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Big 10 Losing Recruiting Battle – Big Time!

February 2nd is national signing day so things could change quite a bit, but looking at ESPN’s 2011 Class Rankings show some troubling signs for the Big 10. Of the top-25 conference, here is a breakdown of how each conference is doing:

SEC: 9 (Alabama-3, Florida-5, LSU-8, Auburn-9, Georgia-11, Arkansas-17, Tennessee-23, South Carolina-24, Mississippi-25)
Pac 10: 5 (USC-4, California-15, Oregon-16, Stanford-18, Washington-22)
ACC: 4 (Florida State-1, Clemson-12, N.Carolina-13, Virginia-21)
Big XII: 3 (Texas-2, Oklahoma-6, Oklahoma St.-20)
Big 10: 2 (Ohio St.-7, Nebraska-14
Independent: 1 (Notre Dame-10)
Big East: 1 (Louisville-19)

The Big 10 is lucky Nebraska is coming on board because otherwise they’d be no better off than the Big East! The scary part isn’t who is on the list, but who isn’t on the list. Breaking down the conferences look who is absent:

SEC: Mississippi St. – I can’t help but think a few more 9-10 win seasons in Starkville won’t have recruits lining up to play for Dan Mullen.

Pac 10: UCLA, Arizona & Arizona St. – All three teams are capable of getting into the top-25. ESPN ranked UCLA’s 2010 class as #10 in the nation. I think the only thing Arizona St. needs is a dynamic head coach and that program is a national power.

ACC: Miami-FL, Virginia Tech – According to ESPN, Miami had the #1 class in 2008, #7 in 2009 & #13 in 2010. Randy Shannon didn’t get the ax because he couldn’t recruit. Virginia Tech never has outstanding classes, but the Hokies are able to pull off top-25 classes if need be.

Big XII: Texas A&M, Missouri – It hasn’t been that way for awhile, but A&M used to be a big time football power. Every time you see a list of the most underachieving programs in college football in recent memory, the Aggies are always near the top given what they have to offer prospective high school recruits. As for Missouri, I’m a big Gary Pinkel fan. I think they are one conference championship away from being a top-15 program.

Big East: Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU, West Virginia, South Florida – I’m somewhat of a Big East homer at heart. To me this conference is the wild card because there are some historically significant programs such as Pitt & Syracuse. TCU should get a little more recognition in recruiting battles because of their affiliation with an AQ conference now. South Florida could be a top-20 recruiting program if they just take FSU’s, Miami-FL’s & Florida’s leftovers. West Virginia could also make a pretty decent move here. The fact that Louisville is in the top-20 has to be a bit disconcerting for the Big 10.

As for the Big 10, I understand why teams such as Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota & Purdue can’t be top-25 recruiting destinations, but teams like Penn St., Michigan, Michigan St., Iowa & Wisconsin can’t get better players than Louisville, Washington or Mississippi?

I know it’s only one year but still. Last year Penn St. was #11 & Michigan was #14 according to ESPN. Ohio St. ranked a surprisingly low 16th. That gives the Big 10 three teams, but that still seems extremely low given the historical significance of some of the Big 10 brands. In 2009, ESPN had Ohio St., Michigan & Penn St. in the top-25 again, but not another Big 10 squad.

Once again the Big 10’s reputation as an ELITE level football conference has come under scrutiny. All it takes for that reputation to be restored are wins against elite level competition, but according to the recruiting services, the Big 10 simply doesn’t have the players.

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January 25, 2011 - Posted by | Big 10, Recruiting

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