Movie phrase rings true at local arena

Saturday, February 4, 2006

This past Wednesday was the day college football fanatics eagerly await each year. For many, it's right up there with the Super Bowl and the National Championship game in order of importance. It's the day that high school seniors from across the country sign letters of intent to play college football. Fans everywhere are jumping from website to website, trying to get the latest news on who's going to be playing for their team and who's going to be playing for their opponents.

Scout.com puts out the most comprehensive report there is and in honor of all the football fanatics who read this column but don't have access to the information, I'm printing some of their information here so everyone can see what their team has and what their team is up against on down the road.

The just completed signing day once again reminds us of the old adage that the rich just get richer. Ten universities signed seventy of the top 100 high school athletes in the country, led by Southern Cal with an amazing 13 of their own. In fact, USC signed 24 high school athletes and each one of them is rated three stars or higher. No other school can make that claim. That is part of the reason how USC caught and passed Florida on the very last day to claim the best recruiting class in the country after Florida had been on top for the entire length of the recruiting season.

As far as the Big XII and the Huskers are concerned, Scout.com is not as optimistic about Nebraska's recruiting class as Rivals.com is, as reported by Eric Olson in Thursday's Gazette. Out of the top 30 schools, Nebraska ranked 29th. And although 91 percent of the players they signed were ranked 3 stars or higher, they weren't able to sign any top 100 players. Nebraska finished behind Texas (3rd) Oklahoma (8th), Oklahoma State (16th), Texas Tech (17th) and Texas A&M (22nd).

The Huskers finished ahead of Kansas (47th), Kansas State (48th), Colorado (49th), Baylor (54th), Missouri (58th), and Iowa State (59th).

Here are the ranking from Sports.com of the top 30 schools:

RankSchoolComm.Top 1005*4*3*
1 -- USC2413812 4
2 -- Florida2766128
3 -- Texas 256 4 127
4 -- Georgia277 41110
5 -- Notre Dam28631212
6 -- Penn State2462119
7 -- LSU 2443712
8 -- Okla.284 21110
9 -- Auburn25211110
10 -- Michigan195557
11 -- Pittsburgh255299
12 -- Florida St.3031129
13 -- Ohio State207 395
14 -- Miami, Fl 223 1116
15 -- Mississippi292 2813
16 -- Oklahoma St. 292 0916
17 -- Texas Tech340 1712
18 -- Alabama 231 1615
19 -- Arizona 251 2713
20 -- UCLA 221 0614
21 -- Clemson 202 2410
22 -- Texas A&M2211610
23 -- California202 0711
24 -- Tennessee211 088
25 -- North Carolina281 0411
26 -- Louisville291 1412
27 -- Maryland 220 1211
28 -- Illinois271 0313
29 -- Nebraska220 1613
30 -- Arkansas 262 1210

To figure the percentage of commits that were rated three stars or higher, add up the 3*, 4* and 5* columns and divide that number by the number of commits. For example, Nebraska signed 13 players rated 3*, 6 rated 4* and 1 rated 5* for a total of 20. Divide 20 by the number of commits which was 22 and you get a 91% rating. The lowest in the top 30 was Arkansas which signed 13 players rated 3*, 4*, or 5* out of 26 total commits for a 50% rating.

Florida State picked up several blue chips on the final day of recruiting to improve their position significantly. Arkansas edged in to the top 30 by signing the number one rated high school quarterback in the nation along with his favorite wide receiver, ranked as the 9th best wide receiver in the country who had previously committed to Florida.

Now college fans everywhere have their very own wish list, or in some cases, hope list, in terms of how their favorite team may fare in the future. Those of us who follow college football know all the twists and turns that lead to successful seasons and rebuilding dynasties. Some of these highly rated players will never play a down. Some may never show up for school. Some will be stars. A few will be superstars.

And at least for now, they give us hope.

On a weather note, senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi, from the AccuWeather Professional Subscription site on the Web, says the next 30 days will be the coldest 30 day period in February and early March since 1979 for most of the nation west of the Rockies with many storms and rumors of storms as well.

This follows the warmest January on record for North America. Bastardi has been a pretty accurate long range forecaster over the years, (he nailed our late November blizzard two weeks before it happened) although he bombed January, so we'll see what happens.

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