FanPost

Measurable Success: Recruiting Rankings Comparisons 2002-2010



Oh, look!  More math!  Yay!

Boise State haters claim that the Broncos don't deserve BCS berths due to a weak schedule.  Lots of Boise State fans like to point out how well our team does when tested against big-time schools.  This post is just one way of analyzing the truths behind the rhetoric that all college football fans hold dear.

Data below comes from Scouts.com and Rivals.com.  Recruiting scores for schools are an aggregate of the two.  This post is, in no way, an attempt to validate or invalidate the abilities of either website.  Rather, it runs off the assumption that errors on one or both sites will balance out over the course of five years.

Every team's aggregate score is based off of five years of rankings outside of the 2005, which is based off of four.  Five years is used due to redshirting freshmen.  Boise State's Expected Wins, Losses and Draws for each season are based off recruiting scores.  Any team in which Boise State's aggregate is five or more spots higher than is expected to be a win for the Broncos.  Any team in which Boise State's aggregate recruiting score is five or more spots lower than is expected to be a loss.  Any team whose aggregate score is within five above or below the Broncos aggregate score is expected to be a draw.

Boise State is not even close to being a recruiting powerhouse yet.

Year

BSU Rnk (SCOUT)

BSU Rnk (RIVALS)

BSU (Agg)

2010

97

82

89.5 (73.7)

2009

60

72

66 (69.5)

2008

64

89

76.5 (72)

2007

57

68

62.5 (74)

2006

78

70

74 (76.4)

2005

73

64

68.5 (77)

2004

72

85

78.5

2003

73

100

86.5

2002

75

74

74.5

 

No big surprises here.  Boise State's recruiting ability is slowly but surely improving.  The numbers in parenthesis in the last column are Boise State's recruiting average over the past five years, save 2005 when it is based off of the past four.  Boise State's best year was the year after the Fiesta Bowl victory.  Boise State's worst year was last, but this is due to a lack of scholarships.  Still, with an understanding that good recruiting years prior to 2010 led to 2010's bad recruiting year, the numbers were left untouched.  As will soon be shown, it didn't matter much.

The best Boise State team ever fielded, according to recruiting numbers, was last year's.  The worst was 2005's team.  This year's team is, according to Scouts and Rivals, worse than last year's team and slightly better than the Taylor Tharp-led Broncos of 2007.

Compared to most of the rest of the WAC, Boise State is a recruiting monster.

Year

Fresno St.

Haw

Idaho

La.Tech

UNR

NMSU

SJSU

USU

2010

58 (70.7)

75.5 (83.9)

100 (96.7)

96 (87.9)

95 (96)

95.5 (107.4)

87.5 (97.7)

108 (107.5)

2009

76 (75.8)

77 (85.6)

112 (94.9)

78 (87.8)

112 (97)

110.5 (109.8)

89.5 (101.9)

109 (105)

2008

59 (82.7)

82 (88)

93 (89.8)

84.5 (91.7)

94 (95.5)

116.5 (109.9)

117.5 (104.8)

108.5 (96.8)

2007

71 (87.1)

79 (88.1)

94.5 (90.4)

94 (89.1)

94.5 (93.1)

97.5 (109.1)

103 (97.5)

107.5 (93.8)

2006

89.5 (83.4)

106 (86.4)

84 (87.6)

87 (92)

84.5 (89.3)

117(111.6)

91 (91.9)

104.5 (89.8)

2005

83.5 (81.875)

84 (81.5)

91(88.5)

95.5(93.25)

100

107.5 (110.25)

108.5 (92.125)

95.5 (86.125)

2004

110.5

89

86.5

97.5

104.5

111

104

68

2003

81

82.5

96

71.5

82

112.5

81

93.5

2002

52.5

70.5

80.5

108.5

75.5

110

75

87.5

 

These are the aggregate scores of the rest of the WAC schools, with five year averages in parenthesis.  Again, though, 2005 is based off of four years. 

Fresno State, in theory, should be slightly better than Boise State this year due to having slightly better recruits.

Going by the numbers, New Mexico State is as awful as it has ever been.  San Jose State is improving slightly but had a rough few years there.  Utah State was once okay, but is now consistently awful.  Louisiana Tech is slowly but surely improving.  Idaho seems to be getting worse.  Fresno State seems to be ready for another upswing.  Nevada overachieves every season just by finishing near the top of the WAC.  Hawaii is fairly consistently mediocre.

The 2005 season went almost exactly as it was supposed to.

Year

BSU (Agg)

Expected Record

Actual Record (Abberations)

Diff.

UGA 05

ORST 05

BowlGrn 05

PortSt 05

BosColl 05

2005

68.5 (77)

8W3L2D

9W4L (L-Fres(D), W-Haw(D))

0.00

7 (6.875)

49 (45.75)

101.5 (91.75)

x

53.5 (40.25)

2004

78.5

6

30

79.5

x

33

2003

86.5

8.5

53.5

88.5

x

25.5

2002

74.5

6

50.5

97.5

x

49

 

Looking at both this table and the WAC table above, Boise State's 2005 season had no big surprises.  Fresno State and Hawaii were both as good as Boise State.  Oregon State and Boston College were significantly better.  Georgia...  Georgia was from another solar system altogether.  With an average recruiting class strength of 6.875th best in the nation, Georgia should have murdered the Broncos.  And they did.

Boise State should have split games between Hawaii and Fresno State, should have defeated the rest of the WAC, Bowling Green and Portland State, and should have lost to Oregon State, Georgia and Boston College, which is exactly what happened.

The 2006 season was a roaring success.

Year

BSU (Agg)

Expected Record

Actual Record (Abberations)

Difference

ORST 06

Sac St. 06

WYO 06

UTAH 06

OKL 06

2006

74 (76.4)

10W2L1D

13W0L0D (W-OrSt(L), W-Utah(D), W-Okl(L))

2.50

41 (44.8)

x

92.5 (92.3)

57.5 (72)

8 (5.5)

2005

68.5 (77)

49 (45.75)

x

85.5

65

4

2004

78.5

30

x

86

64.5

7.5

2003

86.5

53.5

x

107

92.5

3.5

2002

74.5

50.5

90.5

80.5

4.5

 

According to aggregates, Boise State should have been undefeated in the WAC.  They were.  They also should have beaten Sacramento State and Wyoming.  They did.  The game against Utah should have been a tossup.  It was not.  Oregon State should have defeated the Broncos.  They did not.  And Oklahoma, with an average recruiting class ranking of 5.5 over the previous five years, should have done to the Broncos what the Bulldogs of Georgia had done the year before.  They did not.  Boise State won 2.5 games more this season than they should have, the highest amount of overachievement on this list.

2007 was a huge disappointment.

Year

BSU (Agg)

Expected Record

Actual Record (Abberations)

Difference

WASH 07

WEBER 07

WYO 07

SOMISS 07

ECU 07

2007

62.5 (74)

11W1L1D

10W3L0D (L-Haw(W), W-SoMiss(D), L-ECU(W))

-1.50

39.5 (35.2)

x

99 (94)

61 (70.8)

71 (79.9)

2006

74 (76.4)

35

x

92.5 (92.3)

74

67.5

2005

68.5 (77)

60.5

x

85.5

72.5

93.5

2004

78.5

20.5

x

86

68

77

2003

86.5

20.5

107

78.5

90.5

 

Boise State was supposed to lose to Washington, which they cheerfully did.  But Boise State should have beaten Hawaii and ECU, which they didn't.  The only bright side to this season:  Southern Miss should have been close enough to go either way and the Broncos pulled out the win.  The -1.5 differential between recruiting talent projections and actual outcomes is the largest on this list.  The 2007 Boise State Broncos underperformed.

2008 was a good year.

Year

BSU (Agg)

Expected Record

Actual Record (Abberations)

Difference

BGSU 08

IDST 08

ORE 08

SOMISS 08

TCU 08

2008

76.5 (72)

10W2L1D

12W1L0D (W-SoMiss(L), W-Ore(L), L-TCU(D))

1.50

111.5 (94.9)

x

21 (24.8)

42.5 (63.6)

105 (73.8)

2007

62.5 (74)

99.5

x

10

61 (70.8)

76.5

2006

74 (76.4)

83

x

50.5

74

66.5

2005

68.5 (77)

101.5 (91.75)

x

29

72.5

58.5

2004

78.5

79.5

13.5

68

62.5

 

Boise State should have defeated everyone in the WAC, Bowling Green and Idaho State.  All of those things happened.  Boise State should have lost to Oregon and Southern Miss, which did not happen.  As for TCU, Boise State and the Horned Frogs were extremely evenly matched, with Boise State having a very slight recruiting advantage.  The Poinsettia Bowl should have been a nail-biting slugfest that Boise State barely won.  It almost worked out that way.

2009 was the best team Boise State has ever fielded.

BSU (Agg)

Exp. Record

Actual Record (Abbs.)

Diff.

BGSU 09

UCD 09

ORE 09

MIA(OH) 09

TUL 09

TCU 09

66 (69.5)

12W1L1D

14W0L0D (W-Ore(L), W-TCU(D)

1.50

98 (98.7)

x

29 (27.9)

92.5 (91.5)

64.5 (79.6)

50 (71.2)

76.5 (72)

111.5 (94.9)

x

21 (24.8)

86.5

80.5

105 (73.8)

62.5 (74)

99.5

x

10

76

95

76.5

74 (76.4)

83

x

50.5

87.5

87

66.5

68.5 (77)

101.5 (91.75)

29

115

71.5

58.5

 

Boise State's recruiting aggregate of 69.5 is the highest score for Boise State on the list.  No team was better than last year's team, apparently.  Not even this year's.  Boise State should have lost to Oregon.  They did not.  In fact, the Oregon team Boise State beat in Eugene was better than the one they defeated in Boise.  TCU and Boise State were a potential draw once more, only this time TCU had the slight edge in recruited ability.  Another close game, another disappointment for the slight favorite.  Note TCU's massive recruitment bomb after defeating Boise State the year before.  You're welcome, Horned Frogs.

2010 is going to take a miracle for Boise State to go undefeated once more. 

Year

BSU (Agg)

Exp. Record

Actual Record (Abbs.)

Diff.

ORST 10

WYO 10

VT 10

TOL 10

2010

89.5 (73.7)

9W2L1D

???

???

55.5 (49.5)

101 (96.5)

30 (28)

75 (80.7)

2009

66 (69.5)

51

89

32

99.5

2008

76.5 (72)

56.5

101

19.5

73.5

2007

62.5 (74)

43.5

99 (94)

27

74

2006

74 (76.4)

41 (44.8)

92.5 (92.3)

31.5

81.5

 

The bad news for the upcoming season:  We should, if recruiting talent is a primary indicator of success, lose to both Oregon State and Virginia Tech.  And we should struggle mightily against Fresno State, who has a better recruit rank score than we do.  If things hold true, Boise State should finish the season 9-3.

The good news:  Virginia Tech is almost exactly as good as the two Oregon teams we defeated in the previous two years.  Further, this is the worst Oregon State team we have ever faced.  And the worst Wyoming team, too.  Wyoming has the ability to join an elite group, as their redshirt seniors could join the redshirt seniors of Bowling Green in feeling the sting of a Boise State defeat three times during their careers.

Final Thoughts

This Boise State team has the opportunity to repeat a feat done by the 2006 Broncos:  Win a full 2.5 games more than they are supposed to on their way to an undefeated regular season.  If they make another BCS Bowl and win that, it'll be a full 3.5 games better than they were supposed to.  A BCS Bowl loss this year would still net the Broncos a +1.5 for the season, equal to the numbers posted in 2008 and 2009.

A 9-3 regular season this year is still, by these metrics, a success.  Boise State will have accomplished exactly what they were supposed to.  Anything more is just icing on the cake.

There is quite a bit of truth to the argument that we benefit from our soft schedule.  Some teams in the WAC are absolutely horrible at recruiting.  Pat Hill, for all of his flaws, is not one of them.  Rob Akey apparently is.

Under Coach Petersen, Boise State has overachieved in three seasons and underachieved in one.  Boise State has won four more games than they should have during his tenure.  If they pull off the dream this year, it could be 7.5.  While it will always be difficult to quantify the impact of a good coach on a football program, this is one awful and inaccurate way to do so.  We are four games better with Coach Petersen on the sidelines than we would be without him.  We win one extra game per year thanks to his skill. 

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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