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Relationship between team level recruiting, coaching and Winning %

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by boydbuff, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    We are having a debate in another thread about the relative importance of aggregate team level recruiting and winning percentages of major college football programs.

    We have (maybe just I have) gone overboard with the debate, as we usually do when it comes to recruiting rankings. I have gone out and found published academic research on the topic. The results suggest that there is in fact (surprise surprise) a strong correlation to team recruiting rankings and winning %.

    The quote is from a 2010 paper entitled:prediction Vs. Production and is written by Jamie McNeilly

    Another guy ran a similar analysis and found a strong correlation b/w team recruiting rankings and wining %.
    recruiting.png

    My argument is that there is an important statistical correlation b/w recruiting rankings (at a team level more than individual level) and that when a team does much better or much worse than their recruiting rankings suggest, that the most likely factor is the quality of the coaching staff (something much harder to measure with data of course).

    Thus, I strongly believe that our team aggregate rankings over the past several years which is in between 50+ and 60+ would suggest that with adequate coaching we should have been around 60 in the nation last year and not 124th.

    Because HCMM has done the opposite of Embree-achieved winning % above what his recruiting numbers would suggest, that he and his crew are in fact a good coaches capable of altering the outcome of a few games a year at least.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    I tend to agree with you. We should have been much better than we have been the last several years. A good coach is able to coach up players. Embree coached them down. We have yet to see what MM will do here, but his history certainly suggests he is able to get more out of his players than their respective recruiting rankings would indicate.
     
  3. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Thanks Sackman. I 100% agree with you that Embree & Crew coached down not up and that is the largest reason for the discrepancy between our recruiting rankings and winning %.

    I guess we'll test my theory this year b/c we have about 75% of the same players and a pretty similar strength of schedule I would guess. If our win total is much better than last year, and our margin of defeat in losses is much lower, than that is further evidence that coaching can make a huge difference.
     
  4. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    When it comes down to it better players usually beat less talented players despite what the coaches do a majority of the time. With that said coaching can and does make a difference in a few games each year.

    Also winning tends to result in better recruiting, which then results in more winning.

    My hope is M2 and staff are good enough coaches to pick up some wins in the games that Hawkins/Embree coached us to losses.

    Last years team was 1-11 and one of the worst teams in the country. Hard to get talented recruits excited about that. If M2 and staff can impove that record by say 3 wins and end up 4-8 it will still not put us in the running for elite talent but at least we will be able to get more of the middle level kids to look at us. We will be able to sell positive momentum and hope for the future. This will also help with the attitude of the guys who are on the team who have a bigger influence on recruiting than I think we give credit for.

    Keep the trend going with a better class and a couple more wins and suddenly you are in a bowl game, not a good one but a bowl game and it keeps on building.

    The huge key is to somehow get that positive momentum going and maintain it. I am hopeful that M2 is the guy for that job.
     
  5. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    +1
     
  6. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    Look the bottom line is we need the coaching and talent to win the PAC
    So all the stats and justifications that prove we would do well in the WAC dont matter.
     
  7. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    I believe there is a strong correlation between recruiting rankings and wins, but something you kept ignoring in the other thread is attrition. If you are losing over half the players in a given class before they reach upperclassman eligibility (which happened in '08 and '09) that can cripple a team when those players are supposed to be juniors and seniors. What is the point of touting recruiting classes if those guys are not staying? You wanted to simply blow it off and say every team has attrition, but I seriously doubt every team has it that bad, with no realistic help from JUCOs no less. Embree was a terrible coach and probably cost us 2-3 games on pure coaching ability, but I guarantee you that MacIntyre is much happier to be coaching the 2013 roster than the 2012 roster.
     
  8. buffedup

    buffedup Cooler than a Popsicle Stand. Club Member

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    Sad thing is that I bet we are one of those bottom outliers. We literally stick out with our level of suck.
     
  9. Quattro

    Quattro Banned BANNED Club Member

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    With the majority of the blame going to coaching, not talent and the study that Boyd brought up backs that theory up
     
  10. SINKRATZ

    SINKRATZ Club Member Club Member

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    Wait, the better you recruit, the more you win??? WTF???
     
  11. FlatironsBuff

    FlatironsBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Yes and no. Water Bottle could have recruited all five stars and not made a bowl game IMO. I think they were that disfunctional.
     
  12. 1989Buff

    1989Buff Active Member

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    GREAT point. Many of the recruits we got over the past decade that received the most hype when we got them left for one reason or another (this was a big knock on Barnett...he could drive people off...remember Craig Ochs?).

    Keeping the high-profile recruits of today happy (and out of trouble with grades and other "life" issues) can often be a coaching talent in and of itself. Making sure you have those good players still on your roster to exploit their jr and sr years is a big deal these days. Again...a facet of modern coaching that just didn't impact coaches of 30 years ago as much...
     
  13. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    I would not limit it to blue chip players. We have had plenty of players at all levels wash out.

    From 2008-2011, we averaged losing nine players a year out of those classes before they reached upperclassman eligibility (6 out of 13 4*/5* players). That is just losing players for a variety of reasons, not even counting players who never developed due to injuries, poor coaching, etc. That cannot be "normal" going forward if we want things to get turned around.
     
  14. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    This is a huge issue. It is amazing to go back to the Hawk classes and see the number of highly ranked kids who never played much if any for us compared to the lower ranked kids who ended up using a scholly for four years even if they never were good enough to contribute.

    It would be interesting for somebody who loves doing stats to go back and recalculate the recruiting ratings after attrition and then compare them to the standings.
     
  15. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Exactly but they'd have to do it for all teams in order to see the relative difference in revised rankings. The reason I have not accepted Duff's numerous arguments is because I believe the aggregate statistics and existing research are pretty definitive and largely support my contention.

    All teams have attrition, all teams have injuries. Sure some teams have more than others on occasion and when they do, I believe you need to look at the coaching and straining staff.

    My main argument is that teams should perform close to their aggregate recruiting rankings and when they don't it is bc the coaching staff is either better or worse than the average.

    Even if we recalculated our team recruiting rankings and those of every other D1 school, there is no explanation for 3-4 yr average team rankings in the 50's/60's to end up 124th in the country, other than the fact that our coaches caused us to lose many games we should have won.

    Again I would summarize my hypotheses the following way:
    1.) Teams would be expected to achieve a winning % at the end of the year roughly similar to their aggregate team recruiting rankings
    2.) When a team's final winning % ends up significantly higher than their recruiting rankings, the largest factor accounting for the variation is likely due to coaching that is significantly better (e.g. HCMM & Co at SJSU last year)
    3) When a team's winning % ends up significantly worse than their recruiting rankings, the largest factor accounting for the variation is probably coaching as well (e.g. Embree & Co last year)

    Yes there are other variables to put into the model such as attrition, injuries, strength of schedule, but in the end it is the quality of the recruits, and the quality of the coaching that makes the difference in college football.

    Not sure where Tante interprets this theory to suggest that if we were in another league we would have done better. The research, statistics, and my hypotheses have little to do with conference affiliation. On the contrary, I am suggesting that conference affiliation and even strength of schedule are less important in predicting winning % than are aggregate team rankings and coaching quality.

    If we do not have at least a 10 point decrease in margin of defeat this year, than I will have to eat crow and I accept that. If we do show meaningful increases in competitiveness as measured by W/Ls and margin of defeat, given that a majority of our team is the same, and our SOS is going to be similar than HCMM will be helping to prove (or at least largely support) the hypotheses here.
     
  16. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    Boyd I agree in principal with what you are saying. In a season that is 12 games long if you can win 2-3 games a year on coaching (or lose them) you are talking about 25% of your schedule, for a losing team 1/2 way to a winning season.

    It is true that all teams have attrition, as well as injuries etc. I do think that the recruiting rankings on LOI day would change much more for losing teams though because many are willing, as was Hawkins, to take highly ranked kids who they know have red flags. At the same time the much better teams have much wider options. They can choose to take a 5.7 kid instead of the 5.9 kid who they have major questions about.

    So far it looks like M2 is recruiting kids who don't have those obvious flags. Kids who are more likely to around in 3-4 years.
     
  17. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    No one is disputing the coaching sucked. No one is disputing that Embree played a prominent role in making CU a terrible team 2012. But again, while attrition happens to every team, do you realize how bad losing NINE players a year over four recruiting classes is? That it is not normal? If you do not want to accept that, I'm not sure what to say. Is it on the coaching staff(s)? Of course. Is it something to completely brush over when discussing the issues surrounding the 2012 team? Not at all. I pointed out WR and DL as two major issues last season and your response is indifference. If you want to believe that was all on Embree, not sure what to say.
     
  18. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    Duff, would you agree that, based on how we have recruited over the last five years, that we should have been better than we were last year? I'm not trying to speak for boyd, but I think that's his point. Allowing for the fact that we were at or near the bottom of the conference in recruiting, we shouldn't have been that bad, should we?

    A good coach can take a team that had average rankings in the 60's and get them to play as well as teams that recruit in the 40's and 50's. a bad coaching staff will take a team in the 60's and get them to play like they were in the 120's.

    yes, attrition happens. Yes, it hit us particularly hard. But I don't buy into the idea that attrition turned a team of 60's into a team of 120's.
     
  19. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Thanks Sackman-you are correct. And Duff the problem with your insistence on rationalizing or challenging my theory by either the fact that one position group (i.e. wide receivers) were amongst the worst in the conference or that we had a lot of attrition is that it is not seeing the forest through the trees. Those may be true, but they do not explain the variation b/w our overall team rankings and our performance on the field, period.

    Even if you were to adjust for potentially worse attrition than the rest of the D1 schools (not proven but let's take your assumption as a fact) it would not explain away the fact that our recruiting classes do not justify last amongst D1 schools, and according to the USA Today research I uncovered yesterday, worse than many FCS schools as well, taking into account SOS, margin of defeat, etc.

    The fact of the matter remains that we way underpeformed compared to where we should have been with an average roster. An average roster amongst D1 schools should lead to an average winning % amongst D1 schools. Let's say for 1 minute, just for you, that adjusting for our final roster after attrition leads to a 20 point drop in our overall team recruiting rankings which puts us around 80. I doubt it is even that bad compared to other schools, but if it were, we still were 44 teams worse than that in performance.

    My argument is that coaching is really the difference there. ANd furthermore, if we were in fact 20 positions worse in our overall recruiting rankings after the adjustment, than that is on the coaches for bad recruiting or bad treatment of athletes etc. b/c we would be so much worse than the rest of D1 schools. Which once again supports my argument that aggregate recruiting rankings combined with the quality of coaching staff are the most important factors in predicting winning %.

    This argument I am making is supported by academic research which I have cited and included in this chain (I was not aware of the research before I started this argument however).
     
  20. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    We should not have been 1-11 with mostly blowout losses, but I don't think the ceiling on last year's team was that high, both because of coaching and talent. And yes, I think our attrition issues have made the talent level worse (maybe a lot worse). So I am not starting with the baseline you guys are, I am starting with a lower baseline, especially with how young we were last season. We should have been somewhere in the low 80s (3-4 wins) last season. Still a pretty big difference from 1-11 and 120th.

    And the reason why I keep bringing up specific position groups is that you want to look only at recruiting rankings and nothing else. Just look at the damn games. Were our skill position players (including QB) better or worse than the teams we faced? If you better or even, I just have to laugh. If you agree with me and think our skill position players were not so good, then maybe you will agree talent was a big issue too.
     
  21. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    I don't see anybody claiming that the ceiling was higher than that. There's a big difference between saying we were better than 124th and saying we were "good". There's a lot of middle ground between those two areas.

    Put into the perspective of the prospects for this year, if we are to believe that MM is better than Embree (which I think is an easy claim to make), and even account for the attrition that puts us somewhere in the 80's, then we should perform like a team that's somewhere in the 60's or 70's.
     
  22. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

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    This is the known opposite of the Kiffin corollary.
     
  23. lawdogg

    lawdogg Club Member Club Member

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    The issue as I see it, and I think this may be what Duff is getting at, doesn't really have to do with the coaching abilities of our current staff. We'll give you that they can take the talent on our current roster and get it to "over-perform" up to the level of a team in the 60's or 70's. The issue is, if we are bringing in recruits that are at comparable talent levels to their counterparts on the current roster, even if the coaching staff can coach them up, we will continue to be "over-performing" but no better than a team in the 60's or 70's. So even assuming that this coaching staff is everything they are cracked up to be, there still has to be an increase in the overall talent at their disposal in order for us to see an appreciable improvement. The question is, are the kids we are going to be signing in 2014 prospects that have a higher ceiling than what we have in place now? That, I think, is what is concerning for Duff.
     
  24. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Exactly my point. If our overall aggregate team recruiting ranking is in the 60's or 70's we should come out around the 70th best team in the nation this year instead of the 124th. That is assuming HCMM is a competent-good coach and so is his staff. However, if he is better than competent-good, than either this year or next year, we could reasonably expect to be better than our aggregate team recruiting rankings, i.e. say by 2014 get to around top 40-50.

    Using the results from USA Today from the 2012 season, if we were to achieve a 70th place position in the U.S., we would have had a 4-8 record in 2012. I think most people agree that was obtainable by our team with better coaching (FYI, Iowa was in 70th position this year with a 4-8 record).

    If we can assume HCMM is a better than average coach, as he demonstrated in SJSU, he and his crew should be able to take a team with an average 70th place in the recruiting rankings and get them to say top 40 by 2014.

    As others have said on here, winning tends to improve recruiting, so we can assume that over time, if HCMM does what we hope, then recruiting classes will improve and our winning % will improve.
     
  25. boydbuff

    boydbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Unless you are Chris Peterson or Gary Patterson, most coaches do not get massively improved winning % over their aggregate team recruiting rankings (basically a key point in this whole conversation) on a regular basis. We have some evidence to suggest HCMM could actually be one of those coaches able to see that kind of improvement over what a model would predict based on recruiting rankings. But the proof is in the pudding over a few years running a BCS program.

    However, as stated above, if HCMM is just able to get our team to perform at a level consistent with their recruiting rankings (not over-perform) we would be int he 60's or 70's with our current team. The assumption is that improvement over last year's team should hopefully result in improved recruiting rankings for the near-term years. If on top of that, HCMM is able to get more out of his team than recruiting rankings would predict, than our win total would be better than the 60th-70th ranked team.

    Anyway, this all a bunch of geeked out academic speak about whether or not we believe a coach, HCMM in this case, can turn things around at Colorado without necessarily closing out top 25 ranked recruiting classes.
     
  26. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    Granted. However, we ARE the 124th team in the country right now. If we are recruiting above that (we appear to be) AND we are getting the players to over perform, that's as good as we can realistically expect. If MM can recruit above where our record says we should be, and get the players we have to perform above their rankings, we will improve consistently. It's all we can hope for.
     
  27. lawdogg

    lawdogg Club Member Club Member

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    One thing I think we can all agree on, is a hope that Big Mac can do just this.
     
  28. FlatironsBuff

    FlatironsBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Which also means that you are taking 9 more kids than a school that doesnt have that attrition, therefore artificially increasing your schools annual 'ranking' when it come to recruiting. And while an average school might have 3 to 5 kids in attrition, us taking 4 to 6 more makes it look like we have better classes moreso than we do.

    If we improve by 10 points a game, what would our record have been? I think it is hard to use 20 points a game since teams that did beat us by large margins let off the gas so early.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 2
     
  29. Quattro

    Quattro Banned BANNED Club Member

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    10 more points each game would have resulted in beating CSU, Sac State, WSU, and Utah so 4-8
     
  30. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    I can just about guarantee that a 4-8 record and an average margin of losing of "only" 18.5 points instead of 28.5 would also have a lot more recruits at least willing to listen to us.

    Of course it would also almost certainly mean that JE would still be the coach so who knows. That said if M2 can improve us by that kind of margin this year I expect next years recruiting to be a significant step up from what it is now.
     

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