I love college football. The energy, the pageantry, and all its other BS just sucks me in. The dirty little, but not much of a secret is the disgusting world of recruiting high school athletes. We all know how filthy the whole recruiting biz iz, with the farther south you drive, the more sleazy it becomes. What makes the whole college football recruiting thing even sicker is the fine line between legal and criminal.
In a recent story by Stewart Mandel at SI.com, he has a list of college football’s Top 10 recruiters. Included is Penn State long-time assistant coach Tom Bradley, who has been bringing in Western PA gems for 25 years. Now if you are unaware, Joe Paterno runs a classy program, with a spotless record and a top-notch graduation rate. In Mandel’s piece, he writes positively of Bradley’s persistence mentioning that
“one of last year’s gems, cornerback Justin King, cited Bradley’s persistence — including 30 hand-written letters in one day — in his decision to come to Happy Valley.”
How sad is it that a man who probably has grandchildren King’s age has to spend his whole day penning letter’s to him like a love-sick school girl.
Mandel story also demonstrates the age-gap in coaches and how they use technology. A younger coach (41-year-old Urban Meyer) “makes the most of modern technology, sending prospects daily text messages and equipping his entire staff with Blackberrys.” Do you think the old ball coach, the visor wearing Steve Spurrier landed his star athletes by thumbing out howdys on his Palm Pilot? Nope, but being a great recruiter will keep you in a job, if you can coach or not. I mean how do you think Mack Brown has survived as long at Texas?
Brown, who’s blessed with being surrounded by the most fertile football soil on earth, has consistently had the best recruiting classes for the past 10 years, overall. Until this season, though, his teams have underachieved both on and off the field.
So let’s begin the bowl game picks with the Rose Bowl. In a world where rarely do the 2 best teams meet, it’s impossible to argue that USC and Texas aren’t the premier squads in college football. The combination of 3 things have me on USC.
- They are playing at home. (SoCal)
- Texas hasn’t played a top-notch opponent since Ohio St.
- Carroll is a superior coach to Brown.
Take the Trojans and the points. (3 star selection.)
Other top rated selections.
3 star Clemson (-9) over Colorado
3 star Boston College (+3) Boise State
3 star Michigan (-10.5) Nebraska
3 star Oklahoma (+3.5) Oregon
2 star Northwestern (+3) UCLA
3 star Iowa (+1.5) over Florida
4 star Virginia Tech (-7.5) Louisville
Many of the Colorado players have quit trying, knowing that their new coach won’t have hookers as part of the training table.
Boise State is losing said coach to Colorado and with it they will lose their long home win streak.
Lloyd Carr is a lousy coach, but he meets his match in Bill Callahan. Wolverines have big talent edge.
The Sooners were not a good team until half way through the year, but Stoops has them peaking now and Oregon’s easy schedule exposes them in the Holiday Bowl.
Another Pac-10 team who is not playing their best football at the end of the year is UCLA. Expect Northwestern to score more on the Bruins football team than they could on their basketball team.
One interesting backstory in the Outback Bowl is that QB Chris Leak’s 2 top choices were Florida and Iowa, when he was being courted as an all-world prepster. Mr. High-school recruiting guru Tom Lemming, who was advising Leak recommended Iowa, but Leak went with the warm weather of Gainsville. Leak lost to Iowa as a freshman, during post-season action and expect the same in 2006, as he isn’t a good fit for Meyer’s offense.
Louisville never faced a team with the kind of talent the Hokies possess. College Bowl Pick of the Year.