The most hyped event in all of football is this week. Your first reaction, "Yeah, the Super Bowl is Sunday." Will T.O. play for the Eagles or won't he? Can Tom Brady and the Patriots do it again? We've heard those questions the past ten days more often than pine trees cracking under the winter ice.
Bulletin! I'm not talking about the Super Bowl.
I'm talking about yesterday, Wednesday, Feb. 2.
There wasn't even a game played, but yesterday was the most anticipated and overblown day in all of football. It occurs every year.
Yesterday was National Signing Day for college football recruits.
College football recruiting junkies, and they're everywhere, have been laying in wait for this otherwise mundane winter Wednesday since Feb.4, 2004. They've spent aplenty subscribing to internet watch lists and buying recruiting magazines. They've kept their radios tuned to talk shows and faithfully watched Countdown To Signing Day on TV since August.
Many of these junkies took a vacation day yesterday and camped out at their favorite college to watch the head coach post their letters-of-intent signees as they were faxed in from high schools across the country. With each post, these recruiting freakniks likely cheered as if the kid was actually scoring his first touchdown for good ole' State U.
Recruiting services stayed busy ranking each school's signing class in an effort to get an early jump on the Top 10 college teams of 2008.
Recruiting service? Can you find these guys in the Yellow Pages like plumbing services and auto services? They charge like plumbers and mechanics.
Recruiting mass hysteria got its' start in 1980 with the wooing of Herschel Walker from Wrightsville. The next year a tailback of similar stature from Philadelphia, Mississippi named Marcus Dupree added to it. Walker turned out to be the real deal in college. Dupree became one of the Oklahoma Sooners' biggest flops ever.
There is a trial going on right now involving a former Memphis high school coach practically auctioning one of his players to the highest bidder. He placed a big tackle named Albert Means up for bid because there was a market for him.
The market was created not by college coaches but by touched-in-the-head boosters with cash to burn determined to assist a school's recruiting effort. Trashy to say the least.
Means played one year at Alabama before transferring to finish his college career at Memphis University. He never made All-American and you won't likely hear his name early on NFL draft day.
There are countless stories of high school blue chippers that were offered sixty scholarships on signing day and then played 60 seconds in four years of college.
On the other end of the spectrum are those that had to beg for a walk-on tryout but ended up in their school's Hall Of Fame. Recruiting is an exact science only in the eyes of the gurus that stir the passions of recruitniks only for a profit.
When you settle into your recliner Sunday or show up at a Super Bowl party to watch the big game, don't be disappointed, but you already missed the real action.
The life or death football event of the year was four days prior.