Which G5 school is on the right path to the College Football Playoff
There continues to be a lot of chatter over Alabama and Central Florida and the fact UCF went undefeated, and claimed a National Title. I've made my thoughts known time and again on air, that it's a bogus claim, but I get the message.
And that message is "we want to play too", as Central Florida is standing up for the rest of college football and I can respect that. The odds of a G5 team actually making the playoff on any given year are minuscule to none. So today we look at what a team needs to do, to do that, and is anyone on their way?
You have to have fantastic coaching and quarterback play, but you also have to have a stellar talent base to win year in and year out and on a high level. Some team will have to put up back to back big years or more to make it and will need the right talent to do that.
We established after National Signing Day where our 2018 cut off line on talent was when talking about the College Football Playoff and that was at the number 30; and that's a ranking of 30th in our three year recruiting metrics.
As a gauge, Maryland and Virginia Tech are at the cut line, both with metric values of 76.9 and 74.6. They have the talent to make the playoff, but would need great coaching and quarterback play to be serious about crashing the party.
Our top ten Group of Five recruiters heading into 2018 are as follows.
You can see, there is very little seperation in talent from Houston to Memphis, from a talent perspective, but is one team moving in a better direction than the other? Let's assess and we will start with the top three.
Looking at Houston, Cincinnati and Boise State first, Houston was on top of the playoff talent line three years ago under Tom Herman, but that talent is getting worse under Major Applewhite. Boise State and Cincinnati are trending and heading in the right direction the last three years, as both teams are on a collision course with the talent line if they continue their trend.
Now lets take a look at three AAC teams and you can see the current G5 darling UCF and Memphis, as well as South Florida are all really close and on the same page as far as talent. You see ups and downs in the graph, but all three programs have stable talent. Now one of them just needs to move the needle towards 30.
Doc Holliday at Marshall has had way more success than failure while at Marshall, but he still needs more consistency, as does Western Michigan under Tim Lester. Colorado State, meanwhile is almost even keel over three years and holding steady in a nice space.
Our final group shows Toledo and we wanted to look at FIU as well as they are trending very well, from almost the 100 spot into the 60's. Butch Davis at FIU and Jason Candle at Toledo are doing a phenomenal job on the recruiting trail.
The one wild card is Florida Atlantic as while Lane Kiffin's numbers don't look great, he will take transfers, junior college guys and use the system to the fullest to get his roster where it needs to be. The question on Kiffin is how long will he be at FAU?
So which team or teams are heading in the right direction to get in the College Football Playoff talent party?
Right now it looks like -
- Boise State
- Florida International.
Don't mistake this as UCF, Memphis, Houston or FAU as trash teams or teams trending in the wrong direction - this is simply a three year talent profile and trend we are seeing from these teams.
However, if I was a betting man I would watch Boise State. We've seen them at the top of the G5 before and they look like they are heading back to being sneaky good under Bryan Harsin.