More from less: Big East tops in rankings
One of the blog comments back on signing day asked how the annual recruiting rankings compare with the actual national polls, and this week's Sporting News has as close to an answer as you could find.
The magazine took the Rivals.com recruiting rankings for all 66 BCS programs over the past five years, then compared them to the same 66 schools, ranked in order of most wins in the past five seasons. (It's not a true apples-to-apples comparison, in that a strong 2003 recruiting class -- unaccounted for here -- could factor in the national polls for most of the time in question here, while a strong 2008 class would have minimal bearing, but for conversation's sake, it's a great starting point.)
The magazine then ranked all 66 teams based on their average difference from the polls and recruiting rankings, and the results are curious: The top three teams to get the most wins out of the lowest-rated classes are from the Big East, along with three more in the top 12.
Cincinnati, West Virginia and Louisville finished 1-2-3 -- the Bearcats had the lowest-rated recruiting classes of any BCS program, yet finished 20th in total wins. Not far behind are Connecticut (8), Rutgers (11) and USF (12). The only other conference with more than one team in the top 13 is the ACC, with four.
The rankings are glaring enough that you wonder if over time there's a perceptual bias against the current Big East, that its teams' recruits aren't bumped up with extra stars the way the perceived top-tier conferences like the SEC might get. In this year's national Rivals top 100, there is only one Big East signee: USF's Ryne Giddins at No. 61.
The SEC? There are 18 SEC signees in Rivals' top 50. That helps explain why the highest ranked SEC teams in the Sporting News rankings are Kentucky and Vanderbilt, tied for 18th; and eight of the SEC teams are in the bottom half.
So, too, is the rest of the state, consistently ranked high in the recruiting rankings. Florida, despite two national titles in the five years analyzed, ranks 37th, ahead of Florida State (52nd) and Miami (tied for 60th). It's harder for a team to overachieve if it's consistently ranked high in recruiting.
Thoughts? I'll try to find a link to the Sporting News rankings online -- it's on page 83 of this week's issue.
-- Speaking of recruiting, you basketball hopefuls can scratch one name off your list. Victor Rudd, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound recruit rated as one of the top unsigned forwards, doesn't have USF among his top five schools, according to Michael Peck, his coach at Findlay College Prep in Henderson, Nev. Peck said Stan Heath saw him at a tournament in Orlando and offered him a scholarship, but Rudd is a West Coast kid leaning toward staying out there, so his top five is USC, Arizona, Gonzaga, UNLV and Memphis.