The holiday season normally brings a lot of stress, which is normally compounded for college football fans.
Between the end of the regular season, conference championship games, and bowl match-ups being determined, it is almost too much to take in. Almost.
Compounded on everything else is something the NCAA likes to shove down everyone's throats with regards to recruiting--the dead period.
In case you want to see the official calendar for the 2011-12 football season, you can read the rules here or check out the calendar (in color) here.
More after the jump.
For the record, there is an additional dead period during January 9-12 before the sprint to the finish line (National Signing Day). Coincidentally, NSD occurs during--you guessed it, another dead period.
So why is it that the dead period over the holidays can cause so much strife amongst fans?
To put it simply--rumors swirl about players flip-flopping on commitments, potentially taking additional visits, and rethinking their initial decisions. One must keep in mind that these are teenagers after all, and from what I remember, decisions aren't always set in stone.
Sound familiar? It should to Irish fans everywhere.
In my opinion, there is just way too much conjecture and reading of tea leaves by the recruitniks out there. That, or they are trying to create a story out of thin air in order to drive up readership/paying members in order to get "inside information."
Regardless, the next month is extremely important for Brian Kelly and his staff in order to accomplish two things: (1) further solidify the 2012 verbal commitments, and (2) add additional talent to the class. Several high school all-star games are scheduled this week, starting Tuesday with the inaugural Semper Fi Bowl, Thursday's Under Armour All-American Bowl and Saturday's US Army All-American Bowl. Several players with Notre Dame on the short list are scheduled to announce their intentions at these games.
A few final thoughts:
*Fans shouldn't fall in love with the measurables listed on recruiting websites. Quite often, these numbers are slightly inflated, as height/weight generally comes from high school rosters. Numbers from a combine are accurate, but little else.
*Fans shouldn't try to get involved with the recruiting process. Unless you are related to the player, there is absolutely no reason you should feel the need to contact them. All you need to see is the Shaq Thompson saga to know that it can and will backfire.
*Trust in the coaching staff's ability to evaluate talent over the number of stars handed out by some recruiting service. They know what they are doing, and have certainly seen a lot more of a player than what anyone else can watch in a two minute YouTube highlight clip.
Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the stretch run for the Irish. It will be interesting and I can almost guarantee a surprise or two.