College Football Playoff field full of top recruiting teams
And four of five power conferences were won by their best recruiting teams, USC’s NCAA sanctions aside.
The national champions of the BCS era were typically those teams who brought in more four- and five-star recruits than two- and three-star signees. In mid-November, it looked like that trend had a chance of coming to an end, as Oregon, Mississippi State, TCU, and Baylor were all very much in contention to make the inaugural college football playoff.
But of those four teams, only Oregon — the best recruiter of the four — made it in, joining recruiting powerhouses Alabama, Ohio State, and Florida State.
The College Football Playoff committee placed a premium on winning a conference title, as all four teams it selected did. TCU and Baylor were co-champions of the Big 12. But did the best recruiting teams from each power conference end up as league champions? No, but for the most part, recruiting was a good predictor.
SEC: Seventy-three percent of the players Alabama has signed in the last four years have been blue-chip recruits. That’s the best in the SEC and by far the best in the country.
Pac-12: USC has recruited the highest percentage over the last four years, but due to NCAA sanctions, it has not had a full allotment of scholarships. The team that has recruited the best with a full allotment of scholarships? League champion Oregon, tied with UCLA.
Big Ten: Ohio State out-recruits the league (68 percent), and Urban Meyer got his title thanks to great depth after losing two quarterbacks.
ACC: Florida State tops the conference (56 percent) and won it for the third consecutive season.
Big 12: This is the league where things got weird. Texas’ and Oklahoma’s signees, on paper, are better than the league by a wide margin, but the pair combined to lose 10 games. Texas, of course, is in Year 1 of a new coach thanks in large part due to Mack Brown’s failures in evaluating and developing talent.
Logically, the teams that sign the best players should be expected to perform the best. And in four of the five leagues, they did.