As we sit less than a week away from national signing day, we at Saurian Sagacity have decided to see if recruiting equals success, at least in the limited terms of the study described below.
For our study, we ranked the 115 NCAA division I-A schools that have recruiting class data on Scout.com for the years 2003-2006. We then took the average class rankings for the 4 year period, and then ranked the schools from lowest average number to highest. For example, USC had the number 1 ranked class in 2003, number 1 in 2004, number 6 in 2005, and number 1 in 2006 for an average of 2.25 (the best in our study).
We choose the 4 years from 2003-2006 as representative of the talent that was playing on teams during the past season. Senior Chris Leak of Florida, for instance, was a member of the class of 2003, while Percy Harvin a member of the class of 2006. Both can said to have been substantial contributors to last year’s Gator successes.
As stated, the highest ranked school in our study was USC. The lowest ranked, at 115th, was Arkansas State.
The top 25 for the period 2003-2006 was as follows (with average class rank):
Now, to compare that to this year's final results.
The Top 25 per the Coach’s Poll Ranking for 2006 –
1 FloridaIf talent alone were the basis for success, one might reasonably expect USC to have finished 1st last year, seeing as they had the top ranked average class for the past 4 years. USC did finish 4th, so in the world of statistics, they seem to be within an acceptable range of achievement for talent received.
2 Ohio St.
3 Louisiana St.
4 Southern California
6 Boise St. (ID)
7 Louisville (KY)
8 Auburn (AL)
10 West Virginia
12 Rutgers (NJ)
15 Brigham Young (UT)
17 Wake Forest (NC)
18 Virginia Tech
19 Notre Dame (IN)
20 Boston College (MA)
21 Texas Christian
22 Oregon St.
25 Penn St.
Of the top 25 for 2006, the following is how much above or below their final poll ranking verses class ranking they were:
That said, we can see which teams were “busts” in the final poll results. Whether this is a result of inaccurate rankings by Scout.com, poor coaching, poor effort, or just bad luck is for you to decide. Our biggest bust was Georgia, ending unranked at 9-4 after having the 5th best recruiting average over the past 4 years. FSU and Miami were also busts, followed by Texas A&M and the 3 ACC teams of Maryland, North Carolina and NC State.
It is also interesting to see that South Carolina, which ended the year unranked at 8-5, and Alabama, which ended 6-7, both have had top 25 average recruiting classes over the past 4 years, suggesting far better talent at those schools than anyone seems to want to credit them with. South Carolina’s 4 last classes have been ranked 15th, 28th, 30th and 33rd, while Alabama has had classes ranked 45th, 19th, 16th, and 18th. Having combined losses of 12 games with those classes seems unmerited.
Lastly, let’s look at the final poll ranked overachievers based on their average class rankings for the past 4 years.
5th ranked Wisconsin – average class ranked 36.25Making Boise State, ranked 68 places ahead of their average class rank, our 2006 Overachiever of the Year.
6th ranked Boise State - average class ranked 74
7th ranked Louisville - average class ranked 42.75
10th West Virginia – average class ranked49.75
12 Rutgers – average class ranked 61
15th BYU – average class ranked 53.25
16th Arkansas – average class ranked 28
17th Wake Forest – average class ranked 57
20th Boston College – average class ranked 42.75
21st TCU – average class ranked 68th
22nd Oregon State – average class ranked 45.5
24th Hawaii – average class ranked 87.25
Next week, after the final class ranking are in, we will conduct another study that will average the classes of 2004-2007 with a predictive look as to what we can expect for the coming season.