The College Football version of the NFL draft went down Wednesday, February 4 with a few surprises, plenty of manufactured drama, and lots of attention from die-hard college football followers around the nation. I will shamefully admit to being a part of some 22,000 people who watched online as Trent Richardson, a highly touted running back from the state of Florida, signed with the University of Alabama. Twenty-two thousand! Online! There were plenty of other signing day soirées around the nation. I have created a few categories for teams following the announcements of signing day. I won’t go through every team or conference at this time; I’ll save that for the doldrums of baseball season.
The Rich Getting Richer
LSU, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Southern California
The big boys of the last few years of college football saw a great number of talent fly off their fields to the NFL and “the real world” after the 2008 season. Faster than Travis Tomasie slaps in a fresh clip, the teams generally at the top of the crop reloaded their talent-laden teams with even more talent. Now, does this predict anything? Well the jury is mixed on that, but having talent in place is much more of an attractant to future talent than a deterrent. Talented players want to play with other talented players and, judging from where they have committed, they want to play in warm weather places (with Ohio State being a notable exception). The questions remain as to what kind of immediate impact some of the more highly touted players will make in the 2009 season.
North Carolina, Florida State, Michigan, Miami (FL)
Three of these teams are from the ACC – also known as the most abysmal of current BCS conferences. The ACC is ripe for the taking and UNC, FSU, and the U scored some major players to aid in their quest for the top ring of the conference. Michigan is still in the growing pains of Rich Rodriguez’s transition, but finishing behind the top team in the Big 10 (Ohio State) but ahead of the rest of the conference puts them in line for a much improved campaign in 2009.
Mississippi (a.k.a Ole Miss) , Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia
Mississippi hasn’t mattered nationally since someone named Manning (Eli, Archie, take your pick) was taking snaps and it is arguable how much they mattered during those years. Notre Dame hasn’t mattered in the postseason in over a decade. South Florida, while an interesting fly in the ointment, hasn’t been around long enough to matter. West Virginia has been the little engine that sometimes could and sometimes couldn’t, but is only a couple years removed from a BCS win. What else do these teams share in common? They all finished the 2008 campaign on a high note. They also landed some big time recruits to improve their on-field presence for 2009. For Ole Miss, it was a couple of elite offensive players. For Notre Dame, it was a defensive play maker with real speed. For South Florida, it was the highest rated class in their short history. West Virginia landed another stream of the kind of guys they have built a program upon in the last few years.