Not every year is going to be a banner-recruiting run for a program. Recruiting is such a tricky operation and there's not a science to it at all. So sometimes, a given recruiting cycle just doesn't pan out favorably or as favorably as previous years for a program.
It's going to happen for a few programs within this 2014 cycle. That's just how things go, as there have to be losers when people are competing to be winners. Many variables can be the cause of a subpar recruiting season. From a coach rumored to be on the hot seat, a program losing an ace recruiter, pending NCAA sanctions and also the rise of another program.
As you can tell by now, the following read will be about five programs who I think could be on track to having subpar overall recruiting seasons. Sure, they'll land some good prospects, but perhaps when the final recruiting rankings are rolled out next February, you may see these programs ranked a little lower than usual.
Now before Tommy Trojan comes after me with his shield and sword in hand, hear me out. USC is still a recruiting juggernaut, but the Trojans have been replaced by Alabama as the premier offer in recruiting.
Lane Kiffin is facing some heat after a disappointing 2013 campaign, and while the Trojans are extending out a lot of out of state offers, they could strike out on quite a few of those national prospects.
Plus, locally, Jim Mora and UCLA are not going anywhere and it's the Bruins who have the mojo right now.
Funny, I just said Alabama and not USC is the premier offer in recruiting, so how is the Crimson Tide on this list?
Well, as I said in the intro, every year can't be a banner run on the recruiting trail. Not even for Nick Saban and mighty 'Bama, or can it?
Seriously, one of these years Saban has to have a few strike outs, doesn't he? He brings in No. 1 ranked classes year after year, so the depth chart has to start to scare recruits away at some point, right?
Perhaps that point in time could be the 2014 recruiting cycle.
Mark Helfrich has made Oregon more aggressive in the early phases of recruiting during his first year replacing Chip Kelly. So there have been some tweaks to the Ducks' recruiting approach.
Though I think they'll help, this 2014 cycle could be a subpar one for Oregon. Kelly was a rock star draw for the Ducks and I know the brand will stay the same, but it'll be different with a new driver, and recruits may need some time to see for themselves that things are pretty much the same in Eugene.
Also, I'd imagine those major violations and pending sanctions will be used negatively against the Ducks by rival coaches on the trail.
The Tigers are a program of mystery these days. Are they rebuilding for the future or does Gus Malzahn feel they can compete right away?
Can Malzahn continue the recruiting standard Gene Chizik established? Does he have what it takes to beat Nick Saban out for recruits?
Many more questions lurk for Auburn, some also pertaining to the NCAA sniffing around the program. Like Oregon, rival coaches are going to use this against the people on The Plains and all of this could lead to a down year in recruiting for Auburn.
One of the better recruiting schools in the Big 12 out of Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State or TCU or perhaps all of them will be affected by the rise of Texas A&M.
The Aggies have a ton of mojo right now and it doesn't appear to be temporary. The fact that Kevin Sumlin's staff can tell a recruit he can stay in Texas while still playing in the SEC makes a major difference.
There's a ton of pluses for Texas A&M right now, and the Sooners, Longhorns, Bears, Cowboys, Horned Frogs or all of them will be affected -- negatively.
The Aggies are going to take recruits from all of those schools, as their 2013 recruiting class was just the beginning of the rise of a new recruiting power. So one, perhaps all, may be in store for slightly down recruiting years.
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 and Cleveland Browns.