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Stars Matter, But What Makes The Stars?

Welcome, and apologies in advance for the stream-of-consciousness nonsense I'm about to preach. Last night, I started an impromptu ZOMG STARS!!11 debate with our resident star-ologist, Jeff Junstrom. It was mostly longing for a simpler time, when Joe was only trying to destroy the program by not making high school kids brunch at their homes, and constant stars debates tore the BSD community into Team "Seriously? You're still talking about that garbage?" and Team "RAGE QUIT."

Somehow I stumbled across(fell into?) the idea that you could just as easily rate recruits based on who happens to have offered them. Or more importantly, this was a confirmation bias the recruiting websites use to adjust their ratings, i.e. "He just received offers from USC, Alabama, and Notre Dame, this kid is top 25 for sure!" And in the latest ratings update, he would leap from middling 3/4 star athlete to 5 stars, and wind up on the Maxwell watch list while still in high school. Or, as I posited last night "Who knows more about recruiting? Tom Lemming, or whoever is doing it at Bama/Texas/USC/PSU/Insert D-1 school here?"

Obviously, there is more at play than just "The teams make the stars." Which is why I propose overall recruiting success is based upon 3 items: 1. At least recent historical team success/tradition. 2. Coaching. and 3. Geographical locations, in terms of traditional "recruiting hotbeds," Florida, Texas, California, etc. So, to attempt to prove this, I'm going to aggregate the top recruiting teams of the last 5 seasons, and hopefully try to extrapolate that information into something that answers the question "USC has 16 recruits, and they are ALL 4 or 5 stars, is this why Kiffykins is a god among coaches?" OR "Does USC have 16 recruits, and they are ALL 4 or 5 stars because they're USC?"

MORE AFTER THE JUMP!(Unnecessary, I know, but I've always wanted to do that.)

Now, if you take the top 25 teams by recruiting(as per Scout.com), per average stars(to eliminate the effects of small classes/oversigning) over the last 5 seasons, and look for repeat offenders, the list(in no particular order) is as follows: Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, LSU, Florida State, and Stanford. They ALL have been in the top 25 in recruiting in each of the last 5 years. That's right, 12 of the top 25 teams in 2012 were also top 25 teams in every year from 2008 to 2012. If you add in the 4 out of 5 years teams, that adds: Clemson, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, Texas A&M, Tennessee, California(?!), and Pitt?(looks again) Yup, PITT. That's 19 out of the last top 25 teams that have been there at least 4 of the last 5 years. Its also a decent cross-section of the winningest programs of all time. And a trio of top notch learnin' schools, Cal, UCLA, and Stanford. Can't fault any kids for wanting to go to those, even if they aren't necessarily powerhouses. But if you have the most stars, you should be better than the less starred. Or so I heard somewhere.

Now if we look at how those 19 consistently strong recruiting teams, they ought to have consistently strong records for the most part over the last 5 seasons. Or maybe their recruits were inflated based on name recognition? Let's See how this nightmare pans out.(Sorry for formatting, in advance, Chrome won't let me preview this? Eeek!)

We'll call this group the haves. 5 ranked years out of 5, recruiting excellence! Also only three of these teams vacated wins over this 5 year span! Congrats guys!(Organized by average ranking over period. Average ranking in parenthesis.)

Texas (3.4)

USC (4.4)

Ohio State (4.8)

Alabama (6.0)

Florida (6.2)

Georgia (6.6)

Oklahoma (7.8)

Notre Dame (8.2)

Florida State (8.4)

LSU (9.8)

Michigan (13.2)

Stanford (16.6)

And we'll call this group the almost haves. 4 ranked years out of 5, better than recruiting mediocrity!(Again organized by average ranking per each ranked year. Again, average ranking in parenthesis.)

Oregon (12.75(t))

UCLA (12.75(t))

Penn State (13.0)

Clemson (14.0)

Tennessee (16.5)

California (17.25)

Pitt (19.0)

Texas A&M (19.5)

Now, given the best recruiting teams should perform the best on the field too, lets see how many top 25's each had over the same 5 year span(in parenthesis), and also their total record's for that time frame.

Texas(3) 48-17

USC(4) 47-14

Ohio State(4) 50-15*

Alabama(4) 55-12*

Florida(3) 50-17

Georgia(3) 45-21

Oklahoma(4) 53-15

Notre Dame(0) 32-31

Florida State(3) 42-24*

LSU(4) 53-14

Michigan(2) 35-28

Stanford(2) 40-23

*I replaced vacated wins, since awesome 5 star recruits led to those, too.

And the same information for the almost haves.

Oregon(5) 53-13

UCLA(0) 27-37

Penn State(3) 47-18

Clemson(3) 41-26

Tennessee(1) 33-31

California(1, kinda*) 36-28

Pitt(1) 38-26

Texas A&M(1) 33-31

*California finished #25 in the 2008 USA Today Poll. Sure, I'll count it. Lol.

What do we make of all this? Hey, I'm just reporting. You decide. But first, allow me to introduce teams A-E, who combined weren't in the top 25 in recruiting even once. Number of top 25 finishes in parenthesis, total record over 5 year span shown.

TEAM A(4) 60-6

TEAM B(4) 47-18

TEAM C(4) 55-10

TEAM D(4) 49-16

TEAM E(5) 53-16

I know, you're probably saying "UNPOSSIBLE! TEAMS A THROUGH E MUST HAVE BEEN TOP 5 EVERY YEAR TO HAVE BETTER RECORDS THAN MOST OF THE 'TOP' TEAMS!" First, stop yelling. Its a computer screen. This isn't skype. Second, unpossible isn't really a word.

But not one of teams A-E were ranked in the top 25 in recruiting in any given year between 2008 and 2012. So somewhere, this whole "Most stars equals best teams" falls off the tracks. Is it coaching? Maybe. Should lesser coaches who do more with less get better recruits? Probably. Should proven shitty coaches get top recruits? Probably not. Consistently over a span of 5 years? I already said no the last time. Is it possible some of these recruits get bumps based on who offered them/who they committed to? Awful hard to say it isn't at least feasible.

And this isn't a matter of a top player being a bust, its the entire recruiting class by average stars. So, if UCLA, Tennessee, or Notre Dame have miserable records, its a product of 4 or 5 entire years of highly touted recruits being busts. Or were they busts who committed to UCLA, Tennessee, or Notre Dame and got the bump? Hmm?

No answers. Lots of questions. Where's my pipe? I hope somebody enjoys this wall of numbers I just casually slammed down over here. I'd be glad to answer any questions/comments/concerns/you sucks, but it's not very nice to call people names, and all this writing is going to have forced me to drink at some point, so leave a message, and I'll return it when I get back. Thanks! *BEEP*

Sigh, fine, Team A is Boise State, Team B is Cincinnati, Team C is TCU, Team D is BYU, and Team E is Virginia Tech.(Elite!)

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