The college football bowl season schedule for 2017 is out, and with the recent passing of an early signing period for high school football recruits, bowl season just got all the more interesting. Now that the rule has passed, we get the excitement of December recruiting drama paired with bowl games at the same time.
When is this pre-National Signing Day signing period?
It will take place from Dec. 20 through Dec. 22. (The spring signing period begins with National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February, and recruits can then sign with schools through April.)
How many bowls will happen during it?
At the same time as coaching staffs are attempting to get Letters of Intent from high school prospects, there will be six bowl games, with three bowls happening on Dec. 21 and 22. But there are a good number of teams that will be playing in the days leading up to this period, too.
Bowl games around early signing period
|Celebration Bowl||Dec. 16||Noon/ABC|
|New Orleans Bowl||Dec. 16||1 p.m. / ESPN|
|Las Vegas Bowl||Dec. 16||3:30 p.m. / ABC|
|New Mexico Bowl||Dec. 16||4:30 p.m. / ESPN|
|Camellia Bowl||Dec. 16||8 p.m. / ESPN|
|Boca Raton Bowl||Dec. 19||7 p.m. / ESPN|
|St. Petersburg Bowl||Dec. 21||8 p.m. / ESPN|
|Bahamas Bowl||Dec. 22||12:30 p.m. / ESPN|
|Idaho Potato Bowl||Dec. 22||4 p.m. / ESPN|
Wait, so is this a big deal?
First off, it’s important to touch on how much weight this period will have with for coaching staffs in general. This is an opportunity for recruits who have already made up their minds to sign with their respective schools early without having to wait until February. This signing period is completely optional for recruits, so not all of the big-name prospects will be signing early.
For coaches who have a bowl game during this period, the recruits will obviously be in the loop as far as when to fax in the Letters of Intent. The good news for any teams playing in a bowl around this time is that unlike Signing Day, this is an early signing period. Recruits have a total of three days to sign, not just one day. They most likely won’t be sending in their LOIs while their future team is playing in a bowl game.
“You mail out your [Letters of Intent] to the guys that you know are going to sign with you,” a Group of 5 recruiting coordinator told SB Nation before this year’s Signing Day. “Your commits, your solid commits, and the targets that you know will sign with you. You know. A kid has already told you he’s gonna sign with you on Signing Day. If you don’t know, you wait until Monday, and then you overnight it.”
Essentially, as these coaches prepare their teams for bowl games, this signing period that comes before February means they’ll have to focus more on recruiting than they maybe would during a typical bowl week. Simply making sure all their ducks are in a row as far as who’s expected to sign early with them, and who’s not, will be key. An already busy time of the year for recruiting just got busier.