Blue Chip Ratio: The 13 teams that can win the national title

Submitted by stephenrjking on August 22nd, 2018 at 5:07 PM

Useful material, especially for the "stars matter" crowd: Bud Elliott's blue chip ratio rankings.


Michigan clocked in here with a qualifying 57% ratio, 9th, right behind Clemson. FWIW Clemson had a relatively low 52% ratio when they won in the 2016 season; most winners recently have been higher.

The premise of this: Elliott asserts that teams who win the title recruit more 4-and-5 star recruits than 2-and-3 star recruits. Read the article for more details.

One important caveat: They ignore transfers, his logic being that they matter but usually do not have a huge impact on a team's ability to win, something that Shea Patterson has a chance to turn on its ear. 




August 22nd, 2018 at 6:52 PM ^

What he said: "transfers are rarely consequential enough to turn a non-contender into a contender"

is absolutely true, though.

Guys with potential to impact a team like Shea Patterson as a transfer are extremely rare cases (productive 5 star transferring after just two years and likely just one year away from the NFL).  That just doesn't happen outside of extenuating circumstances like the one at Ole Miss.  The only other example of a guy that might be as impactful in college football in the past 10 years is Russel Wilson who wasn't high on NFL boards because of his height.  Usually fourth year guys with a fifth year of eligibility that could have a big enough impact on a team would just go to the NFL if they're done with their current program.

It wouldn't make sense to build into a model such rare cases. You would actually end up with a lot more false positives from failed 4 and 5 stars transferring "down" for playing time.

Besides, Shea Patterson can't turn this on its ear because Michigan is already considered a contender based on this metric without even considering him.  It's not like we're being considered a non-contender and that he could get us into contention.  We're already considered a contender!


August 22nd, 2018 at 5:27 PM ^

Some people think they don't. It mostly comes up at a bad time, when lower-ranked recruits commit.

Most teams are going to get some lower-ranked players, but there's no question that there needs to be some higher-ranked ones, too. Michigan will unquestionably better this year due to blue chips like Lavert Hill, David Long, Rashan Gary, Tarik Black, and Donovan Peoples-Jones. 

Clemson's title in 2016 is actually the weird exception, kinda. People have this idea that Clemson has been an annual top-five recruiting dynasty that's clearly amongst the most corrupt in football when that is clearly not the case, both based upon their ratio when they won and their class rankings every year. They've had one exceptionally good year; the season we battled with them over Rashan Gary our recruiting class was ranked significantly higher than theirs.

But they were still hovering just inside or outside of the top ten.

Michigan needs to win this fall in part to show blue chip recruits that this is a place you can come to and win. Win big this year and Michigan is going to land a solid class again and at least keep close to places like OSU.


August 22nd, 2018 at 5:38 PM ^

Clemson wasn't some recruiting juggernaut but their blue chip ratio was still over 50% which put them in the top 10-15 schools of recruiting. That is elite by any definition of the word. The two teams that won the national championship with a ratio in the 50's were Clemson and Florida State, both those teams were led by heisman winning QB's. 

Winning a national championship is really hard, ask Bo, you need top talent to do it, over the last two classes Michigan hasn't been getting it done on the recruiting trail. Last years class was a paltry 37%, this years class is currently a slightly better but still not good enough 40%. If it doesn't get turned around by winning this year Michigan is going to be closer to the also rans of the world in terms of hoping to get a lucky playoff run once a decade rather than a legitimate title contender and blue blood.

Newton Gimmick

August 22nd, 2018 at 6:08 PM ^

This Vegas guy's power rankings have Clemson as the clear #1 team this year, regardless of schedule:

"Each team is assigned one composite number based on a variety of factors, each weighted differently. They include explosiveness, returning production, defensive havoc, coaching, Pythagorean projections based on last season’s results and more."



August 22nd, 2018 at 8:31 PM ^

Recruiting stars matter less for Clemson when they can find and develop NFL talents. Clemson had a lot of it which is why they won it all. I mean, they had Deshaun Watson, Deon Cain, Wayne Gallman, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell, Cordera Tankersley, Christian Wilkins, Artavius Scott, Mike Williams, Jordan Leggett, Hunter Renfrow and to name a few. That's a lot of NFL talent on one team and the most importantly, they had a 1st round pick at QB position. Case like this is why recruiting star matters little if you have a ton of NFL talent on one team.

If you want to see who are the best team in the country, you have to look at teams with ton of NFL talent, not recruiting stars. See Michigan, ND, Texas in the last 5-10 years. They had a lot of blue chip recruits but nothing to show for it. It's because they were lacking in NFL talents needed to compete with the top team in the country.

SMart WolveFan

August 22nd, 2018 at 7:09 PM ^

That's the point though.

For any singular recruit stars don't matter, since the recruiting services miss on at least 33% of their rankings!

So in a Welcome Post it's best not to be a tool and simply WELCOME the player to the team, no matter the stars; and then, hope that the low star guys are in the 33% the services get wrong, and your 4 and 5 stars were recruited perfectly.

However, when you expand that 66% hit rate over 82 scholarships like the BC ratio does, you get a reliable general picture of how much top 350 ranked talent is on the team.

And considering UofM is in the top 10 with the 2015 class still dragging them down, that's pretty impressive.


August 22nd, 2018 at 7:22 PM ^

The 15 class and the 18 class are both drags.

On the minus side: A lot of our blue chips from the 16 class are going to go pro. The good news is that this proves that Michigan develops talent well, at least on defense. That means that if we can just get a decent stock of raw talent to work with, we should be able to turn out terrific players. 

It's getting that raw talent in the door. No player is a sure thing, except Rashan Gary. You're going to have guys who don't pan out and guys who transfer. But get enough of them through the door and some of them are going to develop well.


August 22nd, 2018 at 5:39 PM ^

One more caveat: none of the other teams have Don Brown who finds guys all the time who outplay their recruiting rankings, not do they have a head coach who finds tight ends and fullbacks who have a far bigger impact than their recruiting ratings would indicate. 


August 22nd, 2018 at 6:03 PM ^

The difference is that they've never really been in a position to do it. They had the luckiest season ever and got to the playoff, and got annihilated by Alabama. Harbaugh went 12-1 with about half a dozen four stars on his roster and would have been playoff bound, and shredded one of the best defenses in the country in the bowl game.


August 22nd, 2018 at 6:19 PM ^

Yeah fullbacks are why are recruiting rankings are low! Wait we only have 2 on the roster? Well then it’s the tight ends, except tight ends can be ranked highly and most of the tight ends on our roster were 4 stars.

well then it must be our poorly ranked defense with 5 stars Gary and Solomon and 4 stars hill, long, jkp, and Kinnel, and whichever of the 4 stars wins the last lb spot that make us one of the top defenses in the country.

we were recruiting well, those good recruiting classes are the heart of this team. It’s last year and this year that are the problem 


August 22nd, 2018 at 6:45 PM ^

My argument isn’t that we aren’t recruiting well enough right now and your argument is that it’s fine because of fullbacks and tight ends. One of us has years of historical data, the other one has hope and homerism. But linking something because your argument holds up to no scrutiny makes sense.


August 22nd, 2018 at 6:50 PM ^

I'm saying these are things that increase the value of a recruiting class that don't necessarily apply to other teams. If Sean McKeon plays at an all conference level then he elevates the value of his recruiting class. Devin Bush wasn't really considered a blue chip by any stretch and yet he's playing like an all American,  I.E. a 5 star recruit. If you have a fullback who adds a yard to your team YPC he is a big value to your recruiting class. Each individual example doesn't move the dial much but all together it's a significant bump.

SMart WolveFan

August 22nd, 2018 at 8:00 PM ^

UofM has lower "ranked" recruits because they went off the beaten path for recruits when the Michigan and Ohio recruits were't showing much interest; consequently, they got commits from New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island ....Canada .... GERMANY! Plus they will take fliers on lower ranked guys that come in package deals in an effort to promote the family atmosphere.

Seems to work pretty good, too.

Not to mention the fact that UofM's 2018 recruiting class is probably the most unreliable ranking ever.


August 22nd, 2018 at 6:14 PM ^

"Transfers and walk-ons do not. Transfers are not governed by recruit rules, are not rated and, though they’re important to every team, are rarely consequential enough to turn a non-contender into a contender. Walk-ons are almost never rated. Sticking with signees helps to standardize the process."

I get doing it to standardize the process and that is probably uncommon that walk-ons and transfers matter that much, but I do think you occasionally will miss a contender by discounting them.  



August 22nd, 2018 at 6:43 PM ^

It’s not whether it’s relevant or not. It’s whether it’s the difference between meeting the blue chip ratio or not. Cam newton taking an auburn team that was already above the ratio and helping them win a championship, he wasn’t the difference between auburn meeting the threshold or not.