In my last couple of posts on this subject, we have been able to show a strong and positive correlation between success at recruiting as measured by Scout.com, and eventual success on the football field for the 2006 year.
I have gone back now and compiled total scores using the data at Scout.com for the four year recruiting period of 2004-2007. As my co-blogger Henry points out, Scout.com used a new rating system for 2007 that resulted in substantially higher scores. However, the new scores were applied evenly across all schools, thus we can still combine all the scores without compromising the effectiveness.
In making the predictions, we are using essentially a bell curve type analysis. We know that in 2006, teams averaged about 7.39 wins a year. Thus, the majority of teams can be expected to win 7 games, with the number of wins narrowing towards the higher and lower ends of the spectrum. Since you cannot win “partial” games (.39), we will round off our predictions.
To make our predictions, we determined what percentage of the overall recruiting scores for 2006 equaled X wins, and apply that same percentage to the scores for the 2004-2007 period.
Since we also determined there was a difference between the scores to success for major and mid-major conference teams, we split them apart. First, the major conference teams, broken down in thirds –
Major Conference – Top Third
That’s right ladies and gents – the Florida Gators have the best total 4 year score per Scout.com in recruiting. Three of the four classes are now Meyer’s, so this speaks very well to the job he has done in this area.
Now, it admittedly makes me cringe that the numbers crunch out to the Gators going undefeated in this exercise. I, for one, do not think it will happen, especially with our losses on the defensive side of the ball, and with our tough SEC schedule. Likewise, the Gators play numbers 4, 5, 6, 10, 12 and 17 on this list. And, many of those teams also play each other. So I think it impossible that Florida can win them all, while LSU wins 12, UT wins 12, and UGA wins 11.
I will address the SEC in a moment, but the point of this exercise is not to make “perfect” predictions next year. It is to show a number of wins that teams should be able to come within a game or two of. Applying the predictor to last year’s teams there was one instance where it was off by as many as 8 games (Rutgers), however the overall the average miss was less than 1 game.
Again looking at the top third, I think it is very reasonable to say USC will come very close to 13 wins. Texas at 12 seems reasonable, as does Michigan at 11, and Oklahoma at 10. Ohio State ought to win around 10, and Notre Dame is a lock at about 9. Follow this list, and the others, and see if any of the predictions look outrageous.
A final note on the top third – see North Carolina at 20th? I would think that if UNC wins 8 games next year it will be a big story. If so, you heard it here first.
Now, the 2nd group.
Major Conference – Middle Third
And, the final group –
Major Conference – Bottom Third
Now turning our attention to the mid-majors. Among the mid-major group, Boise State was one of the top recruiting scores for the 4 years ended 2006. Thus, perhaps it was not so much of a surprise they won so many games, given as they played a schedule of teams with mostly worse talent (Oklahoma obviously excepted).
The top 5 recruiting scores for mid-majors are –
Once again, you can say you heard it here first (providing it proves true), one of these teams will be the “surprise” mid-major that is 2007’s BCS buster.
Finally, to the unique issue of the SEC. With so many teams highly ranked, and with the situation that some must inevitably lose, the following is a modified predictor for the SEC only –