2012 Wisconsin Badgers: Why Recruiting-Class Rankings Don't Matter

Chris KennedyCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2012

National Signing Day has come and gone, and experts rank the University of Wisconsin's class nowhere near the top 25.

That may be alarming to some, but those of us who know better are not worried. Why? Because Wisconsin is never ranked in the top 25 in recruiting, yet has finished in the Top 25 in the polls most every year since the mid-1990s.

Many freshmen at top college programs redshirt their first year, so let's take a look at the 2007 recruiting-class rankings, since this past 2011 season would've been their fifth and final year of eligibility.

Here are the 2007 recruiting rankings, according to Scout, Inc/ESPN, followed by their 2011 final AP season rankings.

1. USC - Finished No. 6 (but ineligible for postseason because of NCAA recruiting violations).

2. Florida - Did not finish in Top 25.

3. Texas - Did not finish in Top 25.

4. South Carolina - Finished No. 9.

5. Tennessee - Did not finish in Top 25.

6. LSU - Finished No. 2

7. Auburn - Did not finish in Top 25.

8. Notre Dame - Did not finish in Top 25.

9. Miami - Did not finish in Top 25.

10. Michigan - Finished No. 12.

See a pattern here? Six of the top-10 ranked teams (in terms of recruiting) not only didn't finish in the Top 10, but didn't even make the Top 25. Wisconsin has four Top 25 finishes in that time span, with two of them in the Top 10.

So, were all those teams poorly coached, or were the recruits overrated? Or, was it a combination of the two? It's not clear, but it is plain to see that recruiting-class rankings do not measure future success.