Twenty years ago, the best day of the year for the geek football fan was NFL draft day. Back then, it was still only an event that the hardcore fan set aside on their calendar.
Now that the NFL draft is mainstream, the new "best day of the year" for overly obsessive fans is National Letter of Intent day, also known as LOI day, which is usually the first Wednesday of February.
If you have already scheduled to take the day off work, or are planning to work from home in order to be able to hit the Refresh button on your PC 100 times per hour all day, then your priorities are probably out of whack. However, let's face it, it's fun. Just like Christmas, and just like draft day, on LOI day everyone is a winner.
Since some of you will be about to experience your first internet LOI day, here are a few things you should and should not expect:
- DO expect an official announcement at around 5p.m. AZ time -- usually no word from ASU until an official press release gets posted to the Sun Devils website in the late afternoon. Often you will get confirmation of a few signings prior to the official release from one of the recruiting sites.
- DO expect one or two names to be missing, but don't painc -- each year one or two LOIs arrive too late for inclusion in the initial release, so if the name of one commitment is missing, don't be too worried (unless he shows up on another school's LOI list!!!)
- Do NOT expect many surprises -- every year we hope for a couple of unexpected names to appear on the list. Never happens. If you follow the major recruiting sites, then by Monday or Tuesday you'll have a pretty solid idea of who will sign.
- DO expect a major outpouring of grief on the message boards. Topics you can be sure to read about will be: "See, this proves that Dennis Erickson is useless". "See, this proves that Dirk Koetter should never have been fired", "See, this proves that Ron English should have been hired", "ASU will never win another game", "I will not renew my season tickets", "Does [Insert Name Here] know how cold it is in [Insert State Here] in the winter?", "au has beaten us again in the rankings", etc. Seasoned posters know to stay well clear of the message boards for at least 48 hours following LOI day.
- Do NOT expect anyone to rationally point out that this year's class is, for the most part, an irrelevance in the big picture. DE's success at ASU will be defined by his 2008 and (even more) his 2009 classes. Hopefully he is laying the foundation for those classes right now.
- DO expect great things from the kids that sign. This will be a special class, probably comprising more overachiever types than usual. Welcome them all with open arms; after all, they have chosen to be SUN DEVILS. Who knows, they may be the first class to win two Rose Bowls in the maroon-and-gold.