MORGANTOWN - Perhaps one of the most tiresome things I'm forced to hear when it comes to the shifting landscape of college football and conference realignment is the obligatory question coaches have to answer regarding recruiting.
OK, so part of that is personal bias on my part. I loathe the public scrutiny given to recruiting in this Internet age.
Oh, so there's a 17-year-old kid that some guy has deemed a four-star recruit who has verbally committed to your school? Great. Nudge me when he actually signs on the dotted line and then wake me up for real after - or, more to the point, if - he qualifies academically, proves that he has the requisite work ethic to succeed, and then actually does.
But I digress.
No, what we're talking about today isn't even as concrete as a verbal commitment. It's the apparently-compulsory question that those in my profession who have been drawn to the Dark Side (giving as much or more credence to recruiting as to the actual games) ask each time there's another conference shift.
"So, Todd Graham, how does Pitt moving to the ACC change your recruiting base?''
"Hey, Doug Marrone, how concerned are you that Syracuse being based in a more southern conference will affect your Northeast recruiting region?''
And, of course, to West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen:
"Coach, how does moving to the Big 12 affect the areas you will recruit?''
That one, naturally, followed earlier questions about how TCU joining the Big East would affect the same (August), how being stuck in a crumbling Big East would alter things (September after Pitt, Syracuse and TCU bailed), how adding Houston and SMU and potentially Boise State would broaden recruiting horizons (early October), and how the uncertainty of the on-again, off-again, on-again relationship with the Big 12 weighed on the minds of recruits (November).
Granted, perhaps those are valid questions. Maybe all the shifting does refocus recruiting. Perhaps it does open or close a door or two here and there.
But as far as 90 percent of the recruits West Virginia will go after and get are concerned, none of it really means much of anything. It may change the message and the approach of Holgorsen and his staff when they go recruiting, but that's entirely about what you're selling, not where you're selling it.
In other words, West Virginia isn't suddenly going to be getting most of its players from Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas. It may get a few, but not because some kid wants to go 1,000 miles away from home just so he can return to the region a couple of times a year - or to a specific locale twice in four years - and play in front of his family. If he wants to do that, he'll stay home in the first place.