1. Talent, talent, talent, talent, talent
Duh, the best teams usually have the best players, but it’s become almost impossible now for any recruit-to-a-type program to seriously dream about getting to the College Football Playoff, much less win it all.
In the past, it was possible to have a very good team that just so happened to have an amazing record and be in the mix for the national title.
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Maybe a team that had the right mix, the right system, and the right season could go unbeaten and come up with something special in its bowl game, but then came the BCS, and now, forget about it.
It’s possible to get into the College Football Playoff with a good team having a great season – Michigan State did that in 2015, and so did Washington in 2016 – but then comes the rock-hard talent ceiling that’s impossible to break through.
Before the season, which teams did everyone pick to be the favorites for the College Football Playoff?
Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma.
Very, very loosely, out of the top 50ish or so prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, around 30 of them are going to come from six schools.
Take a wild guess at which ones those are.
Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma, along with that LSU monster.
No, half of the first two rounds aren’t going to be taken up by those six teams, but it’ll be close. Throw in Oregon and Florida, and it might just be half.
So just recruit well, right? Easy peasy.
Recruiting rankings are always about getting it close to the pin and they’re hardly an exact science – ask Michigan, USC and Tennessee over the last few years – but bringing in the good-looking prospects is a start.
According to Rivals, Alabama had the No. 1 recruiting class in both 2016 and 2017, and Ohio State was No. 2 in both years. Bama, OSU, and Oklahoma were in the top ten from 2015 to 2017, and LSU was fifth in 2016 and eighth in 2017.
Clemson? It was fourth in 2015, and sixth in 2016, but 2017 … Tee Higgins, AJ Terrell, Amari Rogers, Travis Etienne. That was supposedly a weak class.
Again, no (bleep). The teams with the most talent usually win.
Now it’s up to those other programs with the big shiny names to step up to catch up.