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Most talented teams in the nation? 247 composite and blue chip ratio


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Examining the 2019 Team Talent Composite: Bama's back to No. 1.

Since the 2002 dawn of the modern recruiting era, every national championship participant has had at least one five-star prospect on its roster. There are ways to scale talent deficits – Michigan State did so in 2015 with its playoff push – but it’s hard to reach the College Football Playoff without a certain talent threshold.

That’s where the 247Sports Team Talent Composite comes into play. It examines and ranks every FBS team – accounting for transfers, dismissals and other early departures – based on how their players ranked in high school.

Obviously, some players fail to live up to the hype while others outperform expectations. But the most talented teams in college football generally win championships. There’s a reason Alabama, which has landed eight of the last nine No. 1 overall classes, is the only program to reach the playoff each year of its existence.

The Team Talent Composite provides a roster talent baseline for every FBS team, and 247Sports updated it this week prior to the 2019 season. This is what you need to know from the new breakdown.

Check Out The Full Team Talent Composite Rankings

The Tide were briefly usurped by Ohio State for the nation’s most naturally talented roster a season ago. But the general world order seems to be back in place. Alabama is, again, the nation’s most talented team. By a pretty wide margin, too. The Tide’s average player ranking is 93.2, which is nearly a point higher than the Buckeyes at 92.4.

Alabama is back at the top of the rankings after securing the nation’s No. 1 overall class. Ohio State, meanwhile, inked the No. 14 class in Ryan Day’s first cycle as head coach; the Buckeyes did take a small 17-signee group.

When you go by pure recruiting rankings, the Crimson Tide seem primed for yet another playoff trip. They’re the most naturally talented roster in the country by a pretty wide margin.

There are only 15-20 teams every season with a chance to reach the CFB Playoff. That’s clearly reflected in the Team Talent rankings. Only 19 programs have an average recruit score of 88 or better with Miami (88.2) slotting at the back end of that group. As it happens, all but four teams among those 19 (USC, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee) ranked outside the preseason Top 25 in the AP Poll

When you extend the cutoff to a 90 average, the talent gap is even more stark. Only five teams carry a 90-plus player average entering the 2019 season: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Georgia 4. USC 5. LSU

Something To Watch With Clemson

If you’re wondering where Clemson ranks, the Tigers have dropped from a 90.2 player average in their national championship season to just an 89.4. That’s what happens when you lose two five-star prospects along the defensive front and bring in a 2019 class that ranked just 10th nationally.

It’d still be a shock to see the Tigers miss the CFB Playoff – the ACC provides such a friendly road. But it’s worth noting Clemson is a little less naturally talented across the board than it was during its national championship season.

A Staggering Five-Star Distribution

Still, Clemson’s five-star haul (7) is higher than all but four programs: Georgia (14), Ohio State (13), Alabama (11), LSU (7). That five-team group is notable given they account for 47 percent of the active five-stars on FBS rosters. There’s an arms race in college football, and those programs are starting to pull ahead of the pack.

Watch Out for Texas, Oklahoma

The Big 12 is the only Power Five league that hasn’t sent a team to the national championship game during the playoff era. That streak might end soon if Texas and Oklahoma’s recruiting efforts are any indication. The Longhorns and Sooners check in at No. 6 and 7 on this list, respectively, making them among the most likely teams to break through soon.

It’s been a steady recruiting rise for Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley, too.

Both coaches started with rosters in 2017 that ranked outside the top 10: Texas (13th), Oklahoma (16th). The next season the Longhorns edged up to No 9, while the Sooners climbed to No. 11. Both programs are rising fast.

Severely Underperforming Teams

A few teams are doing less with more, and they’re exactly who you’d expect: No. 4 USC, No. 8 Florida State and No. 14 Tennessee. All three programs missed a bowl a season ago despite talent should allow them to annually contend.

The Vols, which went 5-7 in Year 1 under Jeremy Pruitt, are in a somewhat understandable situation. It can take a while for a new coach to foster a culture overhaul in a difficult conference.

The Trojans and Seminoles don’t really have that excuse.

Willie Taggart also went 5-7 in his first campaign as the Seminoles’ head coach. Yet … he’s got a roster (and a path in the ACC) that should never result in a losing season. NEVER. There’s a reason the Seminoles went to a record 36 bowl games between 1982 and 2017. Taggart inherited some baggage from Jimbo Fisher, just not nearly enough to justify a losing season in Tallahassee.

USC’s fall is even more criminal. Clay Helton’s Trojans dropped from 11 wins to five in Year 3 of Helton’s regime. That’s despite a roster with more talent than anyone west of Louisiana. The Trojans’ natural talent should be good enough to contend for a playoff spot every year. Something is going very wrong in Los Angeles for the Trojans to miss a bowl.

Teams That Outperform Their Talent

I’d label this the TCU, Michigan State and Wisconsin category. None of those teams were great a season ago, but all three programs figure out a way to contend despite recruiting classes that usually rank outside the Top 25 nationally. These a few other programs that seem to buck the general talent requirements for contention:

No. 40 Iowa: The Hawkeyes, perhaps better than anyone, develop undervalued talent. That’s resulted in four straight seasons in Iowa City of eight-plus wins.

No. 47 Utah: There might not be a more underrated coach than Kyle Whittingham. The Utes are coming off the first Pac-12 South title in their history, and they’ve reached five straight bowl games after a three-year adjustment period in the Pac-12.

No. 49 Northwestern: The Big Ten West is one of the more competitive divisions in the country in large part because of developmental programs like Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern. The Wildcats have won a combined 19 games the last two seasons.

No. 54 UCF: Duh. The Knights are a combined 25-1 the last two seasons despite a roster that ranks outside the top 50 nationally. Let’s not forget UCF upended Auburn just two years ago.

42COMMENTS

No. 55 Iowa State: The Cyclones have ranked outside the top 50 in the Team Talent Composite the last two seasons and it hasn’t mattered much. Matt Campbell’s found a way to win eight games. No Power Five coach gets more out of less (at least in terms of ready-to-play high school recruits) than Campbell.

No. 70 Washington State: Mike Leach is a cult hero in college football thanks to his personality. But he doesn’t get nearly enough credit as a head coach. The Cougars never had a 11-win season in program history until Leach got there. Leach is also the only coach at Texas Tech to win 11 games in the last 50 years. 

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Now for the blue chip ratio:  UGA fans can read this as well:  https://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/bud-elliotts-2019-blue-chip-ratio/

BLUE CHIP RATIO 2019

By: bar1990 
ATLIEN
 on August 8, 2019, 1:20 PM | 86 comments

Bud Elliott updated his blue chip rankings for 2019. For those who don't know, blue chip ratio is the ratio of 4 & 5 star recruits to 2 & 3 star recruits. There has never been a team who has won a national title in the modern era without a blue chip ratio >50%.

No source to share (article was emailed via banner society/SBNation's free email list). Rather than quoting the entire email (I'm happy to do that if the mods prefer), I'll share the highlights:

Entering 2019, 16 teams are above the 50% Blue-Chip Ratio:

  • Ohio State 81%
  • Alabama 80%
  • Georgia 79%
  • LSU 64%
  • Florida State 61%
  • Clemson 60%
  • USC 60%
  • Penn State 60%
  • Michigan 60%
  • Texas 60%
  • Oklahoma 60%
  • Auburn 58%
  • Washington 54%
  • Notre Dame 54%
  • Florida 53%
  • Miami 51%

As far as new entrants go...

Washington, Florida, and Miami are new to the Blue-Chip Ratio club this year. And each team arrived in a slightly different way.

  • Chris Petersen has slowly built Washington from a 22% BCR in 2014 to 23, 26, 30, 40, and finally 54 this year.
  • Florida was last a member of the club in 2014, dropped out for four seasons, and is back thanks to a strong 2019 class.
  • Miami's 2019 class was not great by any measure, but having the destitute 2015 class drop off is enough to boost the Hurricanes' four-year average over the mark.

Break down by conference...

The SEC has the most BCR teams (five), followed by the ACC and Big Ten (three each), Big 12 (two), and Pac-12 (two). Notre Dame also made it. Due to the number of teams meeting the threshold this year, this looks much more balanced between the conferences than previous seasons.

Still, 16 teams is a lot. The average number of BCR teams in the previous five seasons was 12.

Who is sitting on the bubble...

[There is a] lack of teams in the 38-48 range, a mark that usually suggests a team might be just one class away from making the jump. Texas A&M, Stanford, Tennessee, and Oregon are the only 4 in that range right now.

Biggest risers and fallers...

The pool of teams examined here are those who had at least a 20 percent BCR in the previous year...

  • Up: Washington (14%), Florida (11%), Georgia (10%), Oklahoma (7%), Penn State (7%)

Petersen's Huskies are this year's best example of how winning games can turn into better recruits.

  • Down: UCLA (-13%), USC (-11%), Florida State (-6%)

One comment that really stuck out to me, as I think it was pretty eloquent...

Some teams simply do not have a shot of signing elite prospects and must instead find diamonds in the rough. That's a strategy that can produce wins and conference titles, though perhaps not Playoff rings.

Coaching and development are extremely important. But by NCAA rule, coaches get just 20 hours per week with their players. Only so much development is possible. Talent acquisition is by far the most important element, especially when trying to compete for the biggest prize.

What this means for VT...
By my back-of-the-napkin calculation, VT has 19 four star players on the team right now, which is a roughly 22% blue chip ratio. One caveat - Bud's calculation is (slightly) more complex; he doesn't include transfers or walk-ons, so rather than dividing 19 by 85 players, it may be a smaller number (thus a higher blue chip ratio).

If you're looking for something (sort of?) positive, I'll refer you back to these comment above:

Petersen's Huskies are this year's best example of how winning games can turn into better recruits.

Chris Petersen has slowly built Washington from a 22% BCR in 2014 to 23, 26, 30, 40, and finally 54 this year.

Winning can help improve recruiting, HOWEVER we must note that as UW started winning, their revenue increased too (source):
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