14 College Football Games That Are Huge for the 2014 Recruiting Cycle

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMay 16, 2013

14 College Football Games That Are Huge for the 2014 Recruiting Cycle

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    This figures to be a special 2013 season in college football. The BCS era is winding down, but all programs will still be fighting for the crystal ball. While many disagree, some say that the outcome of games between two schools vying for the same recruits has little impact on recruiting. 

    Whether you believe that, there are still many games that will have huge recruiting implications on the line in 2013. From Texas A&M trying to show recruits its upset over Alabama last year wasn't a fluke, USC's attempt at revenge and redemption in big-time games to Michigan and Ohio State squaring off yet again.

    Here are 14 games that are huge for the 2014 recruiting cycle.

Florida at Miami, September 7th

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    The Gators will travel to Miami to play the 'Canes in early September. With both schools making up two-thirds of the "Big 3 Florida Powers" in recruiting, one can best believe Sunshine State prospects will be watching this.

    Both schools recruit against one another on a daily basis and many of their current players know each other well. This is will be a big game with huge recruiting implications. 

Notre Dame at Michigan, September 7th

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    As usual, the Golden Domers and Big Blue will get it on in the early part of the season. It's a shame that this rivalry will begin a hiatus soon.

    However, one thing that will not stop between Michigan and Notre Dame is their recruiting rivalry. Both programs are in the Midwest and also recruit nationally, so they bump into each other in their region and in other territories as well.

    There will be excitement in the air and recruits will be watching, if not there, on the sidelines. 

Alabama at Texas A&M, September 14th

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    The premier program in the country and SEC travels to perhaps the new "it" school in the country and SEC. Johnny Football will welcome Nick Saban's boys to his house this year.

    Seeing how Manziel matches wits with Saban's defense will be a sight to see. The game will also be a sight for recruits to see, as seeing if the Aggies are for real would go a long way in Kevin Sumlin's effort to elevate A&M's recruiting to the elite level. 

Florida at LSU, October 12th

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    Baton Rouge will welcome Will Muschamp and Florida on the 12th of October. These are two of the best programs in the SEC and country, so this game will feature a lot of talent.

    Also, both schools recruit with a juggernaut sense and go after many of the same players. LSU surely will host a big recruiting weekend and have many star-studded recruits at this game. 

Oklahoma at Texas, October 12th in Dallas, TX

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    The Red River Rivalry will have its 108th football game played this year and this will be an interesting one to watch. Texas has been "down" recently, but Mack Brown still has been hauling in great classes.

    Oklahoma will have to replace Landry Jones and at QB, and this game will tell the country a lot about Bob Stoops' 2013 team. Of course, many recruits will be watching as both schools routinely recruit the same prospects.

    A win for both teams would go a long way in both having a successful 2013 season and recruiting. 

USC at Notre Dame, October 19th

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    Lane Kiffin enters his first season without Matt Barkley at the helm. Whoever wins the USC QB gig will have to lead the team into South Bend to face a solid Irish defense.

    Both schools are national recruiting powers and several recruits in this 2014 class are considering both of them, including TE Tyler Luatua. The Trojans have heard many whispers of a decline, decrease in talent and that Kiffin is on the hot seat.

    A win here would help Kiffin's seat get cooler and also perhaps re-jolt USC's recruiting back to prominence. 

Georgia at Florida, November 2nd in Jacksonville, FL

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    This will be another crucial SEC game that has an effect on the 2014 recruiting cycle. A win here for either coach would be another selling point for them on the recruiting trail.

    There is not much else left to say about this game, as Florida-Georgia is always a big deal on and off the field. Nothing will be different about this year. 

Miami at Florida State, November 2nd

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    These two Florida juggernauts don't care for one another. The rivalry is both on the field and on the recruiting trail. Sunshine State recruiting is a competitive feat, which is why beating the other team on the field is so crucial so the winning program can have more to sell to prospects.

    This game will be a big one (as usual), and with Miami looking to get back to the elite status of recruiting, a win over the 'Noles would be huge. FSU never wants to lose to a rival and beating the Hurricanes would give it pole position to many in-state Florida recruits. 

LSU at Alabama, November 9th

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    Anyone who thought that this game would not be on this list was sadly mistaken. The Tigers and Crimson Tide have perhaps the best rivalry on the field and in recruiting right now in the country.

    With recruits like RB Leonard Fournette and OT Cameron Robinson having LSU and Alabama as their top two schools, it is not hard to see why this game is huge.

    Les Miles' and Nick Saban's personalities are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, and they run their programs vastly different from one another too. Each style has been successful on the field and in recruiting. 

Texas A&M at LSU, November 23rd

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    Kevin Sumlin and Johnny Manziel will make a late-season trip to Baton Rouge for what hopefully is a night game. The atmosphere will be electric and this game should be a big one.

    Texas A&M is trying to prove that it belongs in the SEC and among the elite programs in the conference. That effort to prove itself also extends to the recruiting trail, where a win over LSU would be big.

    With LSU trying expanding its recruiting reach deeper into Texas, a win for the Tigers would be great with so many Texan recruits likely watching this game. 

UCLA at USC, November 30th

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    Jim Mora will be looking for his second consecutive win over USC this year. Lane Kiffin will be looking to beat Mora and dispel any talk about the Bruins passing the Trojans.

    If UCLA wins, it can sell itself as the new "it" school in UCLA with a "cool" head coach and upstart angle to LA prospects. A USC win would help it sell to recruits that not much is changing and the Trojans are still dominant.

    This game always has an effect on the Los Angeles, California and Pac-12 recruiting trail.

Ohio State at Michigan, November 30th

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    The Buckeyes and Wolverines are a classic rivalry and this game always is a joy to watch. Many recruits, not only regionally, but nationally consider both schools, so the winner usually gets the extra needed juice on the trail.

    Both programs would love to get that juice this year to help them close out and finish with a Top 10 recruiting class.

Florida State at Florida, November 30th

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    These schools fight over the same recruits every day of the year and this is a nasty rivalry. Many players on each team considered the other school and probably even visited there too.

    That is why both Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp will come into this game with fired up football teams looking to win. The winner of this game each year gets bragging rights, which goes a long way when recruiting against the other school.

    The 'Noles and Gators will slug it out of the 30th of November, then go back to slugging it out for recruits until they meet again. 

Virginia Tech at Virginia, November 30th

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    The state of Virginia is the middle of maybe its best year for in-state prospects ever.

    With prospects like Andrew Brown and several others considering both the Cavaliers and Hokies, this will be a bigger game than normal.

    It is a huge year in Virginia state recruiting and this will be a huge game for Frank Beamer and Mike London. 


    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.