Here is the third installment in our look at talent and achievement over the last decade in college football. Continued thanks to site contributor MB for his amazing effort in compiling these numbers. Go here to read the first part of the series and here for part two. Please note that the methodology used for these numbers will be explained at the end of the series!
Another stat that we like to follow is the talent gap between the most talented team and the second most talented team in the country. What this shows is how much talent Miami and USC accumulated in 2000-2002 and 2006-2007, respectively. We also have the data for 1998 and 1999 which indicated talent gaps of 18 points and 10 points, respectively. It is very rare to have 100+ point talent advantages (let alone 200+!) yet Miami did it three times and USC did it twice…interestingly…only one BCS title from those 5 occurrences. Maybe those teams had too much talent? That is a topic for another day.
Talent Gap Between #1 and #2 Most Talented Team in College Football 2000-2007 Based on NFL Draft-Table 10
|Year||Team||#1 vs #2|
|#2 Ohio St|
|#2 Ohio St|
|2004||#1 Florida St||17|
|#2 Ohio St|
We can also evaluate the talent metrics by conference. While it is no surprise that the SEC has been the most talented conference throughout the decade, there are some interesting trends developing since the ACC/Big East re-alignment in 2004…this may have some bearing on the Big 10’s interest in expanding in the near term. Look at the shift in talent away from the Big East (primarily Miami and Virginia Tech) as well as the decline in talent in the Big 10…
Most Talented Conferences Based on NFL Draft 2000-2007-Table 11
|Average Performance Points|
Looking at single season talent levels, the SEC dominates with six of the top 10, but the ACC grabs the top 2 spots driven by the talent levels at Florida St and Miami during 2004 and 2005.
Most Talented Single Season Conferences Based on NFL Draft 2000-2007-Table 12
Conversely, when we look at the least talented single season conferences, the Big East shows up every year since realignment. The Big East and the Big 12 each appear 4 times….the SEC and the Pac 10 none. The Pac 10 is the only conference that does not show up in either list.
Least Talented Single Season Conferences Based on NFL Draft 2000-2007-Table 13
Before we break this down further let’s do a quick recap of where the various teams are ranked in recruiting, NFL talent and performance. We have listed all teams that appear in the top 25 in any category and show their ranking in all 3 categories.
Rankings Summary-Table 14
We want to clear that the above rankings are not all necessarily “apples to apples”…for example the performance rankings go through 2009, but the NFL draft points are not complete for the 2009 season (need 2 more drafts). Also, the recruiting data is for 2002-2009, but the 1998-2001 classes had an impact on performance in 2000 and 2001. Having said that, it is important to note we will break each of these down in a more detailed manner to mitigate and eliminate these issues. Nonetheless, we thought by putting all the rankings side by side, the conclusions become more clear.
A team such as UCLA just does a poor job of evaluating and/or developing talent. The Bruins do great in recruiting, but fail to send their fair share to the NFL and struggle on the field. Notre Dame just does not utilize its talent…14th in recruiting translates to 17th in NFL…yet 27th on the field. Teams such as Boise, Oregon St, Virginia Tech, and Utah…they find diamonds in the rough and develop them for their systems and make it work. USC recruits well, develops well and produces on the field…same with Florida, Ohio St and Texas.
So which teams are the best (and worst) at “converting” recruiting talent into NFL talent? We’ll cover all that in the fourth and final installment of this series coming up tomorrow. We’ll also have a full appendix explaining the methodology for calculating these lists. Check back!