FanPost

Recruiting Wins and Losses: How Desirable is Your School?

Even though this week is Hat Week (Go 'Cats! Get the Hat back!), I thought I would share a pet project of mine.  I'm not a big fan of recruiting rankings.  I prefer wins and losses.  So to me, the best way to talk about recruiting is to look at recruiting records, i.e. given a recruit with offers from several schools, where do they go?

Here's how it works: suppose a recruit has offers from Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa (chosen alphabetically).  If that recruit ends up at Iowa, then Illinois and Indiana each receive a "loss" to Iowa.  Appropriately, Iowa also earns one win over each of those teams.  A school can only get one loss on a recruit, but they may get several wins, one for each competing offer.  

 

Here are the head-to-head records of Big Ten teams (and Notre Dame) over the last 5 years (the players currently on the roster).  

Teams Illinois Indiana Iowa Michigan Michigan State Minnesota Nebraska NU Notre Dame Ohio State Penn State Purdue Wisconsin
Illinois X 19-8 14-20 8-25 16-22 14-8 6-6 2-12 3-20 5-30 4-18 12-18 16-15
Indiana 8-19 X 4-22 1-15 1-29 2-8 0-6 2-16 0-16 1-12 1-2 8-19 3-20
Iowa 20-14 22-4 X 8-20 16-17 18-13 17-10 1-4 3-20 2-21 4-11 17-4 25-21
Michigan 25-8 15-1 20-8 X 22-15 22-4 17-12 10-0 12-31 9-37 7-24 27-3 20-9
Michigan State 22-16 29-1 17-16 15-22 X 15-12 6-6 10-5 2-9 4-25 3-14 24-8 17-11
Minnesota 8-14 8-2 13-18 4-22 12-15 X 7-7 3-6 0-14 1-10 1-9 10-12 15-24
Nebraska 6-6 6-0 10-17 12-17 6-6 7-7 X 4-3 6-19 2-13 1-8 14-6 12-8
Northwestern 12-2 16-2 4-1 0-10 5-10 6-3 3-4 X 2-14 1-8 0-9 9-5 6-12
Notre Dame 20-3 16-0 20-3 31-12 9-2 14-0 19-6 14-2 X 16-23 11-7 16-1 21-5
Ohio State 30-5 12-1 21-2 37-9 25-4 10-1 13-2 8-1 23-16 X 19-11 16-0 24-5
Penn State 18-4 2-1 11-4 24-7 14-3 9-1 8-1 9-0 7-11 11-19 X 12-1 13-2
Purdue 18-12 19-8 4-17 3-27 8-24 12-10 6-14 5-9 1-16 0-16 1-12 X 7-8
Wisconsin 15-16 20-3 21-25 9-20 11-17 24-15 8-12 12-6 5-21 5-24 2-13 8-7 X

 

A few observations:

Northwestern and Wisconsin are an interesting pair.  Against "lower tier" teams like Illinois and Purdue, Northwestern has a stellar 21-7 record, compared to Wisconsin's more pedestrian 23-23.  However, against Michigan, OSU, Notre Dame, and Penn State, Northwestern has a dismal 3-41 result.  Wisconsin doesn't perform spectacularly against that group (21-83), but they are at least competitive.  

Ohio State has a winning record against every other team, which is unsurprising given their coaching stability and in-state talent base.  Conversely, Indiana has a losing record against every team.  

The two teams that have gone head-to-head with Nebraska the most are Iowa (not surprising) and Michigan (surprising to me at least).  

I don't know why Iowa has gone up against MSU so many times.  

 

Just like computer rankings can take win/losses record and determine an overall rating, they can also work on this data as well.  I applied the Elo system, but other systems would work too.  (My beloved transitive rankings don't handle multiple "games" between the same two opponents.  They could be fixed, but that would be another project.)

Rank Team Rating Record
1 Ohio State 21.85 238-57
2 Notre Dame 21.4 207-64
3 Penn State 21.22 138-54
4 Michigan 20.05 206-152
5 Michigan State 19.24 164-145
6 Iowa 19.04 153-159
7 Nebraska 19.03 86-110
8 Wisconsin 18.81 140-179
9 Northwestern 18.69 64-80
10 Illinois 18.41 119-202
11 Minnesota 18.16 82-153
12 Purdue 17.91 84-173
13 Indiana 16.35 31-184

 

Brief, skippable description of finding Elo System ratings:

The Elo system picks one team (e.g. Northwestern).  It assumes that all other current ratings are correct, and then tries to find the rating for Northwestern that was most likely to have resulted in reality (i.e. the rating that gives the highest probability to the actual head-to-head win/loss record of Northwestern against each team).  It then assigns this new rating to Northwestern.  Now it assumes that Northwestern's rating is correct and works on another team's ranking.  It repeats that process until every team doesn't change anymore.

End of description. 

 

The Elo system ratings give the probability of a recruit picking one school over another, and it's logarithmic.  I chose 2 as the base, so if Team A's rating is 1 point higher than Team B's, a recruit with an offer from both schools is twice as likely to pick Team A than Team B.  

For example, Iowa has a rating of 19.04 and Michigan has a rating of 20.05.  If a recruit has an offer from both schools, he is 2^(20.05-19.04)~=2.01 times as likely to pick Michigan than Iowa.  The actual result was 20-8, but the system found the best balance between their direct record and each of their records against the rest of the Big Ten.  If the recruit has an offer from Indiana and Ohio State, he is 2^(21.85-16.35)~=45 times more likely to pick Ohio State.  (Actual result was 12-1; I don't know the story of Shane Wynn but I'm sure it's interesting.)

These ratings don't differ much from expectations.  Ohio State has the best recruiting territory, the most stable coaching situation and the best history of success over this time period, so it's no surprise that they have the highest rating.  I expected Indiana at the bottom, but I was surprised just how much separates them from the others.  Purdue is almost 3 times more likely to get a recruit, and everyone else is even higher.  

Wisconsin seems a bit low, but that's primarily due to their weak record against the bottom half that I talked about earlier.  I expected Nebraska to be higher.  Their low rating comes from two causes: first, they have relatively little in-state talent, so they are always fighting uphill.  Second, this period includes the 2007 and 2008 classes, which were seriously damaged by the conclusion of the Callahan era.  Counting only 07-08, they would be 9th.  In just the last two classes (10-11), they would be 5th.  

There is a large gap between Penn State at 3rd and Michigan State at 5th (1.98~=4 times as likely to get a recruit).  I'm guessing that in "normal times" Michigan and Nebraska would be closer to the top group, but both of them have suffered at least one messy coaching change in this time period.

I also believe that Michigan's loss has been MSU's gain.  

One important point to remember is that these ratings are not comparing the quality of recruiting classes.  They instead are a "get who you want" rating.  These two are related, but not quite the same.  For instance, a school might decide to only give football scholarship offers to children of alumni.  This school would likely have a high rating in my chart (as they would likely have a high rate of success, regardless of other offers), but the quality of the recruiting class might be very low.  

 

Because I'm a Northwestern fan and private schools face a different set of challenges, here are the same charts for the FBS private schools that graduate at least 75% of players.  

Teams Boston College Duke Miami (FL) Northwestern Notre Dame Rice Stanford Syracuse Tulane Vanderbilt Wake Forest
Boston College X 13-1 3-8 9-9 2-23 2-1 16-8 16-4 4-0 13-3 3-3
Duke 1-13 X 1-3 3-11 0-15 0-4 8-12 10-6 5-0 12-18 5-15
Miami (FL) 8-3 3-1 X 1-0 8-16 0-0 4-4 7-3 3-0 5-0 6-2
Northwestern 9-9 11-3 0-1 X 2-14 8-4 19-18 7-2 7-1 11-7 3-4
Notre Dame 23-2 15-0 16-8 14-2 X 1-0 31-8 5-0 0-0 15-1 11-0
Rice 1-2 4-0 0-0 4-8 0-1 X 3-3 0-0 4-1 1-4 2-3
Stanford 8-16 12-8 4-4 18-19 8-31 3-3 X 6-3 2-1 19-11 10-2
Syracuse 4-16 6-10 3-7 2-7 0-5 0-0 3-6 X 4-0 4-3 4-7
Tulane 0-4 0-5 0-3 1-7 0-0 1-4 1-2 0-4 X 0-7 0-3
Vanderbilt 3-13 18-12 0-5 7-11 1-15 4-1 11-19 3-4 7-0 X 8-10
Wake Forest 3-3 15-5 2-6 4-3 0-11 3-2 2-10 7-4 3-0 10-8 X

 

The ratings:

Rank Team Rating Record
1 Notre Dame 22.29 131-21
2 Miami (FL) 20.8 45-29
3 Boston College 20.02 81-60
4 Northwestern 19.59 77-63
5 Stanford 19.53 90-98
6 Wake Forest 19.03 49-52
7 Rice 18.69 19-22
8 Vanderbilt 18.64 62-90
9 Syracuse 18.09 30-61
10 Duke 18.03 45-97
11 Tulane 15.32 3-39

These ratings aren't on the same scale, so they can't be compared directly to the earlier Big Ten rating.  Interestingly, Northwestern does a little bit better relative to Notre Dame on recruits that end up at private schools than recruits that end up at Big Ten schools.  

Rice is surprisingly competitive in this ranking.  

Notre Dame has an overwhelming advantage here.  They're about 2.8 times more likely to get a recruit than Miami and almost 5 times more likely than Boston College.  

 

Here is the chart for all BCS teams:

Rank Team Rating Record
1 Texas 23.34 524-52
2 LSU 21.58 586-214
3 Ohio State 21.5 609-193
4 Alabama 21.45 748-308
5 Georgia 21.32 672-300
6 Notre Dame 21.18 769-312
7 USC 21.07 588-287
8 Penn State 21.03 529-200
9 Florida 20.79 778-494
10 Florida State 20.78 761-446
11 Oklahoma 20.76 596-337
12 Virginia Tech 20.61 423-211
13 Auburn 20.44 615-456
14 Texas A&M 20.43 409-286
15 California 20.39 506-295
16 Miami (FL) 20.37 568-418
17 Georgia Tech 20.28 433-290
18 Clemson 20.22 514-438
19 North Carolina 20.12 547-432
20 UCLA 20.11 420-312
21 Oregon 19.95 487-367
22 Michigan 19.91 617-527
23 Rutgers 19.86 453-342
24 South Carolina 19.8 555-547
25 Tennessee 19.75 624-704
26 Texas Tech 19.72 398-371
27 Oklahoma State 19.72 409-366
28 Washington 19.61 323-270
29 Arkansas 19.6 413-398
30 Pittsburgh 19.53 346-300
31 Virginia 19.5 340-341
32 Michigan State 19.4 381-328
33 Missouri 19.36 295-274
34 Boston College 19.32 341-344
35 Iowa 19.32 381-347
36 Stanford 19.3 410-488
37 Mississippi State 19.24 200-274
38 Northwestern 19.15 224-215
39 Nebraska 19.12 508-669
40 Mississippi 19.1 384-559
41 Baylor 19.09 235-303
42 Wake Forest 19.04 241-291
43 South Florida 19.01 285-341
44 Wisconsin 18.97 344-401
45 Arizona State 18.75 254-386
46 Kentucky 18.67 267-401
47 Illinois 18.65 367-558
48 North Carolina State 18.52 240-475
49 Colorado 18.52 241-408
50 Vanderbilt 18.48 249-437
51 West Virginia 18.38 303-624
52 Utah 18.34 176-303
53 Arizona 18.32 255-535
54 Maryland 18.25 232-542
55 Minnesota 18.23 240-449
56 Purdue 18.23 239-459
57 Oregon State 18.13 136-277
58 Cincinnati 18.03 180-378
59 Louisville 18.02 253-588
60 Duke 17.86 159-444
61 Syracuse 17.85 136-349
62 Kansas 17.83 195-489
63 Iowa State 17.64 150-375
64 Kansas State 17.51 133-405
65 Indiana 17.19 104-353
66 Connecticut 17.18 63-257
67 Washington State 16.71 54-275

 

I don't know why fans were worried that Texas would gain a recruiting advantage from the LHN.  They already get almost every recruit they offer without it.  Oklahoma was 8-49 against Texas and they got more recruits with Texas offers than anyone else.  Only 52 recruits have gone to another school with a Texas offer.  The next best for fewest rejections is Ohio State with 193.  

If Texas and Washington State both gave an offer to the same recruit, he would be almost 100 times more likely to pick Texas. Put that way, the system seems to overestimate WSU's chances. 

Nebraska's 07-08 troubles appear even more starkly here.  If just those years were considered, Nebraska would be 45th.  

I didn't think that Cal would be so high (15).  They are the flagship university of a very talented state, but all the teams near them in the ranking have either been good or at least hyped to be good.  

 

The next step in this project will take these ratings and then determine the most desirable recruits (I'm open to any advice on how to do this, in particular how to balance someone with a large number of offers vs someone with just a few exceptional offers vs someone with a Texas offer).  I might then take those recruit ratings to grade each school's recruiting, but I think those would be the same as these ratings.  

 

(Note: All offer information is from Rivals.  I would like to thank them for IP locking me only twice, at least one of which was deserved.  To see all head-to-head information for all 120 FBS teams in the last 5 years, click here.)

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Off Tackle Empire

You must be a member of Off Tackle Empire to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Off Tackle Empire. You should read them.

Join Off Tackle Empire

You must be a member of Off Tackle Empire to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Off Tackle Empire. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker