College Football Teams' Roster Management Analysis: Pt 2 - Public Universities

Stacy Revere

How does Nick Saban's Alabama roster management - as discussed in the Part 1 article - differ significantly from other major football programs? What advantage does the "Satan of the South" obtain by oversigning and making his roster moves - just as a matter of comparison? How does Alabama compare to other major public university football programs?

My initial comparison covered three other prominent and historically successful SEC teams for comparison - LSU, Florida, and Georgia. When I saw those results, I had to include Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA to compare any advantages the SEC might have against those teams at least in terms of quantity and treatment of upper class players.

I was very surprised at the results.

College Football Teams' Scholarship Distribution by Recruiting Classes - Model 1, Public Universities

The SEC schools

Swimming in the same pond may make predatory behavior (in fish) similar when it produces more successful rewards. LSU, Florida and Georgia are all in the low eighties in scholarships for recruited classes, not counting transfers or walk-ons with scholarships.

What real difference is there between LSU and Alabama? Three more fifth year seniors at Alabama. Les Miles and Nick Saban are cut from the same cloth, right? Both coaches have longevity at their respective schools.

But in the SEC East schools, the macro view does not immediately demonstrate much of a significant difference between them and Georgia (in green) and Florida (in orange). Both programs had relatively smaller recruiting sizes in 2012 - 22 and 19 respectively - which were balanced out with classes in 2013 of 30. (The new SEC rule allows schools to exceed 25 in a year in order to come to the total of 85.)

Georgia and Florida, however, have recently seen their football program's players impacted by arrests and suspensions. Georgia's deviation is in the Class of 2012. Florida's dip is in the Class of 2011, but both took smaller classes - 19 for each school in those years.

Georgia and Florida 2011 classes (juniors or redshirt sophomores) have been reduced by eight each, i.e. Georgia from 26 to 18 now, Florida from 19 to 11. Alabama's 2011 recruiting class has also been reduced by eight (24 to 16). LSU's 2011 recruiting class has been reduced by seven (23 to 16).

Though Georgia and Florida have seen recently a larger number of well-publicized arrests/suspensions, the difference in all these schools can be considered negligible. All may be following the same "business" model with roster management for the most successful players in the competitive environment created by oversigning.

Non-SEC schools

This is a SEC problem, right? That's how their top schools gain a competitive advantage.

I analyzed Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA because each of these are large, public universities. The Big Ten has different recruiting policies.

Ohio State with two years under Meyer has virtually the same scholarship distribution by class as Alabama. Michigan with Brady Hoke entering his third year has almost the same scholarship distribution by classes as LSU - except for their seniors and fifth year seniors.

The two Big Ten schools' roster management does not seem to differ significantly from the SEC schools.


UCLA under Jim Mora, Jr. now has the oversigning crown - ninety players on scholarship at this time including Vanderdoes - who is making roster management moves to accommodate his new classes. Last year Mora cut seven scholarships. This year, by my count, he will cut another five scholarships by my count.

In Summary, I am finding little differences of significance between all seven schools. Perhaps we are looking at this issue the wrong way, with some subjectivity and slanted towards negative articles in the past.

Tomorrow - What Schools do differ significantly from these large public universities? Pt 3 - Analyzing Private Universities Football Programs

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