Tyler's recent post prompted me to look back at some numbers I compiled last year while watching the LSU-Bama BCS championship game. I think we can agree that those two programs are, at present, the best two programs in the conference. Both played for the BCS Championship last year and should start the coming season in the top 10. Last year, both teams were deep, talented, and well coached. So, I wanted to see how they had recruited over the past five years in comparison with Georgia. None of this analysis is new, but its results remain baffling.
Here are their numbers compared with Georgia over the past five classes that have had a chance to play.
So, over the past five classes that have played, Bama has signed 21 more players than Georgia. That exceeds Georgia's number of signees in the 2010 and 2009 class. Let me repeat, Bama signed an entire extra class in the past five years. LSU signed 16 more than Georgia over the past five years. That trend continued in 2012, as Georgia signed only 19, while Alabama signed 26 and LSU signed 22.
My point here is not a commentary on the roster management practices of Alabama and LSU. While we can debate the morality and ethics of roster management, it does not appear that our competitors are operating outside the rules. They are, however, maximizing their odds of getting players that can materially participate and help them win. If you are trying to accomplish a task, it only makes sense to use every possible resource available to achieve that task. If you are understaffed in comparison with your competition, you are at a competitive disadvantage.
In partial defense of Georgia, there are some reasons for undersigning. If you know your next class will be filled with early enrollees, you might want to hold back some scholarships for those guys as they will count in the current year. This is why I expect the coming 2013 class to be, by Georgia standards, extraordinarily large.
But even given that, is there any logical reason for signing four consecutive classes of less than 25 signees? More broadly, is there any reason to sign only one full class in six years? Why are we applying less personnel resources to our objective than our competitors? Given our natural recruiting advantages and considering our historical rates of involuntary attrition, there is no excuse for signee numbers as low as we have had in the past six years. Not one.