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The P5 Bump?

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I have been following the Big 12 bread crumbs on the discussion of adding a championship game.  I saw a feed on Twitter that was discussing the merits of conference expansion.  Most fans did not like the idea, as they perceived tcu uofl utah recruiting surge P5a ‘watering down’ of the conference power and national perception.

I would agree if the teams you brought in remained static in their football recruiting.  However, the trends of recruiting after the announcement of moving into a Power 5 (P5) conference tell me that is not an issue.

If you look at the pattern of recent moves from G5 (group of 5) status into the P5 ranks, the numbers tell me that adding to the Big 12 is more about the right program, location and timing.

Louisville: In 2004 they announced their move out of Conference USA.  Their recruiting class ranking the year before the announcement was no. 76.  At the end of the 2005 recruiting cycle, their 4 year average (see chart to the right) was no. 57.  By 2008, their four year average class was no. 42.  The change in their average recruiting class in comparing the three years before the move to the three years after was 30.7%.  And as much as you may hate recruiting rankings, the higher your in-conference rank in CFBMatrix recruiting averages, the higher your average team win total.

TCU: The rumblings of TCU to the Big East started in 2009 and by the end of 2010, they had announced the move to the Big East and rescinded it in favor of the Big 12.  From 2006-2009 their average national recruiting class ranking was no. 79.  In the four years after the move, from 2011-2014, the Horned Frogs averaged a class ranking of 35.5.  In four year, their average class jumped 58%.

Utah:   The Utes got the call up to the PAC-12 in 2010.  In the four years prior to getting promoted, their average class was no. 70 and the 2009 class was ranked no. 91.  In spite of all the national attention of an undefeated season and a top 5 finish, the Utes needed something else.  From 2010- 2013, their class averaged 38.25.  Before 2010, they never had a class in the top 50, since 2010, every class but one was inside the top 44.  Their four years before, versus four years after recruiting profile, changed 45.0%.

On average, these three teams, after moving into a P5 conference, saw the next four years of recruiting classes come in at a 44% better class ranking level.

My advice to Commissioner Bowlsby, should he ever call, would be to focus not on current programs, but what they could look like in the future.  Find programs with tremendous growth potential and are in areas of football development.  This would allow those teams to take advantage of their playoff potential status AND the current Big 12 members would have new recruiting grounds opened up.  That is why, in my opinion,  Boise State would not be considered.  They have a great brand and history, but have limited recruiting ceilings and offer no gain to the current Big 12 programs.   Houston should be pulled in for the media market alone but also as a defensive merger to keep other conferences (ACC/PAC-12) from gaining access to Texas.  Cincinnati (Ohio), Memphis (South), Central Florida (Florida), Temple (Philly/Tri-State Gold Mine) are a few that come to mind with a focus on adding teams between the Big 12 core area and West Virginia.






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