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Yes the actual season is over, but there is still plenty to talk about. At College Sports Matchups our job is to give you the most information and your job is to keep the conversation going.
Now, on to the talking points.
The second most important season is in full swing
Right now grown men are scurrying around the nation making promises to high school seniors about their college and NFL futures (example: Florida State telling natural linebacker James Wilder of Tampa he can play running back…his first love).
There are countless others of us that sign on several times a day to check the gossip mill (Rivals and Scout) to see what the latest news is regarding some 3-star guy who has our favorite school on his short list of 20. We then hold our collective breath as they sit at a table in their high school gym with all those hats lined up as we wait to see if they put our school’s on.
So how important is recruiting? Well, you don’t win many games without good players and typically the best players in high school become the same in college.
Here are the top ten players from Rivals Top 100 in 2007: Jimmy Clausen, Joe McKnight, Eric Berry, Ryan Mallett, Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Marvin Austin, Ronald Johnson, Torrey Davis and Josh Oglesby
Here is how they have fared:
- Clausen’s career at Notre Dame was not the success many envisioned, but he was still one of the best QBs in college football. Clausen is a quarterback with the Carolina Panthers.
- McKnight had a solid career at USC even if he was not the second coming of Reggie Bush. He is playing with the New York Jets.
- Berry was an all-world safety at Tennessee and just finished a strong rookie year with the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Mallett went to Michigan but transferred to Arkansas after Rich Rodriguez came to Ann Arbor. Mallet has stamped his name all over the Razorbacks record book and will be a high pick in the 2011 NFL Draft this spring.
- Dunlap was the 54th pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2010 NFL draft after a stellar career at Florida.
- Griffen started well at USC but had issues with complacency his second season. He went back to work and finished well for the Trojans. He recorded 11 tackles for the Minnesota Vikings last year.
- Austin is expected to be a high pick in the NFL draft this year as a defensive tackle.
- Johnson has enjoyed a solid career at USC as a receiver and will be playing in the Senior Bowl this Saturday.
- Torrey Davis transferred from Florida to Jacksonville State after academic issues and personal problems. He had a free-agent opportunity in the NFL that has not worked out so far.
- Oglesby missed the 2010 season with a knee injury after starting 10 games in 2009 at right tackle for Wisconsin. If all goes well in his rehab he will be taken by someone in the NFL draft in 2012.
Recruiting matters, but don’t believe that one player is going to be the guy that makes or breaks a program. Even Cam Newton did not win a national title for Auburn by himself. There are plenty of Auburn people that will tell you Nick Fairley was actually the MVP for the Tigers. Michael Dyer was also pretty important rushing the football against Oregon.
Recruiting is more art than science. If it was something that could be measured just by the numbers and performances from high school, guys like Mike Lupati and Jerry Hughes would not be playing in the NFL today. Lupati and Hughes were both first round draft picks in last year’s NFL draft.
Lupati was a guard at Idaho who actually had to walk on because of academic issues, and Hughes was a leader of the TCU defense in his senior year. What do they have in common? Both were 2-star guys coming out of high school.
USC thought it was a “good and fair” hearing by the NCAA
This past weekend USC went before the NCAA to appeal their sanctions in the wake of the Reggie Bush violations.
You will recall that USC was forced to give up 30 football scholarships over three years as a result of the infractions. The Trojans are also ineligible for postseason play for two years and have been forced to vacate several victories, including the national title game win over Oklahoma in 2005.
The reaction from the current administration at USC is very different than the one former Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett had when the penalties were initially handed down and he declared the college athletics governing body jealous of USC.
This time all the Trojan brass was in lock step with their pronouncements that the hearing was “good and fair.”
The odds of success with the NCAA in appeal are long. Only 10 percent are successful. Why? Basically the group has to agree that they were wrong with the penalties to start with. It is not often the NCAA thinks they are wrong.
What statement from the NCAA regarding the penalties gives Trojans fans the biggest case of indigestion? The one where they said “High-profile players merit high-profile enforcement.”
Trojan fans have a right to feel the NCAA is not practicing what they preach with Cam Newton and the gang at Ohio State.
Become a television star at Texas
Texas and ESPN announced their new network deal that will pay the Longhorn’s $300 million over 20 years. When the network is launched in September, it will broadcast Texas events all day, every day. All the Texas football, track, cross country and high school football games you might want.
What? The Texas network will be broadcasting games of players Texas is actually recruiting? Yep. It seems this might be something the NCAA would want to think about. There are strict rules about even showing a recruit's image on the video board when he is on a visit to an empty stadium.
Besides this obvious issue there are other concerns about Big 12 competiveness and the stability of the conference. Some see this as an initial step toward independence for the Longhorns, a move that would obviously have a great impact on their fellow Big 12 members.
While football is driving the bus, Texas just assured they will have even more money, as if they needed it, to be able to have the best facilities, coaches and opportunities for athletes in all sports.
This move should send a shiver down the spine of every fan of any sport in the Big 12.
Did Texas have the right to go out and make this deal? You bet. Is it good for college football? The jury is out for now.
Who wins the major conferences in 2012?
How will the conferences races shake out in 2012? Here is a quick guess, subject to revision.
ACC—Florida State football is on the upswing and we like the Seminoles to be back at the top of the ACC in 2011. Why? Plenty of returning starters and impact freshmen in the recruiting class. Why not? Offensive line loses some long-term players.
Big 12—Forget just a conference title. Many are picking Oklahoma to win the whole thing in college football next year as Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and Travis Lewis are all back. They are among 35 of the first 44 players coming back in Norman. Why not? Oklahoma State has plenty of returning talent as well and has made Bedlam competitive.
Big East—Just call it a hunch, but Syracuse football has a real shot to win the conference and head to a BCS game next year. Why? An improved offense and too many distractions at West Virginia. Why not? The Mountaineers manage their coaching transition year well.
Big Ten—Plenty of returning talent makes Wisconsin the choice to win the Big Ten football title. Why? There are two running backs who rushed for over 1,000 yards returning, a strong offensive line and the defense will be even better. Why not? Scott Tolzien is no longer the QB. His leadership will be hard to replace.
Pac-10—Hmmmm…Oregon is it out West until someone proves they are not the team to beat. Why? QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James return to lead the prolific Duck offense. Why not? Oregon’s offense is less effective as they re-work the offensive line and the defense has to replace several key players.
SEC—Many are saying it is the year of the Tigers from Baton Rouge, but for now the nod goes to Nick Saban and his Alabama football team. Why? Most of the offensive line starters are back and the defense is experienced. Why not? Les Miles continues to be the luckiest guy in college football and gets a very talented LSU football team to the title.
Keep the conversation going till next time.