Team Performance versus Scout Recruit Class Rank

Team Performance versus Scout Recruit Class Rank

Submitted by WolverineLake on January 30th, 2012 at 3:43 PM

As I was reading through fellow fans' reactions to recent recruitment news, someone had mentioned that 'recruiting doesn't really matter.'  I'd read that several places, and in the back of my mind I probably didn't believe it.  So, I decided to see if the quality of the class as measured through the eyes of a scouting site really did matter.

Turns out, it may not really matter.  (Note:  This isn't an end all be all of an analysis, and I'm not an expert on Statistics, Recruiting or Women.  I also only looked at the top 12 as this takes a lot of time, plus it afforded me another opportunity to disrespect Ohio.)

What?!  How dare thee suggest class rank doesn't matter!   I'd kindly refer you to the table.

What is this table that thee speaketh of?  Uh, chart?

2011 AP Team Average Class Difference 2011 Rank - 2007/8 Class 2012 Class 2011 Class 2010 Class 2009 Class 2008 Class 2007 Class
1 Alabama 8.4 7.4 10.5 2 7 10 2 1 22
2 LSU 10.0 8.0 12.5 7 9 9 3 7 22
3 Oklahoma State 29.0 26.0 29.0 27 18 18 45 40 24
4 Oregon 16.4 12.4 12.0 13 11 13 26 23 9
5 Arkansas 26.0 21.0 24.0 16 17 35 20 24 34
6 USC 5.8 -0.2 -0.5 32 4 5 9 9 2
7 Stanford 29.6 22.6 36.0 18 23 24 15 43 43
8 Boise State 68.6 60.6 52.5 53 65 97 60 64 57
9 South Carolina 20.0 11.0 11.5 9 12 34 13 34 7
10 Wisconsin 34.4 24.4 15.0 52 38 33 51 26 24
11 Michigan State 40.6 29.6 42.5 37 27 32 37 56 51
12 Michigan 14.2 2.2 -4.0 4 29 12 14 6 10
16 Oklahoma 14.4 -1.6 4.0 14 15 15 2 10 30
19 Georgia 10.4 -8.6 -8.0 20 5 21 4 5 17
23 Florida State 13.8 -9.2 -2.5 15 1 9 18 8 33
NR Notre Dame 12.6 - - 10 8 19 23 2 11
NR Texas 6.4 - - 1 3 3 7 16 3
NR Texas A&M 21.6 - - 11 30 25 12 15 26
NR Florida 12.2 - - 5 26 1 21 12 1

Alabama and LSU have consistently strong classes, and the oversigning debacle probably helps them out some more.  They along with USC seem to perform commensurate with expectations.

Some of the interesting items are the massive difference between expectations and results for a few select schools:  Boise St, Michigan St, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma St and Notre Dame.  You can see for yourselves, but Boise St rocks it with classes that are rarely in the top 50%.  Their average class is sitting at 70.  Texas and Notre Dame have the opposite problem.

You clearly need to have quality players.  However, strong coaching, an eye for talent and knowing how to use and motivate that talent go far.  Also, it may suggest that these recruiting services "one size fits all" approach to ranking players and classes is largely irrelevant to a team's performance.  There's a long list of 5* failures and world beating 3* guys.

I didn't do a regression analysis as I'm a) lazy, b) not The Mathlete and c) things seem fairly obvious after perusing the data.  Also, any laser focus on a single aspect of a team's record will probably miss the forest for the trees, but I'm just trying to provide some evidence on this point specifically.

Let's talk data sources and definitions.  I used the final AP Ranking for this past season.  The class ranking data is from Scout.  I imagine it would be easy enough to bump this against some of the other scouting services to see what they say, as well as perhaps the Coach's Poll and whatnot, but I my imaginary army of minions was busy doing something else.  So, this is what we're left with.

The "Average Class" is the class average from 2007 through 2011.  I felt that the 2012 rankings, while somewhat finalized, aren't really part of this equation, yet.  More just a "that's kinda interesting" rather than a "I think there's something there."

The "Difference" is the difference between that aforementioned "Average Class" and the final 2011 AP Ranking.

The "2011 Rank - 2007/8 Class" is the 2011 AP Ranking minus the average of the 2007 and 2008 Recruit Class.

 

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So, what do you think?