When Alabama takes the field against LSU for the second time there will be a lot more at stake than a crystal football and bragging rights. The winner of the Coaches' Trophy will get a leg-up in the recruiting game.
At the moment, Nick Saban and Alabama seem to have the advantage. There are a whopping nine prospects in ESPNU's Top 150 who are already verbally committed to the Tide, while LSU has only four.
The recruiting scales could certainly tip if Les Miles and the LSU Tigers were to beat Alabama three times in a row, and the third coming in the National Championship no less.
LSU is already a powerful recruiting school, and having a coach with two National Championship rings would put Miles on Nick Saban's level, possibly higher.
As far as geographic locations go, Saban and Miles aren't afraid to go out of state to get what they want, but they typically don't haul in recruits from the other's state. LSU has six total players from Alabama, and Alabama has only four from Louisiana.
However, among those four that Alabama landed are stud running back Eddie Lacy and speedy wide receiver Brad Sylve. Both were 4-star prospects that LSU sought to land.
The competition won't involve the states of Alabama and Louisiana much, but the other pipeline states could become a battle zone for Saban and Miles.
Florida and Mississippi are the two prime states where the recruiting fight could escalate.
Mississippi is wedged between Alabama and Louisiana and some solid talent comes from there. There are few options for highly-touted prospects from Mississippi, as Ole Miss and Mississippi State rarely go anywhere meaningful in any given season. The big fish are heavily recruited by Alabama and LSU.
Florida is the state Saban and Miles attempt to scour each and every year. It is a recruiting hotbed and arguably the best place to find talent in recent years. Nick Saban has caught some big players from the state, including Trent Richardson, Demetrius Hart, Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and Ed Stinson.
Alabama has the edge over LSU in Florida as well, but that could change as well.
Miles is out from under Saban's shadow and is building a reputation as a sustainer of a winning program and a developer of NFL-quality players. Should he and the Tigers bring home another National Championship it will make them much more competitive with Alabama in recruiting.
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