Recruiting: Irish takes brand nationwide

Stanford and Notre Dame, which renew their rivalry Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Notre Dame Stadium, retain advantages in attracting prospects that even the most dominant programs can't match.

In this era of Southeastern Conference supremacy, realistic options to unseat the undisputed No. 1 league are short on supply. Recruiting powers USC and Florida State have already faltered this year.

There's the Oregon model -- devise a scheme, as difficult to duplicate as to defend, and place it in the hands of a visionary who's totally in tune with the players needed to succeed in his system. Easier said than done.

Or there's the truly national operation. Hope the best from coast to coast is strong enough to compete with the best of SEC country. Translation: Forget about that fence around your home state. If the lock-down corner 2,000 miles from campus fits better than the kid from a high school down the street, you get on a plane to recruit.

This is Stanford and Notre Dame.

Read more from Mitch Sherman.