Importance of Rankings

#1

25vol

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#1
I’ve been seeing a ton of negative sentiment on this board and others lately regarding recruiting rankings and whether they matter, so I decided to dive into this myself.

I think we all would like to believe they don’t matter considering how far behind we’ve been the past few years and CJH’s tendency to coach up 3* guys to 4-5* levels in some cases.

Anyway, here’s some data I’ve gathered on the last 10 national champions and their composite rankings in the three years preceding their championship. This is available on the 247 website for anyone who’d like to see it for themselves.

Some observations I’ve made from looking at it:

• 80% of champions have had at least 2 top 10 finishes before their championship.
• 60% of champions have had a top 10 finish all 3 years prior.

What I also think is that exceptional performance by players/coaches can overcome the rankings, as you can see from Clemson in ‘16/‘18 and Michigan in ‘23.

But what you don’t see is a single national champ that didn’t have a top 10 finish. If we can recruit 5-9 rated classes, I think we’ll get there, but top 15 classes aren’t going to cut it, especially not in this new SEC climate.

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#2
#2
Wisdom of the crowd does not settle anything, it gets settled on the field.
 
#4
#4
Do not confuse the hand wringers with anything appearing to be a positive take on anything, especially using anything resembling data. It will only disorient and upset them.
 
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#5
#5
It is still TBD on if that holds true in the future. I think it will but the portal, NIL and soon to be player payments is changing things dramatically. The transfer situation has almost made it difficult to know.

Georgia has lost 50 percent of their 2022 class. They were ranked 2nd.

A&M has lost 46 percent of the number one class from 2022.

Ohio State has. Lost 43 percent of their number four rated class.

Bama has lost 43 percent of their # 3 rated class.

These should be redshirt sophomores or true juniors.

So not sure if retention of signed players is not more important than recruit rankings. But seems headed that way.
 
#6
#6
I mean it's pretty obvious that there's 3 winners that have won without recruiting in the top 5.

They have an obvious advantage, what could it be?

Ah, they don't play in SEC. They don't have 4 or 5 more conference peers recruiting in the top 10 either.

We MUST recruit on par with our peers at the top of the conference if we want to compete. We shouldn't expect to win the conference with classes ranked 5/6 or worse in conference. If we can't win the SEC, it is unlikely we will win in the playoffs.
 
#8
#8
Do not confuse the hand wringers with anything appearing to be a positive take on anything, especially using anything resembling data. It will only disorient and upset them.
If people would actually read what I’m saying instead of taking it as an insult, they’d be happy. The Vols composite ranking has risen steadily since CJH has taken over.

This is a GOOD thing for us! I will update this material once the new composite is out. I expect us to be rated at close to our 2023 rating but we will see.

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#9
#9
I think perhaps you're being too sensitive to the responses.

I mean, they're not glowingly positive. But they're not responding as if "insulted," either.

Folks who have posted their thoughts are generally just saying, "the college football landscape is significantly different today than it has been in the past." Historical trendlines may not extrapolate well into a world that has (a) the transfer portal, (b) NIL, and (c) a 12-team playoff.

Think about the new playoff format in particular for a sec. There will, by definition, be at LEAST two teams in the running who do not average top-10 recruiting rankings over the past three years. Probably more than that. Maybe as many as a half-dozen.

There may be a number of playoff teams who have never had a top-10 finish in recruiting.

Can those teams win 3 games in January, and earn a national title? Sure, they can. It's the Cinderella run in March Madness, just shifted to the gridiron. It's TCU a couple of years ago, just with one more win at the end.

It won't happen every year for a team outside the top 10 in recruiting to win a national title, but it will happen from time to time.

I think that's all people are saying.

Go Vols!
 
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#10
#10
Definitely need to recruit better, otherwise, wre honestly just wishful thinking. NIL is changing the game but not to a degree that Ga, Ohio st, Bama, and Texas are falling out of the top classes.

On top of that, the SEC is full of Elite coaches. It's hard to beat elite coaches with elite talent. Heup is good, but he can only do so much with a talent deficit against the Kirby Smarts of the world. AND we still continue to struggle against UF under Heup.

No doubt we've got to close the talent gap a bit more.
 
#11
#11
I think perhaps you're being too sensitive to the responses.

I mean, they're not glowingly positive. But they're not responding as if "insulted," either.

Folks who have posted their thoughts are generally just saying, "the college football landscape is significantly different today than it has been in the past." Historical trendlines may not extrapolate well into a world that has (a) the transfer portal, (b) NIL, and (c) a 12-team playoff.

Think about the new playoff format in particular for a sec. There will, by definition, be at LEAST two teams in the running who do not average top-10 recruiting rankings over the past three years. Probably more than that. Maybe as many as a half-dozen.

There may be a number of playoff teams who have never had a top-10 finish in recruiting.

Can those teams win 3 games in January, and earn a national title? Sure, they can. It's the Cinderella run in March Madness, just shifted to the gridiron. It's TCU a couple of years ago, just with one more win at the end.

It won't happen every year for a team outside the top 10 in recruiting to win a national title, but it will happen from time to time.

I think that's all people are saying.

Go Vols!
Maybe “insulted” was too strong a word. I do think we as Vols fans tend to overreact(that may be an understatement) at anything we perceive negative about our team. I don’t blame them for it. With all the crap we’ve been through the last 20 years, bad news just gets old after a while.

I get what you’re saying though. I think we’re in the best position we’ve been in recruiting/talent wise in many years except now we actually have the coaching to back it up and elevate it.

I love this team and I love our fans and I really hope no one thinks I’m posting this to neg on the team. GBO.
 
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#12
#12
Definitely need to recruit better, otherwise, wre honestly just wishful thinking. NIL is changing the game but not to a degree that Ga, Ohio st, Bama, and Texas are falling out of the top classes.

On top of that, the SEC is full of Elite coaches. It's hard to beat elite coaches with elite talent. Heup is good, but he can only do so much with a talent deficit against the Kirby Smarts of the world. AND we still continue to struggle against UF under Heup.

No doubt we've got to close the talent gap a bit more.
we are. we don't need to be Top 5 to close the gap.

the overall gap between those top schools and Tennessee continues to get smaller and smaller. People get so caught up in the rankings they forget that the rankings is just a numerical placement of the value in the class.

The top classes have always been in the low 300s, on 247. TAMU's best class of all time didn't even reach 340. TN's classes have been in the low to mid 200s. but now we are creeping into the mid to high 200s. and especially important in this day and age, we don't have a large amount of transfers. we are improving, even if we remain behind everyone we were previously.

we are closing the gap, but its not to the point where we are going to see it turn up on the field just yet against EVERY team every year. frankly I am not spoiled to the point where TN has to be on a dynasty type run for me to be happy with the team. College football would be more fun with more variety at the top.

and there is typically very little difference between many of the "middle" teams. 1-4 are on an island, and then 5-14 is pretty much a crap shoot, where one different player can move your rankings multiple spots.
 
#13
#13
we are. we don't need to be Top 5 to close the gap.

the overall gap between those top schools and Tennessee continues to get smaller and smaller. People get so caught up in the rankings they forget that the rankings is just a numerical placement of the value in the class.

The top classes have always been in the low 300s, on 247. TAMU's best class of all time didn't even reach 340. TN's classes have been in the low to mid 200s. but now we are creeping into the mid to high 200s. and especially important in this day and age, we don't have a large amount of transfers. we are improving, even if we remain behind everyone we were previously.

we are closing the gap, but its not to the point where we are going to see it turn up on the field just yet against EVERY team every year. frankly I am not spoiled to the point where TN has to be on a dynasty type run for me to be happy with the team. College football would be more fun with more variety at the top.

and there is typically very little difference between many of the "middle" teams. 1-4 are on an island, and then 5-14 is pretty much a crap shoot, where one different player can move your rankings multiple spots.
I mostly agree but it's also frustrating to hear people talk about beating UGA or even going 11-1.

Like you said 5-14 are pretty even but that's half of the SEC. Makes it hard navigate a season in this league. Need some luck as far as injuries (people tend to forget we were pretty healthy for most of 2022) and we have to win on the road.

I know recruiting has improved but it's nowhere near championship level. I wish more fans could understand that. Two big questions are: a)Can CJH get this program there and b)How long is this fan base going wait to find out.
 
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#14
#14
FWIW, I would think that the expanded playoff field would (mathematically) add weight to the "development of players" factor, as it allows more teams that were not so good early to still make it into the hunt.
 
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#15
#15
For those of you that disagree, I like to think of it like this; if you give a good chef high quality ingredients, they can make you a fantastic meal. If you give a bad cook great ingredients, the meal is still bad. If you give a great chef bad ingredients, they may still make a good meal, but it will be hard.

It is way easier with great ingredients.

Highly ranked players do not guarantee a championship, but bad players make it almost impossible to win a championship.
 
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#16
#16
For those of you that disagree, I like to think of it like this; if you give a good chef high quality ingredients, they can make you a fantastic meal. If you give a bad cook great ingredients, the meal is still bad. If you give a great chef bad ingredients, they may still make a good meal, but it will be hard.

It is way easier with great ingredients.

Highly ranked players do not guarantee a championship, but bad players make it almost impossible to win a championship.
National Championships are won by the teams that have the most talent, meaning the highest rated recruiting classes. While there is always the occasional outliers, that’s just not the rule. If you want to win a national championship then you need to stack top 5 recruiting classes or cheat like Michigan. Well you can always hope and pray you get lucky like Clemson did. But again, that’s the exception.
 
#17
#17
@25vol, you might also like a peruse of this thread,

You have wrapped the info in a much more concise manner than I did, but if you like to geek out and drill into the weeds, you might enjoy the thread.
 
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#18
#18
It doesn’t help our rankings when they continue to drop our players. I will trust our coaches evaluations.
 
#19
#19
@25vol, you might also like a peruse of this thread,

You have wrapped the info in a much more concise manner than I did, but if you like to geek out and drill into the weeds, you might enjoy the thread.
Thanks. I’ll go check it out.
 
#20
#20
I mostly agree but it's also frustrating to hear people talk about beating UGA or even going 11-1.

Like you said 5-14 are pretty even but that's half of the SEC. Makes it hard navigate a season in this league. Need some luck as far as injuries (people tend to forget we were pretty healthy for most of 2022) and we have to win on the road.

I know recruiting has improved but it's nowhere near championship level. I wish more fans could understand that. Two big questions are: a)Can CJH get this program there and b)How long is this fan base going wait to find out.
as far as I am concerned, winning a championship always requires luck. that is what makes the game exciting to watch and follow. if it was played on paper it wouldn't be as fun.

now with the expanded playoffs winning the SEC isn't a requirement. heck even in the 4 team playoff 2 non-SEC champs won the national title. That is as many playoff national titles as both the ACC and Big 10 have.

you don't have to come out of the SEC without a loss to have a chance to play for the title now. not saying that recruiting isn't important, and not even saying that it isn't the most important single factor for some coaches. but the blanket statement of it being the most important thing in the sport to determining who wins a title is short sighted, or at the least, not supported by enough data.

There is a reason Saban had to adopt, he didn't have to adopt to suddenly getting good players. he always had the best players, was probably always the GOAT while at Bama. but he still had to adopt to opposing teams, who had less talent than him, but a better/counter scheme.

Saban had the most talented teams every year of the playoffs. if the recruiting was driving who was winning it, I would expect the most talented team to have a higher hit rate than 3 of the 10.

Clemson twice, Michigan, and even LSU weren't the most talented teams. LSU only had 2 top 5 classes, including their freshman who didn't play much, when they won. Clemson has never had a top 5, neither did Michigan. Clemson's recruiting ranking has gone up, HC stayed the same, but performance has gone down.
 
#21
#21
as far as I am concerned, winning a championship always requires luck. that is what makes the game exciting to watch and follow. if it was played on paper it wouldn't be as fun.

now with the expanded playoffs winning the SEC isn't a requirement. heck even in the 4 team playoff 2 non-SEC champs won the national title. That is as many playoff national titles as both the ACC and Big 10 have.

you don't have to come out of the SEC without a loss to have a chance to play for the title now. not saying that recruiting isn't important, and not even saying that it isn't the most important single factor for some coaches. but the blanket statement of it being the most important thing in the sport to determining who wins a title is short sighted, or at the least, not supported by enough data.

There is a reason Saban had to adopt, he didn't have to adopt to suddenly getting good players. he always had the best players, was probably always the GOAT while at Bama. but he still had to adopt to opposing teams, who had less talent than him, but a better/counter scheme.

Saban had the most talented teams every year of the playoffs. if the recruiting was driving who was winning it, I would expect the most talented team to have a higher hit rate than 3 of the 10.

Clemson twice, Michigan, and even LSU weren't the most talented teams. LSU only had 2 top 5 classes, including their freshman who didn't play much, when they won. Clemson has never had a top 5, neither did Michigan. Clemson's recruiting ranking has gone up, HC stayed the same, but performance has gone down.
Saban had competition from Smart that likely prevented him from winning more. Plus LSU catching lightning in a bottle with Joe Burrow.

I don't see a 3rd place SEC team having much of a chance of winning in the playoffs unless they happen to get lucky with injuries.

Everyone wants to point to the outliers but none of those teams were in the SEC.
 

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