2012 was a big year for the the PAC 12. Both divisions saw big improvements over the 2011 recruiting rank composite breakdown. The top two conferences were again the SEC and PAC12. The top 3 divisions were the same as 2011. The ACC and Big 12 swapped the #3 and #3For national rankings, it does very little as they all play each other in conference, it just makes the gap between their teams and their OOC schedule a little farther apart.
The SEC West led the overall division/conference rankings with a #20.1 average. Another huge year, but nowhere near the #16 average for 2011. LSU, Bama and Auburn are still the class of the West and its leading recruiters. A&M, although talented, failed in the last 4 years of excellent recruiting under Sherman. While the new coaching staff did well this recruiting cycle, they have proven nothing in Houston when playing against better talent. The SEC East held its own with a near duplicate of 2011’s average. This despite inheriting a mid-tier recruiter in Missouri. Until proven otherwise, Florida still has poor coaching no matter who they recruit (see UCLA, Texas, et al). Georgia and an overperforming group in South Carolina remained at the top of the SEC East recruiting ranks.
After a horrible 2011 cycle, the PAC12 South bounced back with a very solid effect headlined once again by USC and UCLA. Colorado proved once again that you recruit to win, not win to recruit by posting the third best recruiting rank in the division.
The ACC saw very little change in talent levels in the conference. The Coastal Division again out recruited the Atlantic and is slowly creating a bit of a talent gap in the conference. Time will tell if any of the elite recruiters (Miami, UNC, FSU) can ever get the right coaching combination to take advantage of the talent.
The BIG12 lost some level of talent with the migration of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC West (which brought down their average in 2012 as well). Replacing a top 20 and top 35 recruiter with a top 35 and top 70 is not an improvement. West Virginia is yet to prove it has a consistent winning coaching staff and TCU has done nothing to warrant any type of expectations beyond .500.
The Big Ten continues its downward spiral of recruited talent. Both divisions are well off their recruiting ranks from 2011. If Michigan and Ohio State get their coaching in order (as it appears they are) and continue to out recruit the rest of the conference like 2012, the B1G championship game is going to be Buckeyes and Go Blue in back to back weeks for a long time.
The Big East, even minus the departed WVU, had a better 2012 recruiting cycle than 2011. However, when you factor in the 6 incoming schools, their composite average recruiting rank is closer to 2011 Conference USA than the second worst AQ division. And at nearly a 80% win/loss rate versus teams that out recruit them in the Big East, if you can do simple math there is no way the Big East should retain it’s AQ bid (more on that later).
The rest of the conferences are just not even close to the AQ teams. The WAC needs to be scrapped (looking like it) as their talent is tanking. It is a pipe dream that the MWC and Conference USA merger would warrant even a second glance at AQ bid status. Their combined recruited talent is well below a non-deserving Big East conference.