NSD: Have a Nice Holiday

Here we are, Wednesday, February 3, 2010, National Signing Day. A day which should be a national holiday, at least in the American South anyway.

I’ve had my say about what the various player rankings might mean and what they might not mean in terms of actual performance on the field once on campus, and in very specific instances what they have meant and what they have not meant.

But perhaps team rankings are another matter.

Patrick Garvin, one of my favorite bloggers—because he writes about college football from a historical perspective—last week wrote a post titled Are Recruiting Rankings Meaningful? It was the type of article that conjured up Mark Twain’s famous saying about letter-writing. Sort of.

Patrick posed two questions:

  1. Is there significance in team recruiting rankings for college football?
  2. Is there any correlation between these rankings compared to the final poll results?

Since team recruiting rankings is a relatively new gig, there isn’t a massive historical data base out there. He compared team recruiting rankings from 2002-2007 with actual, final rankings from 2004-2009.

Findings? There seemed to be some correlation between recruiting and actual rankings for most of the teams evaluated. (I’ll perhaps pass the actual numbers to a statistician at the office for a correlation coefficient determination). There were some underachievers: Michigan, Tennessee, Miami (Fla), and Notre Dame did not perform to their high level of recruiting.

And there were overachievers: non-BCS teams recognized as having excellent head coaches that ran a particular offensive system.

Patrick included a quote from Scott Kennedy, Director of Scouting for Scout.com: “Team recruiting rankings are a compilation of individuals. Games are won by TEAMS. It’s not always the best collection of individuals that makes up the best teams.”

Sounds like something that Robert Neyland or Paul Bryant would have said. Or did say.

Have a nice holiday.

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2 responses to “NSD: Have a Nice Holiday”

  1. TK says :

    OR AS BRYANT SAID….”WE ARE GOING TO HAVE ENOUGH TROUBLE UP HERE WITHOUT YOU KICKING THEIR DOG”

  2. rockytop78 says :

    One reason that Tennessee underperformed vis-a-vis recruiting rankings as compared to won-loss record is because Fulmer and his staff relied too much on winning based on sheer talent of the players, and not enough on coaching ability. Time and time again during the Fulmer era (certainly the latter half) we watched Tennessee lose to better coached teams with lesser talent — need I mention the 2001 SEC Championship game debacle (which I attended, sitting in the end zone surrounded by LSU fans)? We got beat by a second-string quarterback and a second-string running back, who happened to be coached by Nick Saban.

    I hope that we can look forward to top-notch coaching under Derek Dooley and his staff, as well as highly ranked recruiting classes; so that when Patrick Garvin does his statistical analysis again, there won’t be such a discrepancy between the ranking of the recruiting class and the ranking of the team at the end of the season.

    Thanks, by the way, for the nice thoughtful article.

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