Nebraska’s class of 2013, arguably Pelini’s best class, was ranked nationally at No. 17 from Rivals.com, No. 23 from ESPN’S RecruitingNation.com and No. 23 from 247Sports.com. Taken in isolation, that sounds pretty good.
But look at where Nebraska’s competitors in the Big Ten finished in class rankings. Ohio State’s class was ranked No. 2 by Rivals.com, No. 3 by ESPN’s RecruitingNation.com, and No. 2 by 247Sports.com. Michigan’s class was ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com, No. 6 by ESPN’s RecruitingNation.com, and No. 5 by 247Sports.com.
Yes, recruiting rankings are no guarantee of championships—just ask Mack Brown or Jimbo Fisher. But as demonstrated brilliantly by Matt Hinton of Yahoo! Sports, recruiting rankings are excellent predictors of which players are most likely to be successful on the field. The more highly-rated prospects you have on your team, the more likely they are to become great players. The more great players you have on your team, the more likely you are to win. Simple transitive property at work.
So Pelini and his staff should be commended for the great class signed in 2013. But Nebraska still has a ways to go if it wants to compete for conference and national titles with Ohio State, Michigan, and the other elites of college football.
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