By Dave Bartoo, Founder, CFBMatrix
In the recent news, there has been some discussion as to the validity in the rise of recruiting ranks by ‘non-traditional’ powers. As a site that distinguishes itself through recruiting rank based model and analytics, I took some time to look into the top teams with the largest average recruiting class gains and losses over the last 10 years. While this article is a by-product of all the other recruiting based trends within the site, recruiting trends and year over year recruiting performance plays a significant impact on expected win/loss record and BCS title contenders.
The top gainers in average recruiting class rank is dominated by the Big East, PAC12 and the SEC. Cincinnati had the largest average ranking increase with just over 32 average spots from 2007-2011 versus the 2002-2006 period. The top gainer in the Pac12 Conference is the Stanford Cardinal, with a +16.9 increase, which saw huge strides under Jim Harbaugh. The most dramatic gains (percentage) were at Alabama, where a 6 year average of 23.5 was replaced with an average class of 2.3 after Nick Saban took over.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction highlighted the bottom 10 and lead easily by the Colorado Buffaloes with an average class rank drop of just over 24 spots per year from ’07-’11. The list, dominated by Big 12 and PAC 12 teams, has some interesting company. In this list you can see a part of the strong correlation that recruiting rank has with performance as some conference doormats from the PAC 12 , Big 12 and Big East are listed. There are a couple of surprises in this bottom ten in Arizona State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
Arizona State is clearly trending downward, but it has not shown as much on the field to this point, as many other teams on their schedule were also trending down in recent years. Texas A&M, whom the CFBMatrix model had shown possessed elite talent from 2002-2006, has seen a small decline in talent. And Oklahoma, who many pick as a front runner to win the 2011 season National Title, still has elite level talent, but it is not near the levels of previous years early in 2000.
What may be missed is that nearly 70% of all AQ schools have had less than a +/- 10% change in their average recruiting class ranking in this quick study. As recruiting rank (weighed ave of all ranking systems not just ‘one’) has shown to be a predictor in over 70% of all CFB games, it is important to be moving up but clearly it is very difficult to do so.
Top 10 Recruiting Class Average Rank Increases
|Rank||Top 10 Teams w/ Largest Positive Ave Class Difference||Conference||Ave Class Ranking* ’02-’06||Ave Class Ranking* ”07-’11||Ave Class Difference|
|9||South Florida||Big East||56.7||47.5||9.2|
Top 10 Recruiting Class Average Rank Decreases
|Rank||Top 10 Teams w/ Negative Ave Class Difference||Conference||Ave Class Ranking* ”02-’06||Ave Class Ranking* ”07-’11||Ave Class Difference|
|2||Purdue||Big Ten – Leaders||38.6||58.4||-19.8|
|4||Iowa State||Big 12||47.6||65.8||-18.2|
|5||Arizona State||PAC-12 S||28.6||40.6||-12.0|
|6||Texas A&M||Big 12||14.2||23.6||-9.4|
|7||Texas Tech||Big 12||30||39.4||-9.4|
|8||Washington State||PAC-12 N||44||53.4||-9.4|
*The CFBMatrix and www.collegefootballmatrix.com Composite Team Rank is made up of all available national public data on players and teams. As no site has proven to have superior team and player ratings for our model, a blended rank provides an ability to reduce bias and provide a more accurate level of recruiting ranking across all college football teams. In our modeling this Composite Ranking works better for determining season records, results and expected finish within each conference.
All Teams #1-#66 Recruiting Class Average Change Rank
|Rank||Team||Conf/Division||Ave. Class Rank* ’02-’06||Ave Class rank ’07-’11||Ave Class Difference|
|9||South Florida||Big East||56.7||47.5||9.2|
|11||Indiana||Big Ten – Ldrs||70.3||61.8||8.6|
|13||West Virginia||Big East||42.3||34.8||7.6|
|15||Northwestern||Big Ten – Lgnds||69.5||62.8||6.8|
|16||North Carolina||ACC – C||26.7||20.8||5.9|
|19||Nebraska||Big Ten – Lgnds||28.6||24.0||4.6|
|21||Minnesota||Big Ten – Lgnds||57.8||54.0||3.8|
|22||Ohio State||Big Ten – Ldrs||12.8||9.2||3.6|
|25||Clemson||ACC – A||28.7||26.0||2.7|
|29||South Carolina||SEC E||20.8||18.6||2.2|
|30||Virginia Tech||ACC – C||32.2||30.2||2.0|
|31||Michigan State||Big Ten – Lgnds||39.8||37.8||2.0|
|32||Illinois||Big Ten – Ldrs||40.0||38.0||2.0|
|35||Georgia Tech||ACC – C||48.5||47.3||1.3|
|36||Duke||ACC – C||63.0||62.6||0.4|
|37||Oregon State||PAC-12 N||46.8||47.0||-0.2|
|38||Mississippi State||SEC W||34.2||34.6||-0.4|
|41||Penn State||Big Ten – Ldrs||22.6||24.8||-2.2|
|45||Boston College||ACC – A||42.8||46.2||-3.4|
|46||Michigan||Big Ten – Lgnds||9.8||13.4||-3.6|
|47||Wisconsin||Big Ten – Ldrs||43.4||47.8||-4.4|
|48||Florida State||ACC – A||6.8||11.2||-4.4|
|49||Wake Forest||ACC – A||59.2||64.0||-4.8|
|51||Oklahoma State||Big 12||29.2||34.0||-4.8|
|53||Iowa||Big Ten – Lgnds||36.2||42.4||-6.2|
|56||Texas Tech||Big 12||30.0||39.4||-9.4|
|57||Washington State||PAC-12 N||44.0||53.4||-9.4|
|58||Texas A&M||Big 12||14.2||23.6||-9.4|
|59||Miami (Fl)||ACC – C||7.2||17.4||-10.2|
|60||Arizona State||PAC-12 S||28.6||40.6||-12.0|
|62||North Carolina State||ACC – A||27.6||42.6||-15.0|
|63||Maryland||ACC – A||24.8||41.2||-16.4|
|64||Iowa State||Big 12||47.6||65.8||-18.2|
|66||Purdue||Big Ten – Ldrs||38.6||58.4||-19.8|
|69||Virginia||ACC – C||24.2||51.6||-27.4|
|70||Kansas State||Big 12||39.2||69.8||-30.6|
Dave Bartoo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can provide contributed articles, stats, graphic, input or segment time to any publication or radio show.
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