After an awkward pandemic season, you’re pumped for college football in 2021. The return of a regular schedule makes you want to bet which team will win the college football playoff.
A team you might consider is Iowa State. In 2020, Matt Campbell led the Cyclones to a regular season Big 12 title and a bowl win over Oregon.
In addition, they bring back Brock Purdy, possibly the best QB to ever play at the school, among a ton of other starters. Iowa State is top 10 in the preseason rankings by SP and ESPN’s FPI.
However, there is a reason to not bet Iowa State to win the college football playoff, and it has to do with recruiting.
Bud Elliott is a national recruiting analyst 247Sports, and he has developed the Blue Chip Ratio (BCR), which tracks the percentage of 4 and 5 stars a team recruits over a four year period (transfers and walk-ons do not count in the total number of recruits).
Here’s the take home message: if a college football team doesn’t have more 4 and 5 star recruits than 2 and 3 star recruits (Blue Chip Ratio over 50%), they are not winning a national title. Talent and depth matter, and that’s a bad sign for Iowa State.
Let’s look at the top 5 teams and their BCR heading into 2021.
- Alabama, 84%. Duh. Nick Saban’s inclusion on this list is about as obvious as a bag man’s delivery to a top recruit.
- Georgia, 80%. Kirby Smart has done the work in recruiting. Does he have the QB in JT Daniels to get the Bulldogs past Alabama?
- Ohio State, 79%. Ryan Day enters his 3rd season as head coach but first without superstar QB Justin Fields. Overall talent on the roster will not be an excuse.
- Clemson, 67%. While there is quite a drop in BCR at the 4th, Clemson has always been known to combine elite recruits with hungry 3 star guys. Don’t expect a drop off from Dabo Swinney’s team.
- LSU, 66%. Ed Orgeron has always been known as a recruiter, and his time at LSU has been no different. However, it was a transfer in QB Joe Burrow that led the Tigers to a championship in 2019.
Inclusion on the list of 16 teams with a BCR over 50% in no way guarantees a crack at a national title. Do you think Michigan can even win the Big Ten East after last season’s 2-4 disaster? Want to bet on first year Auburn coach Brian Harsin?
Someday, a team will break Bud’s rule for winning a championship. Maybe North Carolina with a 35% BCR might this season, and I’m looking forward to discussing their chances later this preseason.
To check out the Blue Chip Ratio from Bud Elliott, click here.
To check out Bud Elliott’s appearance on The Football Analytics Show podcast, click here.
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