Does winning six BCS championships in a row give the SEC a recruiting advantage?
We think so, especially when we hear things like this: We asked one of Atlanta’s best prospects if he was hoping for a scholarship offer from one of the ACC’s top programs and he said this:
“They were going to offer but I wasn’t really interested. I mean, it’s a good school but there’s no point in wasting their time. I’m staying in the SEC. The best players and the best competition are in the SEC.”
Yeah, that’s pretty powerful stuff, and brutal for a non-SEC school to have to compete against in fertile recruiting grounds of Georgia.
How does an SEC coach feel about that issue? Does winning six BCS championships in a row help you with recruiting? We asked Tennessee’s Derek Dooley:
“Winning is extremely important; there’s no question about that,” Dooley told the AJC recently. “And what I think is also important is having a history of winning. Winning today is one thing, but showing you have a history of winning and the resources to continue winning is more important … because all these big schools hit their dips.
“I’ve been watching the SEC a long time. There have been times when Georgia has hit a dip, there has been a time when LSU has hit a dip, there’s been times when Bama has hit a dip and Florida has hit a dip. All these schools that are winning now have hit a point sometime in their history, but they all have the resources and commitment to football to not stay down long.
“That’s certainly something we sell at Tennessee. It wasn’t that long ago that we were on top of this league and competing for conference championships. And we have the resources to continue doing that and it’s going to happen over time.”
We’re not sure why Dooley’s answer went basically into a history lesson and indirectly defending Tennessee’s first back-to-back losing seasons since 1911, but he was making some colorful remarks so … we let him run with it. Then, we asked him again: Does winning six BCS championships in a row help your school with recruiting?
“I think winning is important but I think why we’re winning is what the players see, more than anything,” Dooley said. “They see the commitment to football. They see the amount of resources that we’re able to put around these players, to develop them as players, to help them academically, and to support them as people.
“When you have that level of commitment, it allows a student-athlete to reach his potential better. I made the example of this: If you take two young kids, and one of them you are reading to every day, and the other one you’re never reading to, who is going to be the better reader by the time he is 10 years old? Well, it’s no different when they train as an athlete. If you have resources around you from a facility standpoint, from a medical attention standpoint, from an equipment standpoint, from a rehab standpoint, and from getting good quality coaching standpoint … those things are going to enable you to reach your capacity better.”
At this point, I decided to rephrase the question. Dooley, the former attorney who is one of the smartest football coaches I have ever interviewed, had some good points. Maybe it was my fault and I needed to ask the question in a better way? Here goes: When the SEC wins six national championships in a row, does it help all the conference’s schools with recruiting?
“Well, I mean, I think it has helped … but Tennessee has always been able to compete for the best prospects in America,” Dooley said. “I don’t know how much Alabama winning has helped us, if that makes sense?
“Here’s what you’re missing that I will go back to: What the player looks at his what is the commitment level to football at a school? Because that’s going to impact what his experience level is like, and what resources he has available to reach his potential. That’s what Florida State has been able do.
“So the SEC schools, I think it’s fair to say, have made a bigger commitment to developing players and a bigger commitment to having championship football – and that’s a financial commitment, it’s a personnel commitment, and it’s a fan experience. That’s what the players are seeing.
“So it’s not that we’re winning, it’s why we’re winning. There are reasons. And so, when they come visit the school, they are attracted to the school because they are winning. Then, when they get there, they see why. They see support and resources that we provide in the SEC.”
What do you think? Does six BCS championships in a row give the SEC a recruiting advantage? Please don’t make your responses as long as Dooley’s (we’re kidding, we appreciate the coach’s time). Any other thoughts on the points that Dooley was making? Please post below.
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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