Welcome to the 2019 college football Hourglass
Spring time is here which means warmer weather, baseball, cookouts and more; but right here we are ready to give YOU, the college football fan, the 2019 College Football Hour Glass – our analytical system dedicated to picking and projecting college football games for every Division One Program, regardless of conference.
Also, this year we honor 150 years of college football in 2019 all year long as we celebrate the greatest game on the planet.
If you are just hearing about our system, it is a numbers-based system used to pick every college football game in Division One, and do so six months before we ever play a snap or conclude spring practice. We use three basic criteria on the Hour Glass and those are a three-year recruiting evaluation stamp or ranking, a three-year coaching stamp or ranking and a returning quarterback rank or stamp.
This year we have added a fourth metric to tighten up our numbers even more in our new ODE coefficient, which is a multiplier based on offensive and defensive scoring efficiency trends.
All those numbers give us a team identifier that allows us to rank teams, coaches, recruiting, quarterback play and ultimately decide the fate of college football teams.
We also publish our numbers in season to help you with sports gaming and your football bets on Saturdays.
Last year was a monumental year for the Hour Glass as we picked 534 college football winners, all done at this time last year, which was good for 84% on the 2018 season. That prediction rate is higher than almost all the big boys in college football or your main stream media outlets.
Over the last two years we have gone 968-197 on all straight up picks, again all done before spring practice concludes; and last year we went 383-305 (56%) against the spread. Our Elite Eight picks, which are my personal plays weekly, we pegged 60-percent of those games right against the spread.
The Graph below also shows you how good we were on all games, Power and Group of Five-win totals, pegging 73% of all teams within TWO games or less of their final win totals.
We pegged 14 of 20 participants in Conference Championship Weekend, seven conference winners and the National Championship participants in Alabama and Clemson.
Over the next several months we will roll out team previews, conference previews, rankings of all kinds and who we think ends up in the College Football Playoff and more.
Again, thanks to my team of writers, my employer Alpha Media and ESPN Radio and Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, MS. We could not do this without your support.
We would also like to thank Wint Magee with Bank of England for helping make this project possible. Make sure for all your mortgage needs you give Wint a call at 601 906 7074 or head over to mortgagemanms.com today.
So without further ado, let’s start diving into the data and see who is at the top and can Clemson stay on the mountaintop in 2019.
Talent, Talent and more Talent – It Matters
We will get more into talent as the year progresses, but regardless of what the bull headed Bob Meat fan says; talent matters. Since 1998 we have seen the average four year recruiting composite of the National Champion in College Football settle out at a national ranking of 6th in the country. Conversely, we have seen the runner up settle out around 10th in the country in recruiting.
We saw this yet again prove to be true this past year, where the four teams in the 2018 College Football Playoff had a combined four-year recruiting average of 8.25 in the country.
In terms of talent, we rank all 130 teams on a three-year composite average and identify a realistic National Championship Contender Line – meaning, there is an extreme possibility one of these teams in this group will win the National Title in 2019-20 based on their talent profile. If your team does not show up on this list, kiss your chances of winning the National Title in 2019 good bye.
Alabama is no longer the dominate force in recruiting as we have seen over the last decade. Sure they continue to bring in top tier talent, but so does Ohio State and Georgia as they have made a push the last couple of years in talent evaluation and recruiting; as well as Oklahoma. All three teams are dead even or separated by only hundredths of a percent. This doesn’t mean Alabama doesn’t have elite talent – it just means teams are and have closed the gap on Alabama from a roster stand point, evident of the Clemson beat down we saw in the National Championship game this past year.
Our second tier in recruiting is the College Football Playoff Bust Line – which means if your team is in this list, you have the talent to get to the College Football Playoff – but not to win the National Championship.
These teams need superb quarterback play, high end coaching and a schedule conducive to navigating to the CFB Playoff. We have seen Washington and Michigan State accomplish this feat over the last several years and both again live in this class of recruiters.
Make no mistake about it, we are NOT saying that only recruiting matters, but roster talent is always our base point on determining winners and losers. Once we combine the other three criteria, we develop our team profiles.
Our Top 20 Coaches:
We know the importance of a great coach and while the country is full of really good ones, only five active coaches have won National Championships in Nick Saban, Les Miles, Dabo Swinney, Mac Brown and Jimbo Fisher. We will look at each conference and dedicate specific time to our coaches, but here is our top 20 for 2019. Our average coaching rank or stamp for 2019 on coaches sets at 5.5. What that means is if your coach falls at or around our average number, we consider him “average”. Anything above is well, above average, and below means your coach is trending down, under-performing or has work to do.
Again, we will get all the coaching rankings out in the coming days and weeks, both Power and Group of Five.
Quarterback is the great equalizer:
Quarterback play another major criterion we look at in our analytics and it can make or break a team. Take Auburn in 2010; they were a recruiter at the time that was in our realistic BCS contender line, but Cam Newton’s play propelled them to a National Championship. Or – Virginia Tech in 1999 as they had mid-level talent, but Michael Vick propelled them to the National Title Game.
We do not use the quarterbacks recruiting rankings, but use on field production and several test scenarios to determine the value of a quarterback heading into a season.
With the advent of the transfer portal, this position now becomes more powerful than ever.
We will look specifically at all 130 programs and their quarterbacks, but here are our 2018 top 20 quarterbacks. Our average quarterback rating for 2018 is set and defined by a value of 9.9.
GROUP OF FIVE
This year we have added new criteria to our formula using offensive and defensive scoring efficiency numbers for every team. We feel like we have a way to quantify a set of years and numbers to generate a ranking with these numbers to help improve what we do even more.
We have written before on the importance of these efficiencies and now we have added them into what we do with our base criteria and formula. You can read about the importance here. But - simply put, if your team isn’t performing in the top ten in both, odds are slim to none they will win the National Championship.
TOP TEN IN ODE HEADING INTO 2019:
2019 Power Rankings:
Finally – our Power Rankings are established off these FOUR criteria and are different than our final rankings.
Our power rankings allow us to evaluate a team prior to a season and see where they finish relative to their number and strengths. We will have our final projected rankings out in the coming days.
Here is our overall Power Rankings for all 130 teams in Division One.
Editors note: All photos are courtesy of 247sports.com