To win a BCS title, programs have to consistently sign blue-chip talent. Sure, player development and coaching heavily factor into success, but without a roster full of former top-ranked recruits, Alabama just doesn't win three of the past four national championships. It's that simple.
The difficulty lies in landing those preps, especially when they don't reside right in a school's backyard. Take the Tide. From 2008-2012, Nick Saban signed 48 ESPN 150 recruits, just behind Florida (52) and Texas (51) during that time frame. But less than half of them (20) were from Alabama, compared to the Gators' 33 from Florida and the Longhorns' 45 from Texas. In fact, Saban pilfered from 12 different states for the other 28. To put it another way: Without thriving out-of-state pipelines, Eddie Lacy, Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and Amari Cooper, to name a few, wouldn't have put on a Crimson Tide jersey.
So which programs, besides the Tide, can lay claim to the strongest out-of-state pipelines over the past five years? We narrowed the field to teams that signed at least five total ESPN 150 recruits from 2008-12 (one per year). That gave us a solid sample size of 34 schools. From that sample, there were 10 programs that signed at least five ESPN 150 recruits out of a single state besides their own. Finally, we ranked them based on total recruits from that state, and then determined whether the pipeline remains plentiful (or is drying up) as signing day 2013 approaches.
(Note: It's worth mentioning that while Michigan only signed four ESPN 150 recruits from the state of Ohio over the past five years, Brady Hoke has six ESPN 300 commits this year. Washington also has five ESPN 300 commits from California, compared to two over the past five years.)
Out-of-state pipeline: Texas (14 ESPN 150 recruits from 2008-12)
STATUS: FLOWING (four ESPN 300 recruits committed for 2013; three four-star recruits in 2012; five ESPN 150 recruits in 2011)