College Football Preseason Top 25: Teams That Don't Need Top 25 Recruits

Michael PintoSenior Writer ISeptember 2, 2010

College Football Preseason Top 25: Top 25 Teams wIthout Top 25 Recruiting

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04:  The Boise State Broncos celebrate after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs 17-10 during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Some schools bring in top recruiting classes year-in and year-out and most of them see a reflection of that in the standings. 

    Other schools, like the ones we'll be going over on this list, rarely, if ever, bring in recruiting classes ranked in the top 25 and yet they still find themselves ranked in postseason polls. 

    It takes a good eye and even better coaching to develop under the radar talent and consistently bring solid football teams to the table. 

    So we'll explore the teams out there that simply don't need to recruit with the best of them to play with the best of them. 

    We'll review postseason Top 25 rankings and overall records from 2002 to 2009 and compare these with recruiting class rankings from 2002 to 2010. 

10. Ole Miss

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 26.8

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Three

    Record Since 2002: 49-49

    Ole Miss isn't quite in the same category as the other schools on this list for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Rebels have a completely average .500 record since 2002 and secondly, the school just barely qualifies for consideration. 

    With an average recruiting class rank of 26.8 and three top 25 recruiting classes in the sample space, Ole Miss has done less with more.

    But the Rebels play in the SEC and no one else on the list can claim that. Plus a 10-3 season in 2003 and back-to-back Top 25 rankings the last two years is worth noting. 

     

9. Louisville

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 49.5

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Three

    Record Since 2002: 63-36

    Louisville might have slipped pretty badly over the last three years, with a 15-21 record from 2007-2009, but the Cardinals were one of the best teams in the country a few seasons back. 

    They had a great run from 2003 to 2006, ranking in the postseason top 20 three times and twice finishing sixth in the polls after an 11-1 season in 2004 and a 12-1 season in 2006. 

    Considering that Louisville has not had a single top 25 recruiting class since 2002 and their 26th ranked class of 2006 is the only time the school ranked better than 43rd, their success on the field is no small accomplishment. 

     

8. Oregon State

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 49.6

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Three

    Record Since 2002: 64-38

    The closest Oregon State has come to a top 25 recruiting class was 34th in 2004. Other than that, the school hasn't ranked better than 40th in any other year since 2002. 

    The Beavers have just one losing season throughout that time and ranked inside the Top 25 three straight years from 2006 to 2008.

    Pac-10 competition might not be as steep as the SEC's, but we're still talking about a school that's consistently matching up against some of the nation's top schools and finishing seasons with winning records. 

     

7. Texas Tech

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 31.6

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Five

    Record Since 2002: 71-32

    From 2002 to 2006, Texas Tech flip-flopped each year with top 25 recruiting classes in 2002, 2004, and 2006 and classes ranking outside the Top 35 in 2003 and 2005. 

    Since then the Red Raiders have had an average recruiting class rank of 42.2, but the results on the field have been the same. 

    So while the argument can be made that some of the school's Top 25 rankings are due to recruiting, the evidence is there to make the argument Texas Tech would have finished so well regardless. 

     

6. Boston College

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 46.8

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Four

    Record Since 2002: 73-31

    Boston College hasn't appeared in the AP postseason Top 25 since 2007, having gone 9-5 and 8-5 in the last two seasons, but they've still been one of the better teams in the last 10 years.

    Despite averaging recruiting classes outside of the Top 40 practically every year.

    The Eagles have had one class ranked in the Top 25, 22nd in 2008, and their 27th ranked class of 2003 is the only other time the school has ranked inside the Top 40 since 2002. 

5. BYU

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 46.6

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Four

    Record Since 2002: 63-36

    In the case of BYU, you need to look at the sample space as two different sets. From 2002 to 2005, the Cougars record was 20-27 with an average recruiting class rank of 53.25.

    From 2006 to 2009, the Cougars record was 43-9 with an average recruiting class rank of 46.25. BYU ranked in the Top 25 all four of those years.

    The school's first and only top 25 recruiting class in the sample space didn't come until 2010. It looks like the high-profile recruits are finally starting to see that this program is legit. 

4. Iowa

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 40

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Five

    Record Since 2002: 70-31

    From 2005 to 2007, Iowa struggled to maintain their usual place in the standings with a record of 19-18 over that stretch and obviously no appearances in the Top 25.

    On the flip-side of the coin, the Hawkeyes have had four 10-win seasons to go along with four top eight postseason rankings. 

    Iowa joins Wisconsin as the two best BCS-conference schools who don't need good recruiting classes to get results on the field. If not for Iowa's eighth-ranked class of 2005 and losing season of 2007, the Hawkeyes would be in the Top Three. 

3. Wisconsin

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 36.3

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Five

    Record Since 2002: 72-26

    Wisconsin has not had a single top 25 recruiting class since 2002, nor have the Badgers had a losing season. 

    Their record of 72-26 and the school's five appearances in the postseason Top 25 is one of the best for all the teams on the list. 

    But playing in the Big Ten is a lot different than playing in Conference USA or the Mountain West. The Badgers are consistently winning against top-tier teams while collecting below average recruiting classes.

2. TCU

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 69.5

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Six

    Record Since 2002: 79-21

    When you really look at the numbers for TCU its a bit astonishing. The Horned Frogs best recruiting class in the sample space was ranked 50th and they dropped to as low as 114th in 2008. 

    But the results on the field have been anything but the same. TCU has had one losing season since 2002 and in six different seasons the school has lost no more than two games. 

    Each of those years, TCU ranked in the postseason Top 25 and while it's not included in research, the Horned Frogs are ranked sixth in the 2010 preseason polls. 

1. Boise State

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    Average Recruiting Class Rank 2002-2010: 72.1

    Postseason AP Top 25 Appearances 2002-2009: Six

    Record Since 2002: 94-11

    For as good as TCU has been, Boise State has been that much better. Eleven losses in nine years is an absurd statistic, no matter who you're playing. 

    The Broncos have had four one-loss seasons and two undefeated seasons over that stretch, their worst record being 9-4 in 2005. 

    Boise State's best recruiting class ranking since 2002 was 57th, with six other classes ranking outside of the Top 70. 

    2010 might actually be the year the Broncos compete for the BCS championship. 

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