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Yet Again, Recruiting Rankings Matter

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

'Tis the season for that guy whom likes to remind us all that there are lots of All-Americans and Super Bowl MVP's who were two star players whose only offers were from North Dakota State and South Dakota School of Cosmetology.

This argument is fatally flawed for a variety of reasons, including the fact that there are literally hundreds of two and three star recruits for every five star, and the vast majority of them go pro in construction, accounting, auto detailing, jewel theft, and countless other non-football endeavors. As our SB Nation colleague put it this morning on Twitter:

Now, another of SB Nation's crack team, Jason Kirk, has compiled some interesting numbers looking at a sort of four year "moving average" of recruiting class rankings across college football. Jason has more details at the link above about where the numbers come from, but below I've provided the helpful table from his article, for those who like visual aids:

National rank Conference rank School Four-year Movement vs. prev. avg.
1 SEC 1 Alabama 1 =
2 Big Ten 1 Ohio State 4
3 ACC 1 Florida State 5
4 SEC 2 LSU 6.5
5 Pac-12 1 USC 8.5
6 SEC 3 Georgia 9.25
6 SEC 3 Florida 9.25
8 SEC 5 Auburn 9.75
9 SEC 6 Texas A&M 10.5
10 Big 12 1 Texas 11.75
10 Notre Dame 11.75
12 Pac-12 2 UCLA 12.5
13 SEC 7 Tennessee 13.75
14 ACC 2 Clemson 14
15 Big 12 2 Oklahoma 14.25
16 ACC 3 Miami 15.5
17 Big Ten 2 Michigan 17
18 Pac-12 3 Oregon 17.5
19 SEC 8 South Carolina 18.25
SEC average 18.76
20 SEC 9 Ole Miss 21.75
21 Pac-12 4 Stanford 23.75
22 ACC 4 Virginia Tech 24.5
23 SEC 10 Mississippi State 25.75
23 SEC 10 Arkansas 25.75
25 Pac-12 5 Washington 26.25
26 Big Ten 3 Penn State 29
26 Big 12 3 Baylor 29
28 Big Ten 4 Michigan State 29.25
29 Big Ten 5 Nebraska 29.75
30 Pac-12 6 Arizona State 30.25
31 ACC 5 North Carolina 31.75
32 Big 12 4 Oklahoma State 33
33 ACC 6 Virginia 33.25
34 SEC 12 Missouri 34.5
35 Big 12 5 West Virginia 34.75

Pac-12 average 34.88
36 Big 12 6 Texas Tech 36
37 SEC 13 Kentucky 36.25
38 Big 12 7 TCU 36.75
39 Pac-12 7 California 37.5


Big 12 average 38.33


ACC average 40.16
40 SEC 14 Vanderbilt 40.5
41 Pac-12 8 Arizona 41

Big Ten average 41.05
42 ACC 7 Louisville 41.5
43 Big Ten 6 Maryland 42
44 Big Ten 7 Wisconsin 42.5
45 ACC 8 NC State 44.25
46 ACC 9 Pittsburgh 45
47 Pac-12 9 Utah 47.25
48 Big Ten 8 Rutgers 48
49 Big Ten 9 Indiana 49.75 =
50 Big Ten 10 Northwestern 51.25
51 AAC 1 USF 52.25
52 Big Ten 11 Iowa 52.75
53 Pac-12 10 Oregon State 54.5
54 ACC 10 Georgia Tech 56.5
54 Pac-12 11 Washington State 56.5
56 Big Ten 12 Illinois 56.75
57 MWC 1 Boise State 59.25
58 ACC 11 Duke 60
58 Big 12 8 Kansas State 60
60 Big Ten 13 Minnesota 60.75
61 Big Ten 14 Purdue 62
61 ACC 12 Syracuse 62
63 ACC 13 Wake Forest 62.25
63 AAC 2 Cincinnati 62.25
65 Pac-12 12 Colorado 63
66 Big 12 9 Iowa State 63.5
67 Big 12 10 Kansas 64.25
68 BYU 65.25
69 ACC 14 Boston College 66.75
70 C-USA 1 Marshall 68
71 AAC 3 Houston 69
72 MWC 2 San Diego State 72
73 AAC 4 SMU 74
74 AAC 5 East Carolina 77
75 AAC 6 UCF 77.25
76 AAC 7 Temple 79
AAC average 79.02
77 C-USA 2 Southern Miss 80.75
78 MAC 1 Toledo 81
79 AAC 8 Memphis 81.75
80 AAC 9 UConn 83.5
81 C-USA 3 Florida Atlantic 84.5
82 Sun Belt 1 Arkansas State 85.75
83 AAC 10 Tulane 86
84 C-USA 4 Louisiana Tech 87
85 MAC 2 Western Michigan 87.25
86 AAC 11 Tulsa 88.5
87 MWC 3 Fresno State 89
88 MWC 4 San Jose State 91.75
88 Sun Belt 2 Louisiana-Lafayette 91.75
90 C-USA 5 Rice 92.75
91 MAC 3 Bowling Green 94
91 MWC 5 Nevada 94


MWC average 95.31
93 C-USA 6 Western Kentucky 96.75


C-USA average 96.94
94 C-USA 7 FIU 97.25
94 C-USA 7 Middle Tennessee 97.25
96 MAC 4 Miami (Ohio) 98
97 MAC 5 Northern Illinois 99.25
97 Sun Belt 3 Texas State 99.25
99 MWC 6 New Mexico 99.5
100 UAB 100.67
101 MAC 6 Central Michigan 101.5
101 MWC 7 Colorado State 101.5
103 MAC 7 Ohio 101.75
104 C-USA 9 North Texas 102
105 MWC 8 Hawaii 103.5
106 Sun Belt 4 South Alabama 103.75


MAC average 103.79
107 C-USA 10 Old Dominion 104.5
108 MWC 9 Air Force 104.75
109 MAC 8 Ball State 106.5
110 MWC 10 Utah State 106.75
110 Sun Belt 5 Troy 106.75


Sun Belt average 106.88
112 MWC 11 UNLV 109.75
113 Sun Belt 6 Georgia Southern 110
114 C-USA 11 UTSA 112
114 MWC 12 Wyoming 112
116 Sun Belt 7 Appalachian State 113
117 Sun Belt 8 New Mexico State 113.5
118 MAC 9 Kent State 113.75
119 Sun Belt 9 Louisiana-Monroe 114.25
120 MAC 10 UMass 114.75
121 MAC 11 Buffalo 115.25
122 MAC 12 Eastern Michigan 116.75
123 C-USA 12 Charlotte 117.5
123 Sun Belt 10 Idaho 117.5
125 AAC 12 Navy 117.75
126 Sun Belt 11 Georgia State 119.5
126 MAC 13 Akron 119.5
128 C-USA 13 UTEP 120
129 Army 123.25

Notice anything? I do. An unmistakable similarity between the rankings and the final college football rankings for 2014. Georgia's four year average recruiting ranking was a 9.25 and in 2014 the 'Dawgs finished . . . 10th. The top 3 were all in the initial 4 team college football playoff. It's all pretty uncanny, except for the part where Will Muschamp recruits lights out and squanders that talent with impressive regularity ending in his unceremonious firing.

None of this should be surprising at this point. But it bears repeating: college football teams are the sum of the talent they're comprised of and how that talent is developed. In a conference like the SEC with great coaches, who are provided millions of dollars in resources to develop and train players, the raw ingredients matter. If, like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer you can recruit the top talent in your conference for a couple of years running, you'll have a roster that's more talented than your competition. You'll likely win more games, too. That's depressing for those who don't like recruiting, who find it off-putting and a little creepy. But it's reality. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!