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Recruiting 2014 - Yes, Rankings Equal Titles

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2014


It comes up every year on National Signing Day. Do recruiting rankings matter or are they just water cooler conversation fodder? Well, when looking back at how Scout rated them and who ended up playing for titles, a clear trend emerged. That one suggests those class numbers are harbingers of success to come.

On Twitter @Bart_CFN Every year, same question is asked around this time, one when grown men oddly pore over the decisions of 17-year-old high school kids that aren't their own, and the rest of the country is reminded that somewhere, there are people that still actually use fax machines. It's National Signing Day, the most talked about day of the college football off season mostly because ... actually, I don't know why. National Signing Day in and of itself is overrated. 'Crootin is not.

And every year, the same conversation tends to come up. "Are recruiting rankings valid? Do they matter? Is it all fluff?" Luckily, there are those of us out there with enough time on our hands and a working calculator to help find out.

Below are two charts. One is of the BCS Champions since 2004. Below them are the runners-up. Each team has five classes that contribute to their roster typically. The column on top (C1 through C5) is "Class 1, 2, 3 and so on."

All rankings used are via Scout.com, which archives its class rankings back to 2002. For the 2004 and 2005 championship game participants, full classes aren't available, but the gist wouldn't change even if they were. Afterwards, a few facts for you.

BCS Champion C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 AVG
2013 Florida State 18 9 1 11 16 9.2
2012 Alabama 1 2 4 7 2 3.2
2011 Alabama 22 1 2 4 7 7.2
2010 Auburn 9 6 18 16 6 11
2009 Alabama 16 18 22 1 2 11.8
2008 Florida 8 11 2 1 12 6.8
2007 LSU 2 2 19 7 5 7
2006 Florida 20 4 8 11 2 9
2005 Texas 1 14 10 13 9.5
2004 USC 12 1 1 4.7
Runners Up C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 AVG
2013 Auburn 16 6 2 8 14 9.2
2012 Notre Dame 2 23 19 8 16 13.6
2011 LSU 5 7 3 7 8 6
2010 Oregon 52 9 23 26 13 24.6
2009 Texas 13 3 3 16 7 8.4
2008 Oklahoma 7 5 7 30 13 12.4
2007 Ohio State 25 11 7 13 16 14.4
2006 Ohio State 3 25 11 7 13 11.8
2005 USC 12 1 1 6 5
2004 Oklahoma 2 3 2 2.3


- The highest recruiting class average over five classes was 11.8 by Alabama in 2009. Only two classes averaged above a top 10 class and won a national championship, and both of those teams had at least three top 10 classes.

-Even in terms of runners up, only Oregon in 2010 featured an average class rating of below 15 and even they had one top 10 upper class to anchor that team, which is consistent with every program either winning or playing runner up.

-Auburn in 2010 is the only team that won a BCS title without having at least one top 5 class. However, they had two classes ranked 6th.

-The lowest individual class rating for a BCS champion was 22 by Alabama. Basically, if you're not recruiting every class in the top 25, you aren't winning titles. Conversely, the lowest individual class for any of the runners-up was 52 from Oregon, which was an anomaly, 22 spots higher than the next highest rated class.

What does all of this show? It shows that overall, recruiting classes DO matter in terms of their ranking. It means the people who do these jobs do them fairly well. Shoot for good classes and don't necessarily worry about individual 5-star recruits. But whatever you do, don't suggest "recruiting rankings don't matter."