'Canes No. 1 In New Look At Top 10; OU Dead Last
As national signing day fast approaches, I wanted to take an alternative view of the BCS rankings to give recruits an idea of what awaits them as they make the most important decision of their academic and athletic lives.
Each year the NCAA releases a report on the graduation success rate (GSR) of its students receiving financial aid. Each university earns a percentage from 0-100 that shows student's progress toward their degree over a six year span and allows comparisons to be made to other schools, varsity sports, conferences, etc. The latest report includes information from 2002-2008.
Using this information as well as information from the BCS and NFL rosters over the same time period, this "new look" at the top 10 was born.
From all angles, the country's top football recruits will hear the benefits and drawbacks of every school in the nation that is trying to win their services.
From their parents they will hear about the importance of a school's academic record. Their friends will tell them how important it is for them to play for a national championship and go on to make millions in the NFL.
Having had the opportunity to coach a few of these student athletes, I've learned that these kids, while having physical gifts that make them different from most of us, are really no different from anyone when it comes to what they want. They want it all!
Here's a top 10 look at where they can get it.
No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners
From 2002-2008, the Sooners have been one of the most successful programs in the country, appearing in the top 10 of the final BCS rankings five out of seven years.
What is surprising, however is their low numbers in both GSR (45 percent)and the number of players on NFL rosters with at least one year of experience (14.)
This gives them a combined score of only 64, and puts them dead last in our top 10.
No. 9 Auburn Tigers
The Auburn Tigers have struggled recently, but have actually appeared in the final BCS rankings three times since 2002.
Add that to the fact that they currently have 18 players on NFL rosters with no more than eight years experience, a 59 percent score in GSR, and you get a combined score of 80...which brings them in at No. 9.
No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs appeared in the final BCS rankings four times from 2002-2008 and are well represented in the NFL, with 21 players.
Their GRS score of 57 percent gives them an overall score of 82, which is good enough for eighth in our poll.
No. 7 Texas Longhorns
Mack Brown and the University of Texas have everything going in the right direction; well...almost.
As evidenced by their six appearances since 2002 in the final BCS rankings and 31 players on current NFL rosters, the Longhorns are spending a lot more time on the practice field than in the classroom.
Their low GSR of only 49 percent is embarrassing but gives them a combined total of 86 and an overall ranking of seventh.
No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes are simply a model of consistency. Every year they lose a big game to a highly ranked team early in the season and then they disappear into the mediocrity that is otherwise known as the Big 10.
However, by the end of the season there they are, right in the middle of a BCS Bowl and a top 10 ranking. Jim Tressel's Ohio State crew has been right in the middle six times in the last seven years.
In addition, they have 20 players on NFL rosters right now and are also getting it done in the classroom, with a GSR of 62 percent. These numbers are good enough for yet another appearance in a top 10 ranking; this time at No. 6.
No. 5 Florida Gators
As impressive as Urban Meyer and Florida's success on the football field has been, their numbers in the classroom are even better.
Florida's GSR of 69 percent is good enough for third in our rankings. This effort, combined with two appearances in the top 10 and 18 players on NFL rosters, gives them an overall score of 89 and a No. 5 ranking.
These numbers will insure that the Gators have many more chances at both SEC and BCS championships for many years to come.
No. 4 USC
While Stafon Johnson's story this year was inspirational, the Trojans effort in academics is not. Their 58 percent GSR is the sixth worst in our poll.
However, Pete Carroll's club more than makes up for it on the field. 25 players currently hold roster spots in the NFL and from 2002-2008, USC has been in the final BCS ranking's top 10 every single year.
Their cumulative score of 90 is good for fourth.
No. 3 Virginia Tech
The Hokies aren't chickens when it comes to "hitting the books." Their GSR of 71 percent is second in our poll.
They haven't been slouches on the football field, either. Four appearances in the final BCS rankings from 2002-2008 and 16 players currently on NFL rosters tells us that.
Virginia Tech's overall score of 91 puts them at No. 3.
No. 2 LSU
Les Miles and the LSU Tigers have a lot to be proud of. Their GSR of 60 percent is 15 and 11 points higher than OU and Texas, respectively...and when your recruiting area encompasses much of the same area, you'll take any advantage you can get.
Neither do they have to make apologies regarding their athletic success. Four appearances in the final BCS rankings and 30 players on current NFL rosters is enough to get anyone's attention.
The Tiger's overall score of 94 is good enough for No. 2.
No. 1 Miami Hurricanes
Randy Shannon and the University of Miami have come a long way from their days as "The U." With three national championships during those "glory" years of the 80's, many would argue that there was never anything wrong in the first place...and I understand; winning means a lot.
However, the reputation of students staying out of trouble, going to class, AND winning on the football field means much more, and the 'Canes have done just that.
Their GSR of 75 percent is outstanding and when you add that great number to 31 players in the NFL and three appearances in the final BCS rankings you get exactly what this great institution deserves; an overall score of 109 and a ranking in our poll at No. 1.