By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
I’m fairly confident one of the four Power 5 programs in the state of Florida will make the Playoff in the next five years. What gives me that confidence?
Recent history of College Football Playoff rankings before bowl season. Florida State was 13th this past season. In 2020, Florida was seventh and Miami was 18th. In 2019, the Gators were ninth. In 2018, UCF was eighth and Florida was 10th.
In 2017, Miami was 10th. None of Florida’s schools has made a College Football Playoff since Florida State in 2014.
Had there been a 12-team playoff, there likely would’ve been representation on this side of the map. Looking at the now and near future, Florida State will make it first because the Seminoles are furthest along in their rebuild and are reaping results.
As for NIL collectives, it’s impossible to rank them. We don’t really have that financial data available to us. As of now, we must take these collectives at their word, followed by the actions of transfers and recruits.
Based on my experience talking to both college and high school players about the process, I think money plays only a slight factor if what is offered by the schools is relatively equal in value. So, they’ll make their choices based on playing time, history, NFL relationships, as well as day-to-day relationships with their position coaches and coordinators. NIL gets you in the game or knocks you out if it’s nonexistent.
How would I describe the actions of the NIL collectives? Are they helping win over recruits, simply doing their job, or are they failing to meet expectations?
All three characterized the collectives they covered as doing their jobs. Except for one player at UCF, none thought the programs lost players the coaching staff wanted to keep because they were necessarily outbid by other collectives.
In Miami’s case, I can certainly think of at least a couple of examples in which the program’s healthy NIL collective helped push UM toward the top of recruitment.
Does that make Miami the strongest NIL in the state? Maybe — based on its track record.
On the other hand, NIL is constantly evolving. Bankrollers come and go, and the truth is the in-state collectives are just really getting their act together since state laws changed in February.
Apart from what John Ruiz’s LifeWallet has done for UM, Miami’s Canes Connection Collective has announced dozens of signings throughout the spring. These are big wins off the field.
Florida’s Victorious Collective is putting the Jaden Rashada mess in the rearview mirror and providing the Gators real leadership and balance.
Florida State’s Battle’s End has been operating since December, and the Seminoles have kept top players Jared Verse and Jordan Travis happy.
UCF’s The Kingdom has raised several million and expects to be middle of the pack in the Big 12.
Again, it feels as though the collectives at the Power 4 in the Sunshine State are doing their jobs.
But until Florida, Miami, Florida State and UCF produce consistency that fans have grown accustomed to, programs will be frustrated.
NIL’s will help The Sunshine State’s schools keep top talent in the state. Keep the talent in the state and Playoffs will follow.