It’s truly amazing how many college football games are won in February. Or March, or April, or May, or June, for that matter.
I’m not talking about the off-season work players and coaches do. There is little doubt the foundation to a good team is built in those crucial months, in the early morning weight-lifting sessions and conditioning that pays off on the big stage in the fall.
No, I’m talking about recruiting. The recruiting “experts” have worked themselves into a frenzy about Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer. Michigan landed eight players last weekend, all of which are sure-fire All-Americans that will bring multiple national titles to Ann Arbor, or so I’m told. The same success is almost as certain at Ohio State.
But I”m wondering when the last time a commitment from a high school kid who hasn’t even reached his senior year ever made a difference in a game. Sure, that kid might someday be a great player, but it is far from a guarantee. Maybe we should do away with overtime and if two teams are tied at the end of regulation, we’ll decide the winner by pulling out the previous season’s recruiting rankings. It seems it is that important these days.
I’ve said it many times, getting good players matters. But with the massive uncertainty of recruiting, it seems beyond reckless to assume a team, or teams, are headed for greatness based on commitments made in February.
Brady Hoke has coached one season at Michigan and Urban Meyer has yet to coach a single game at Ohio State, but apparently the rest of the conference’s coaches should just give up. Put away the playbooks, stop watching film, lock up the weight room — you have no chance. The “real” teams are back, the rest of you pretenders can go back to picking up the scraps.
Bret Bielema and Mark Dantonio have obviously been lucky the past few years while Michigan and Ohio State — with their “bad” recruiting classes that still ranked higher than Michigan State’s and Wisconsin’s — went through such hard times. Kirk Ferentz, Pat Fitzgerald, Bo Pelini? You guys missed your shot. The old guard is back, fellas. We’re headed back to days where you don’t matter. Michigan and Ohio State will take their rightful spots back, if you don’t mind.
Just remember, this is all based on the word of kids who haven’t played their senior seasons in high school yet.
Yeah, that makes sense to me.