I’m back to the talent discussion.
I would give you some diatribe about all the reasons I have been too damn busy to post much lately but that would be contrary to the entire reason this blog exists. So on with what you stopped by for. In the first few installments of this series I explained the numbers, the conferences the 8 teams with Elite talent and the 9 teams with Great talent.
You can also find those posts by simply scrolling down. In this post I will discuss the teams that round out the top 28 in terms of raw aggregate talent. I refer to those teams as having "good" talent and more specifically they have an average rivals class ranking over the last 5 years between 20 and 30. In this group you will notice that there are a few "blue collar" type teams that play solid defense and as a result have a solid football team year in and year out. There are also a few programs trending back towards the top of the heap and another couple that just can’t seem to decide what the hell they are.
Here again is the full spreadsheet. On with it.
Ole Miss 20.8
If nothing else Orgeron and Nutt have collectively assembled a pretty decent collection of kids. Granted they collapsed under some hefty preseason expectations in 09, but the Rebels still fall into the category of teams that you generally don’t want to see on your schedule because if they show up you might be in for a long day. I think they will continue to be good for 8-9 wins a season for the foreseeable future.
Penn State 21.8
Check out Joe Pa hanging around the low 20’s. This puts the Lions about 10 spots behind both Ohio State and Michigan and 10 spots ahead of Michigan State and Illinois who both have rankings in the low 30s. Short version for Penn State is that until Dick Rod gets Michigan unscrewed the Lions should be able to hang in there as the 2nd best team in the Big Ten.
The Huskers come in at a distant #3 in the Big 12 behind Texas and Oklahoma who are both in the Elite group. As a result the Huskers rank out at the top of the Big 12 North at a solid 10 spots ahead of Mizzu. Going forward I expect the Huskers to keep playing great defense under the Pelini brothers and if the offense can turn the corner a bit they could be a real factor again. I like their chances.
North Carolina 24.2
Butch Davis is also putting together a solid team that follows that same basic formula. Good athletes + solid defense = Ws. It isn’t real exciting but it works.
Texas A&M; 24.4
The Aggies are a mess. Despite having a talent advantage over 8 other Big 12 teams they have been coming up short on W’s. Big Sherm is gearing up for his 3rd season and it will be interesting to see if he can get the Ags back on track.
The Bears fall into that category of teams that can’t decide what the hell they are going to do. Year to year you don’t know what you are going to get out of Tedford on the field or on the recruiting trail. Perhaps that is nothing more than a side effect from being in Berkley.
Virginia Tech 25.0
I consider the Hokies to be the poster program for this group of teams. Beamer and his staff keep a roster chock full of 3 star type kids then coach them up to play defense and special teams. As a general rule they will throw in a good ground game and ride that formula to 9-10 wins. If it isn’t broken…..
The Ducks have been up and down in the recruiting rankings but if they can maintain this level of overall talent they will remain a factor in the Pac 10 going forward.
Oklahoma State 27.6
Boone keeps writing checks and Gundy keeps working it. I don’t see the Cowboys doing anything crazy like winning the Big 12 South but they remain a pretty solid football team. They might be able to get over the hump if they can land Barry Sanders Jr. in the next couple of years.
Wannastache is working the same formula that his buddy Butch Davis is at UNC. The only difference is that the Stache has been more fortunate with running backs thus far. Watching them play each other this bowl season was interesting as they both looked like the same team. As a side note I was actually a Pitt season ticket holder this year because it was the cheapest way to get tickets to catch ND at Heinz Field. I gave the rest away to a Pittsburgh charity so everybody wins. Regardless I got a pretty cool 8 X 10 glossy of the Stache asking me to renew for next year. I sent him a note back declining his offer and asking how big of a party he threw when Brian Kelly went to ND.
I still think Petrino could potentially make the Hogs a factor but they signed a pretty bad class this year that ranked out at #48. It isn’t the end of the world as a good season on the field next year with Mallett throwing it 50 times a game could generate enough momentum to get them back on track next season.
In the next few days I’ll wrap this up by talking about the programs that I consider to be over achievers and wrap it all up with a more detailed look at Notre Dame.