Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Best blog posts of the day in the SEC

The post of the day was this outstanding analysis by Saurian Sagacity. Mergz blogged about an analysis he has done on 111 D-IA football teams' recruiting efforts, basing his talent estimates on Rivals.com ratings over the last four years.

This is quite an impressive undertaking. Here is a taste:

It does show however those schools that have been most successful over the past 4 years in attracting the big names – the talent every school wanted. Thus in that way it shows where the most desired recruits have chosen to play their college ball in the past 4 years.

It also shows, if the near past is any indication, the limited pool of possible schools from which a mythical national champion will be named as in the past 4 years, the eventual MNC was a name somewhere in this top ten list.
It's amazing and somewhat frustrating to those of us who cheer for schools not in the top ten, or even top 25. The only consolation I could find for the Kentucky Wildcats is that they are about mid-pack, and given our limited football tradition, I don't expect that to change radically in the next decade or so.

I have always wanted to do an analysis like this, and now I must think of something else to write about.

Runner up for today is this post by OutsideTheSidelines at Roll Bama Roll looking at the University of Alabama's domination of it's home-state recruits, and the substantial failure of Auburn to make inroads into said domination. This is an interesting, complex (and quite lengthy) read detailing the failure of the Auburn program to recruit well at home, even among recruits that were Auburn fans growing up. Here is a taste:
The only real success that Auburn had in recruiting this year was with former commitments to previous classes, and they did not even have complete success in that area. Raven Gray was a commitment to the 2006 class, and he has enrolled, admittedly a very big signing. Jermaine Johnson was a good addition, but he was an academic casualty from the 2007 class, and may not qualify this year either. Enrique Davis would have been a huge commitment, but he ended up going to Ole Miss after Auburn changed directions with the offensive coordinator.
I would love to hear an Auburn response to RBR's post, not so much because RBR is indicting Tuberville for recruiting malpractice -- they are 'Bama fans, for heaven's sake, what would you expect? -- but more because their larger point seems to be that Auburn is doomed to second-class status in the state very soon even though they have been dominating Alabama. The big question that I have is about this assertion:
Saban is as at least as good of a coach as Tuberville, and likely better, and at the current rate the talent level that Alabama will have will dwarf that of the Auburn roster in the very near future.
So what say you, Auburn fans? Has Tuberville's lack of recruiting doomed you? Is Bama about to dominate your future? Is Saban a better coach?

We will see, I guess.


Tommy said...

I'm a Georgia fan and am thus the last person to carry water for Auburn. That said, I think there's a bit of "Lies, damned lies and statistics" to the RBR post.

I won't argue that Alabama doesn't have an overall better class than Auburn. But framing it in terms of who did better in state will always tilt things in Alabama's favor, since they have the brand name of a state university.

I'm 33 and for most of my life (and probably much longer), Auburn has spread its recruiting efforts around Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, where they can get out from under Bama's shadow. You'll never see Auburn set off alarms in any one of those states, but you'll always see them cobble together solid classes from all of those states.

I think the difference this time around is the star wattage Alabama has gotten with players like Julio Jones.

BestofSEC said...

Tommy, that is an excellent set of points you make. I must admit, I hadn't thought of that, but it certainly makes a lot of sense.

I guess it makes me wonder a bit if the same holds true for Georgia-Georgia Tech?

Tommy said...

I think Tech has a similar problem in Georgia that Auburn has in Alabama.

I say "similar," because Georgia and Alabama as recruiting grounds aren't apples to apples. The metro Atlanta population is roughly equal to the entire population of Alabama and the quality of high school football in Georgia is spectacular (Georgia trails only California, Texas and Florida in contributions to the NFL).

So, in theory, Tech could and should assemble Auburn- or Clemson-worthy classes just by signing the kids Georgia couldn't squeeze in. Trouble is, Auburn, Tennessee and Clemson already got the memo about the Georgia leavin's. And, from a football perspective, those out of state programs tend to be much more attractive than Tech.

So Tech gets pushed further to the margins and, on an AD budget much smaller than Georgia, has to travel far greater distances to sign kids who then must be able to matriculate in a narrower, engineering-based curriculum.

Given the structural disadvantages they face, it's a wonder Tech has ever been competitive with Georgia.

BestofSEC said...

Indeed. And you're right, Georgia, and Atlanta in particular, is one of the great producers of football talent in the land.

Auburn, at least, doesn't have to deal with the structural issues that Georgia Tech does. I see Tech as similar in that respect to Vanderbilt. But Tech has been able to do much more in football and basketball than Vandy.

As you say, it is surprising in some ways.