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December 7, 2012
Team rankings no longer a USC runaway
With National Signing Day a mere two months away, the latest update to the Rivals.com prospect rankings caused some movement in the team recruiting rankings. While a familiar school is still on top, it is no longer a one-horse race.
We have a race again
Not long ago, USC had a commanding lead in the team recruiting rankings, with 18 commits, each in the Rivals250. On Nov. 1, the Trojans led No. 2 Notre Dame by 554 points -- more than the value of two Robert Nkemdiches.
But since then, Eldridge Massington and Max Redfield decommited from the Trojans, Florida landed Rivals100 safety Marcell Harris and a four-star JUCO prospect, and Alabama and Notre Dame won big in the recent prospect re-rankings.
USC is still on top (2,731 points), but now it has work to do to remain No. 1. Florida (2,576), Alabama (2,575) and Notre Dame (2,559) are not far behind and are in on enough top-ranked kids to surpass USC.
Looking for a total point number to shoot for? Alabama, the 2012 recruiting champion, would have had 2,929 points if the new formula was applied to last season's rankings. USC can still easily get past that number this year. My hunch is Alabama has the best chance of the other schools to go beyond 2,900 points.
Alabama gets full credit for its next commit, because the Tide are still under the top-20 cap. In fact, a commit from any prospect rated 6.0 or higher would be enough to put Alabama ahead of USC. The Tide are in on Laremy Tunsil (219 points), and who knows what happens to Auburn's highly ranked class moving forward. If the Tide can land Tunsil and a high-four star type, they'll be in business.
What is the 20-cap?
The Rivals.com team rankings are based on the top 20 players in each school's class. So if a school already has 20 or more commitments, at first glance it may look as if they are not getting full credit when they get another.
For instance, Notre Dame and Florida are over the 20 cap. So any new commit is going to add only its points minus the points of the now-21st-best prospect in the class who was bumped out of the formula.
Notre Dame is in a strong position for five-star Max Redfield and Rivals100 DE Al-Quadin Muhammad. Those two would add 249 points to the Irish's class. If the Irish land a top RB as well, such as Greg Bryant or Tarean Folston, we could be looking at the first Rivals recruiting national championship for Notre Dame.
Florida is going to take three or four more prospects, and given their history of closing strong, the Gators' current standing at No. 2 poses a threat to USC.
Getting Jalen Ramsey to switch from the Trojans would be huge for Florida on both fronts. Otherwise, the Gators' path to 2,900 points is not as clear at this time as Alabama's or Notre Dame's.
USC could silence this debate by rebounding to 18 commits with a pair of Rivals100 types. The Trojans are still in the driver's seat, but their recent de-commitments have made the race for the recruiting national championship interesting.
Rivals doesn't hate your school or team
Every re-rankings we hear the same thing from pretty much every fan base: "Rivals hates us." Fans complain about the smallest "drops" in the Rivals250, even just one spot. The fact is, 177 of the 250 prospects in August's Rivals250 either fell at least one spot or dropped out of the rankings completely.
Despite the natural flow of prospects in the Rivals250 to fall a bit in each re-ranking, let's take a look at the top point-gainers.
INSIDE LOOK: RIVALS.COM TEAM RANKINGS