With the Pac-12 and Big Ten now cancelling their respective seasons, that leaves three power five conferences that could actually play. The Big XII, ACC and SEC are expected to make a serious effort to move forward with games. It will shape the minds of recruits.
Unless something changes, and it certainly could, it appears that the SEC, ACC and Big XII will play this fall. For the sake of this article, that will be the denominator. With that in mind, recruiting will be tilted heavily the favor of those that play. Here’s why.
Imagine the following. An elite 2022 recruit receives five text messages to begin his Saturday morning. He receives messages from programs in each of the power five conferences. Three of those five programs will play that same Saturday, two will not. Guess which coaches will have additional talking points once those games conclude?
That same recruit will see three of those teams play on Saturday by watching games on television. While the other two schools are a part of conferences that cancelled their seasons.
Will it matter?
Sure it will. A lot. Recruits are impressionable. Very impressionable. I communicate with them every day, all across Dixie. Whether it’s a player from Miami, rural South Carolina, Atlanta, or along the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana, recruits live through their eyes.
They consume media by watching games, highlights, tweets on Twitter, Instagram videos, and highlight reels on numerous sports outlets, just to name a few. Those that play this season will gain a major advantage over the programs in the conferences that do not play.
It’s simple in theory, but there’s more.
What does a program that is not playing sell to the recruits that are coming up in the 2022 and 2023 classes? What about the recruits they are trying to finalize a commitment with from the class of 2021?
This is a tough situation to be in for any Pac-12 or Big Ten program. While not their fault, not playing the 2020 season could produce massive problems for the coaches at any one of those programs.
Of course this will be a situation where it will likely vary from recruit to recruit. There’s no one magical answer for each and every recruit. With that said, if I’m coaching, I want to discuss actual games with the recruits I’m going after.
It only makes sense. Now, compare the following.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron calls a star recruit. He discusses the Tigers and how they played the prior Saturday. Same situation, but now insert a program like Oregon, which cancelled it’s season as part of the Pac-12. Talk about a totally different type of conversation.
Advantage to any program that actually plays. In this case, LSU. That’s just reality. LSU and every program that plays this fall will be able to make an impression on the recruits that they target. Those that do not play, it could be a case of out of sight out of mind.
Here's my extended take via a podcast I just produced. It presents more detail to the above situations.
Bottom line, if LSU or any other program that plays this fall leverages their media coverage, it will be an incredible advantage for their recruiting classes. This situation will be fascinating to follow for the next several months.