Friday, January 27, 2012

A national holiday is upon us

We're five days away from national signing day. It's an occasion many in the college football industry refer to as a national holiday.

To which I ask, "In what country?" Plenty of fan bases refer to themselves as "(nickname) nation." But that's not the kind of country I'm talking about.

In regions where college football is No. 1 (read: the SEC), it's a bigger deal than the NFL draft. As evidence, ESPNU is advertising 10 hours of coverage beginning Wednesday morning. The network has already been analyzing recruiting rankings and weighing in on coaching changes and how they affect a school's incoming classes.

ESPNU is cranking up the hot air for three reasons: 1) It has no other live events to show on a Wednesday morning/mid-day. 2) It gives the network something to talk about between the bowls and spring practice. 3) There's demand. A lot of demand, with thousands upon thousands of fans and boosters anticipating every commitment like election results in November.

What doesn't seem to matter, unfortunately, is that all of the expert commentary is as much hope as it is analysis. Think about how difficult it can be to project the careers of NFL draft picks. The players signing letters of intent are three to four years younger, with a lot more players to watch and less film of each of them.

Still, national signing day gets eyeballs and web hits. Therefore, it will be covered as if it were the professional draft, even though you could take the consensus top 10 recruiting schools, pull them out of a hat one by one, and your rankings have just as much chance at being as accurate as the experts'.

- Howard Primer

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