Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My sports pet peeves, part 2

Considering today is "Signing Day," I thought it was time for number two in a "TWFW" ongoing pet peeve series...

College recruiting geeks and the wonks that pander to them. That means YOU, Tom Lemming.

We are talking high school kids people. Remember what you were like at 18, and then at 22? You were two different people. Mentally and physically. So the ability to project a high school athlete's chance for success at a Division 1 level seems, to me anyway, an inexact pseudo-science at best, and pure alchemy at worst.

I have NO IDEA who these kids are and why I should be excited. None. I honestly believe that the so-called recruiting "Experts," such as Tom Lemming,, Scouts Inc., and others of their ilk, don't either. They are just making it up and slinging player BS as they go along. It's pure guesswork on their part. Highly paid NFL scouts and front office people have trouble projecting how well a much more mature college player's ability will translate to the next level. The Lions' drafts are a prime example. Take a look at the crapshoot that is the MLB draft, the success of high school players are basically a flip of the coin and it's not much better for college players. The NBA have washed their hands of high school kids altogether. So I'm expected to take the word of some wannabe working out of his basement projecting the skill level of 17 year old high school kids? That takes a level of disbelief that I just don't have.

There are too many variables at work. How many of these "Blue Chippers" have the wonks seen? If they've actually seen them, was it more than once? In person or on film? In a game or practice? Are they just taking the word of a coach over the phone? Some yahoo in the stands with an agenda? The potential is ripe for for abuse, confusion, and just plain wrong conclusions.

Then you have the overall and confrence rankings. It's the SAME TEAMS listed damn near every year! If these recruting gurus are so on the money, why aren't those teams always in the top 10? If I were a fan of, lets say Wisconsin, if I were to believe the recruiting gurus, the Badgers would never have a shot in Hell at winning the Big 10. Yet they have somehow managed to develop a very good program, despite the lack of the Tom Lemming/Rivals/Scouts pimped, so-called, "Blue Chippers."

Recruiting wonks are nothing more than snake oil salesmen selling hope to desperate fans looking to cling to some sort of misguided optimism. "Wooo! We got the 8th ranked offensive right tackle in the state of Rhode Island! He's 15th team Parade All-American, he's listed in Lemming's Top 500 at 387, so he must be good! The O-line problems are over!" Wooo! Please. Stop. Get a grip. The recruiting geeks are talking out their asses. Any hyperbole that comes out of these recruiting mouthpieces I take with a HUGE grain of salt and tounge stuck firmly in cheek.

That being said, who did Michigan get to commit?


  1. I agree with you whole heartedly my friend! Basically it just gives these guys something to do and something to talk about. They probably were the ones in High School that had to carry the jocks books around for them out of fear of being stuffed in a locker somewhere.

  2. Signing day is soooo overrated. It's a non story that gets way too much attention every year.

    I agree that the recruiting gurus were most likely former high school jock sniffers. I'll admit that I was one of those guys stuffing the Lemmings of the world in lockers... I'm so ashamed...