NCAA Football Report (Week 12)

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Rivalry week is almost here meaning that the regular season is just about over and Bowl season is right around the corner.

As the season continues on the battle for the playoff is heating up with teams looking to make a big enough impression to be one of the top four in the country.

They will be doing that against their toughest challenges of the season as the rivalry games always provide fireworks.

These are the games that involve so much emotion that they are almost impossible to predict.

They will go a long way to determining who will sit in the top four when the season is over as upsets can change the face of the playoff quickly.

As the season begins to close out teams are looking both to the immediate future and beyond.

They are looking to, at the very least, capture a major bowl during December which all relates to the same goal in the end.

Teams are constantly in a battle with each other both on the field and off of the field as there is a constant fight for the best players in the country.

The recruiting trail is always at the top of the mind for programs who are all looking to convince great players to join their programs.

Winning is the best way to recruit these players as the best programs often find the best players because they give them a chance to compete for championships.

That isn’t the only way that teams look to get the best players though as a new generation of players have brought with them a new focus.

Winning will always be the key to any recruiting class but teams are taking new steps in order to try to get more high school players to recognize them.

Teams are always looking for that leg up and those teams that can’t find their way to the playoff every year need to get creative.

One of the new ways that they look to recruit these young players is by providing more opportunities for unique experiences.

There may be no better example of this than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who have always relied on tradition to recruit.

The Fighting Irish have some of the richest histories in the NCAA with legendary names and plenty of championships.

This new era of players doesn’t care a lot about that history though and without a title, since 1988 they are far from the first choice for a lot of players.

When Josh Swarbrick took over as the Athletic Director at Notre Dame in 2008 he looked to bring something else.football-sidebar

The Irish will never get rid of the concentration on history as it is the thing that makes them unique.

What Swarbrick did do was bring some of those unique experiences to the school heading away from their usual way of doing things while remaining connected to the history.

The Irish decided to take one game every year and play it out of the comfort of their own home heading to big stadiums around the USA.

This new Shamrock Series was a chance to bring something else to the program as the team would travel to big stadiums like the Alamodome, AT&T Stadium or more unique venues like Fenway Park and this past weekend Yankee Stadium.

Along with these games the Irish design new uniforms that are used only for that game, like the pinstripes they wore in New York.

The Irish have always been connected by their history but they are trying to provide unique experiences for players.

They are not the only ones as even Harvard and Yale played their annual rivalry game known simply as The Game at Fenway Park this past week.

Although winning will always be king as teams like Alabama never have to host these unique games or change their uniforms because they are going to play for the national championship almost every year.

Not every team can put together those winning seasons year after year and so they result to other ways of recruiting.

Whether it is the Shamrock Series, Oregon’s endless jerseys, monstrous training facilities or just the right environment led by the right people teams are constantly in the fight to recruit.

Four teams will have a shot at taking an easier route as they head towards rivalry week with a shot at convincing the voters that they belong.

Only four teams can make it through and have that shot leaving the next two weeks as the most important in the league.

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