Friday, August 01, 2008

Top Talent Schools 2002-2007

Or What the Hell is Wrong with Florida State?

Our friends as Scalp’em have daringly raised the forbidden question – can Bobby Bowden actually coach? And while my colleague GatorKGB has tossed any available fuel on the burning pyre that is FSU football, I like to take a more analytical approach to the question – an examination of the statistics.

Coaching involves many facets, but what we will address here is whether FSU is getting the most out of its recruited talent. In other words – in anybody coaching these kids? We will take a look at the recruiting statistics of Rivals from 2002-2007, and how that compares to FSU’s success (or lack of) since 2003 (the first year of the 2002 class).

First Florida State’s win-loss records since 2003 –

2003 10-3
2004 9-3
2005 8-5
2006 7-6
2007 7-6

There is a trend here, and it ain’t good. Since 2005 FSU has been a purely mediocre football team.

Next let’s take a look at FSU’s recruiting class statistics per Rivals from 2002-2007 –

Not to shabby on the recruiting front, especially that 2002 class, which with an average rating of 4.09 is perhaps the highest ever recorded on Rivals.

Yet that class managed 8-5 and 7-6 records in their two final years.

So how does the statistics on the chart above compare to the classes of other schools? We will look at 3 metrics here, the average class ranking, the average “star” rating, and the total class score for 2002-2007.

By Average Class Ranking 2002-2007

1 Southern Cal 3.5
2 Georgia 6.33
3 Oklahoma 7.5
4 Florida 7.83
5 Texas 8.2
6 LSU 8.5
7 Florida State 9
8 Miami-FL 9.5
9 Tennessee 10.16
10 Auburn 11.33

FSU ranks a respectable 7th here, with an average class ranking of 9th in the nation.

By Average “Star” Rating 2002-2007

1 Southern Cal 3.85
2 Texas 3.68
3 Florida State 3.65
4 LSU 3.61
5 Oklahoma 3.61
6 Florida 3.59
7 Michigan 3.58
8 Georgia 3.55
9 Ohio State 3.53
10 Miami-FL 3.52

FSU really shines here, with the average “star” rating of players recruited of 3.65.

By Average Total Class Score 2002-2007

1 Southern Cal 2,599
2 Florida 2,237
3 LSU 2,210
4 Florida State 2,181
5 Oklahoma 2,124
6 Georgia 2,102
7 Texas 2,098
8 Tennessee 2,048
9 Miami-FL 1,973
10 Michigan 1,887

Again FSU is top 5, with an average class score of 2181.

Obviously Florida State has been among the top recruiters this decade.

But how has that deep pool of talent performed? First let’s compare it to the success records of the 12 schools listed in the 3 tables above -

Winning Records of Top Recruiting Teams 2003-2007

1 Southern Cal 90.77%
2 Louisiana State 84.85%
3 Texas 84.38%
4 Ohio State 82.54%
5 Oklahoma 80.60%
6 Georgia 78.46%
7 Auburn 78.13%
8 Michigan 73.02%
9 Florida 71.88%
10 Tennessee 68.75%
11 Miami-Florida 66.13%
12 Florida State 64.06%

AVERAGE – 76.96%

With the worst win record of the top recruiting schools over the past 5 years, FSU comes in 12.9% worse than average.

Notably, of the top 12 recruiting schools, 4 have won “national” titles in the same time period (LSU won twice). Auburn, of course, was undefeated in 2004. In fact, EVERY “national” title winner from 2003-2007 is on this list, as well as the BCS title game loser.

Overall FSU is 25th in the nation in win percentage since 2003 – this with an average recruiting class ranked 9th, and an average “star” talent ranked 3rd.

Possible explanations –

1. Florida State cannot properly develop recruited talent
2. Florida State is recruiting talent, but not recruiting needs
3. Florida State cannot “game plan”, or "game coach", effectively
4. The recruiting statistics are wrong

The first 3 are failures of coaching on one level or another.

The last is unlikely, as the other teams listed as top recruiting teams (sans Miami, and perhaps Tennessee) have had reasonably high levels of success in the past 5 years.

Finally, I well note that Florida is ranked only 9th in winning percentage among top recruiting teams in the past 5 years, and 17th overall. We had a problem, and unlike FSU, we took care of it.

You see when our problem had a game that was equivalent to, say losing at home 30-0 to Wake Forest (see Florida at Mississippi State, 2004), the problem was dealt with. Judge the effectiveness here –

2003-2007 Win Percentages (Zook and Meyer)

Florida – 71.88% (17th in nation)
FSU – 64.06% (25th in nation)

2005-2007 Win Percentages (Meyer only)

Florida – 79.49% (8th in nation)
FSU – 56.41% (51st in nation)

I think the point is made.

And honestly, I hope Florida State lets the current situation continue.


NoleCC said...

The stats point out the truth... it was most definitely coaching. Right now, it's a combo of leftover coaching issues and lack of depth.

I don't expect improvement until halfway through 2009, if the depth in the trenches gets better and the overall team health improves.

I think FSU is back on the right track, but when you wander so far for so long, it takes a while to get back on the right path.

Mergz said...

Mid-2009 eh? I keep hearing that is when the economy is going to get back on track too.

Anonymous said...

rather than go with just stars and signed recruits it would be interesting to see how FSU would have done in the analysis if we ranked just the kids who showed up for the first day of classes after they signed.