Does Recruit Oversigning Partially Explain SEC's BCS Dominance?

Kevin TrahanAnalyst IMay 31, 2010

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Running back Ben Tate #44 of the Auburn Tigers rushes upfield against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Outback Bowl January 1, 2010 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Recruit oversigning has become a hot topic in recent weeks, and the high amount of recruits brought in each year by SEC schools has caused fans to question the fairness of the recruiting process.

Now SEC fans, don't take this as an unwarranted attack. Trust me, I wouldn't dare question your clear superiority over college football.

But one fact that can't be argued is that SEC teams consistently sign more recruits each year than teams from other conferences.

An analysis at explains that SEC teams sign 227 recruits per year, and the second place conference--the Big 12--has signed 98 less players since 2002.

Before we proceed, it's important to note that oversigning isn't illegal. As long as teams stay within the bounds of 85 scholarship players on their roster each year, they can sign as many players as they want.

But is it an unfair advantagea loophole in the system?

Judging by the numbers it may not be.

Many attacks on the SEC are warranted. The cockiness, the cheating, etc...

But oversigning, while it may be present in the SEC, doesn't give the conference an unfair advantage.

First, compare the teams at the top and bottom of the listAuburn and Northwestern. The Tigers sign more recruits per year than any other team at 28.11 signees, while the Wildcats are tied for the smallest number per year with Stanford at 18.89 each season.

The teams played each other in the 2010 Outback Bowl, a game which Auburn won 38-35 in overtime. Both teams were evenly matched and oversigning didn't seem to have an effect on the outcome of the game.

Plus, the relative strength of teams that oversign is anything but overwhelming.

The top seven teams : Auburn, Mississippi State, Iowa State, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas State, and Ole Miss, respectivelyhardly an overwhelming bunch. Granted, Alabama was the next team in line, but you get the point.

Not only are most of the top oversigners underwhelming, but some of the best teams in college football sign the smallest number of recruits.

Ohio State, Florida, Texas, and Iowa, all of whom finished in the final AP top ten, are in the bottom half for number of signees per BCS school. ACC champion Georgia Tech signs only 19.66 recruits per year and Notre Dame, along with the Buckeyes, signs only 20 recruits per year.

What this list most clearly shows is that teams who carefully sign a small number of solid players instead of signing as many as possible are the ones that prosper.

So for all the things that the SEC can be blamed for, an unfair advantage due to oversigning isn't one.