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PSU doesn't stack up to Alabama when it comes to recruiting
September 9, 2011 - Cory Giger
There are many reasons why Alabama has a stronger football program than PSU, and recruiting is one of the biggest.
This is for all the diehard recruiting faithful who love to pound their chest every year about how well Penn State is doing on that front. Sure, the Nittany Lions have an occasional class near the top 10, and that brings in enough talent so that they can win their share of games and beat teams they should beat.
But occasional classes near the top 10 don't cut it when playing elite teams, ones like Alabama that are crushing PSU when it comes to recruiting.
These national rankings by Rivals.com are telling:
Penn State has a nice class coming in for 2012, currently ranking 14th. Alabama is fifth.
Clearly, loose oversigning rules give SEC teams a distinct advantage in recruiting. But while it can be argued that oversigning is bad for college football, those schools are playing within the rules.
If the Lions want to finish around 10th to 15th in the polls every year -- which most programs would kill for -- then finishing 10th to 15th in recruiting should be acceptable.
But if PSU wants to compete for national titles, ranking 10th to 15th in recruiting -- and in many years much worse -- isn't good enough because the elite programs consistently rank higher than that.
Recruiting rankings never tell the whole story, good or bad. Notre Dame has finished higher than PSU in those rankings every year since 2007, but the Irish haven't been able to develop their talent and have been wildly inconsistent.
Coaching plays a big role, and programs where the coaches get the most out of their players can make up for lesser recruiting classes. It's debatable whether PSU's coaches do that on a consistent basis.
When other programs attract better prospects than PSU does and develop their players better than PSU does, there's not much reason to believe the Lions can beat those teams. And they usually don't, having lost eight consecutive games against top-five teams going back to 1999.