College football teams depend on getting good recruits every year. If you get good players, you will have good seasons. Teams need to have the pipeline of recruiting flowing. In order to capture a good player, programs must have several factors working all at once.
Occasionally, a coach and his staff can overcome one of these intangibles being "out of commission." While it is rare, a staff can overcome a losing season and have a wonderful recruiting year. But if a team keeps losing, even the best of staffs can not recruit well.
One of the most important factors in recruiting are facilities. Of course, the most obvious of these is the stadium itself.
For instance, if a young man has narrowed his choices down to UNC and Duke, the stadium could be the factor that pushes the young man to become a Tar Heel. Both schools have wonderful coaches, both play in the ACC and both are outstanding academic schools.
For the sake of argument, let us say that both teams won seven games the year before. In this scenario, UNC might have the edge because of Kenan Stadium.
Now let's say, you do not have a stadium. You play your home games in a pro stadium some 40 minutes from campus. Of course, I am referring to the University of Miami.
Last year, Miami averaged 43,589 fans in the Orange Bowl. That includes 62,000 who showed up for the last game Miami would play there.
The point is, Miami fans do not show up in the same manner as fans of Florida and FSU. (The Cane fans may be out late on Friday nights. After all, it is Miami.)
These same fans, especially students, are not going to get up and travel 30 to 45 minutes for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Dolphin Stadium. It is doubtful that attendance will increase for Miami games.
Randy Shannon had an outstanding recruiting year. The head coach had to sell young men to play for a team that had a losing record and no home field.
No coach in the ACC, SEC or any other major conference had to overcome both of these distractions and STILL get a top recruiting class.
But how long can Miami keep digging before the hole becomes a grave? Over the last two years, Miami has a losing record, 12-13. Since being a part of the ACC, Miami has won just 50 percent of their conference games.
Miami has not been ranked since losing at Louisville in the third game of the 2006 season. Putting that another way, Miami joins Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina as the only other ACC teams with the distinction of not being ranked during the same time span.
At what point will the Miami faithful and those wonderful south Florida athletes start not believing in the mystique of Miami football? Fans not showing up to watch a team lose will not look good to recruits.
If Miami has another losing season and the attendance drops, is the hangman far behind for the program that has given us all so many fond memories?