside of the Top 10 class rankings in 2014.