Thursday, February 02, 2006


These are my confessions
Just when I thought I said all I could say
My chick on the side said she got one on the way
These are my confessions
Man I'm thrown and I dont know what to do
I guess I gotta give part 2 of my confessions
If I'm gonna tell it then I gotta tell it all
Damn near cried when I got that phone call
I'm so throwed and I don't know what to do
But to give you part 2 of my confessions

like Usher said, I've got some confessions...

Yesterday was National Signing Day for College Football. There really isn't any point in me even linking anything because it's everywhere. Oh my God. Recruits galore. Future All Americans and saviors of the program! Which ones will even stick around for a full 4 years before heading off to the NFL???? 6'5" receivers that can run a 4.2 forty? 300 lb lineman with nimble feet? Cannon armed QBs? They abound in February every year.

Now you see, the problem is I just don't care. Is there something wrong with me? Am I less of a college football fan? Does it matter if I can quote the stats and standings and scores of every game around the country on any given Saturday afternoon in the fall? I've got more links to CFB related web sites on my browser than almost everything else combined. I've been fortunate enough to attend somewhere north of 60 Michigan football games since the mid 90s. But I just don't give a damn about recruiting for college football.

You're probably asking yourself why. Well, I could spout off the part about nobody knows who the great ones will be which is sort of a standard response that some would give. Braylon Edwards was a 3 star that only had scholarship offers from UM, MSU, and CMU. Mike Hart was a smurf out of upstate NY that Tom Lemming said would never play TB in college. Justin Fargas and Kelly Baraka were as highly touted as it gets in HS winning all sorts of All American honors, but look what that got them. But you know what? That's only part of the reason I don't care. Here are some more:

1) These are just high school kids. If one of them, God forbid, changes his mind about which school he wants to play for it's look out with screaming idiots coming out of the woodwork about honoring commitments and what not.

2) It's just damn hard to project how players will develop at the next level. Let's be serious, there are probably less than 10 or 20 HS players that could've stepped on to the field at the Rose Bowl and looked like anything other than a scrub. They all have to improve to make an impact. How much will they improve? That's hard to guess at. How do you compare them to each other? Even harder. HS football is a wildly varying beast from state to state and conference to conference and even school to school. Some kids play at tiny schools against poor competition. Some kids play for mega powerhouses against the best teams in the nation. Is there any meaningful way to make a comparison between a kid rushing for 2000 yards against nobody compared to 1000 yards against the best?

3) Measureables. If I never read about a hand timed 40 again I will be a happy man. For the love of God, half of Virginia Tech's managers have been clocked under a 4.40 last I checked. Hand timed 40s aren't worth shit (pardon my french). It's a bunch of guys standing around with stop watches who time a kid on successive runs and they generally report the fastest time of the fastest run. When you factor in reaction time and standard error and other such "novelties", it has about the same accuracy as me standing around and guessing how fast it was.

4) Football is a team made up of a large number of players. To get worked up over 1 or 2 particular recruits is just pointless. Some people get way too high or way too low based on the college choices of a few kids. I mean a single recruit may or may not become a starter in the future at your school. Even if they do, their individual impact on the W/L column at the end of the year is just not that big. And with recruiting, you never know how it will work out down the road. Michigan didn't sign Sam Keller Jr, son of the former Wolverine? Well, turns out they got Chad Henne. That didn't work out too bad. Didn't get Jai Eugene this year? Get back to me after next year's class hauls in highly touted CBs.

I could go on, but what's the point. Recruiting in college football is a mega-industry. And the thing is, I do follow it. More for recognition of who will be playing for Michigan in the future than as a particular prognostic indicator of the strength of the program. And I do think that paying attention to the recruiting class as a whole is far more valuable than getting worked up about any individuals.

But football recruiting pales in comparison to basketball recruiting. High school basketball players have been playing against each other on the AAU circuit for years so it is quite easy to see how they stack up to each other. They also are ready to contribute on the court at a much earlier time in their career with many starting as freshmen.

Sorry for the rant, I'll allow you to return to the idol worship of early February... Back to hoops tomorrow with some thoughts about the Big Ten race.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said.

Fri Feb 03, 02:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you have to say, however I cannot stop myself from getting wrapped up into the drama.

Fri Feb 03, 04:07:00 PM  

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