The win/loss debate

How does a game outcome affect a recruiting visit?

LINCOLN, Neb - As Nebraska walked off the field nearly four weeks ago against Wisconsin, completing one of the biggest comebacks in school history, the general consensus was it was the perfect game for recruits to see. With eight uncommitted official visitors on campus, surely someone would pull the trigger.

It still hasn't happened yet.

Now rewind to Nov. 5, 2011. Rated No. 10 in the country, Nebraska was upset at home by a (3-5) Northwestern. With six official visitors on campus, the projected outcome looked bleak.

But a month and a half later, two of those visitors (Thomas Brown and Mohammed Seisay) gave their pledge to Nebraska.

The point is, a lot of the time, game outcomes really don't matter.

"We have debated it a lot," said Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis, the Huskers 2011 recruiting coordinator. "It's hard to say why guys commit when they do. We got our tails kicked by Missouri in '08 and we got two or three commitments out of that. So I don't know."

As Nebraska gets ready to host at least six uncommitted official visitors this weekend, they know a good performance will never hurt their chances. But at the same time, they want to sell the whole package and not just one night.

"How do you compensate it would be my question? We expect to win every game. I think kids make their decisions on good experiences, and obviously winning the game helps that," said Nebraska recruiting coordinator Ross Els. "I think it's just part of the puzzle on why they make a decision."

Nebraska freshman running back Imani Cross didn't take a game-day visitor to Nebraska, but did to Tennessee, a school he was committed to before opening it up late in the process. He said that while he did officially visit the Vols on a game-day, he was looking at everything about his experience.

"It depends on the person. I looked at the school and the opportunity. I didn't' go into it thinking, 'if they win this game I'm going here.' It's and up and down season," said Cross. "But, I think some guys get caught up in the moment.

"I think it's good to win, it helps more than hurts, but I think if a guy is really looking into the University of Nebraska and what it has to offer, both academically and coaching wise, I don't think a win or a loss should change a guy's mind."

The biggest concern for the coaching staff when it comes to recruiting on Saturday might be the weather. Afternoon highs are expected to max out at 50 degrees, while game time temps could be down into the 30s.

"Can you do anything about the weather? I'm a little concerned about it," said Els when talking to reporters on Tuesday. "Unfortunately we can't put them in the press-box, that's a NCAA no-no, they have to be in general seating. So they have to be outside...So we will let them know that's only the end of October, usually it's not frigid out here, but we can't change the weather. I think we have enough stuff to override what they might consider cold weather.

"We usually don't do a whole lot outside, we take campus tours, but we usually get on a bus and go around, getting out at the dorms and places like that."

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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