Bumped. Football discussion is always a good way to forget that the basketball season is still hobbling along. - BN Eds.
It's that time again--to look at next years schedule and see it from a simple lens: recruiting classes. Yes, we had a fantastic recruiting year thanks to the hard work from Mora and his assistant coaches. According to Scout, it was the fifth best class this year. Top 5 is good, no? I want to hang onto this sweet nugget of joy as long as I can since, thanks to TGCIC (classic Fox-ism), the men's Bball program is in complete Dumpster Fire Mode (or DFM for short).
I compared our recruiting class rankings (using Scout.com) with all of our opponents for the upcoming 2013 season to see how we stack up. I had the vague idea that we would be pretty good and our opponents pretty bad, but I wanted to see the numbers. So, I compiled the recruiting rankings for the last 5 classes (to account for 5th year seniors, redshirts, etc). Those two top 5 classes sure look good ;-)
I did this for the first time last year, so I thought I'd do it again. My purpose last year for the comparison was to see how true the statement "UCLA always had the talent to compete" was. I needed to do this since I only started watching CFB in 2005 and keeping track of recruiting since 2012 and didn't really have a good sense of it all. Instead of just looking only at UCLA's recruiting classes, I decided to compare it only with the teams who we were scheduled to play. Conclusion from 2012: we were more talented than every team we played save one and it was the easiest schedule in years. Now, that doesn't mean we went 11-1 but we certainly could have.
Keep in mind, that this is a very crude analysis, and not something you put too much stock into for prediction purposes. But, it does show how we should not fear anyone on our schedule since we have the talent to play with anybody.
See some charts with fancy colors follow:
I made horizontal lines emanating from UCLA's ranking for each year, so you can visually compare it year by year to the other schools.
Perhaps that's too convoluted for your eyeballs. Here's the same chart but with average rankings over the previous 5 years.
To look at some early thoughts and general impressions about the 2013 schedule, look no further than gbruin's excellent post. Following that, tasser10 takes a deeper look into our opponents and assigns a difficulty level for each game. And for those too lazy to re-read this, this is what you're missing out on:
Note that the two posts above avoid predicting the Ws and Ls. I'll avoid it as well.
If recruiting were all there was too it, UCLA should go 10-2 in 2013. The two teams that have better recruiting numbers are *$c and Oregon. Although Oregon is just mathematically better with an average of 16, compared to UCLA's average of 17. So, on the field the talent is as even as it gets. Now, *$c has an average of 11 but we saw on the field last year that talent wise that gap is very close. The other Pac10 teams (ie except Utah & Colorado) we play have decent averages, and the coaching has improved throughout the conference, so we should expect some fun games. I am particularly interested in the game against Washington and Cal since from a recruiting standpoint as they are not too far off at 27 and 28, respectively. Two of our out-of-conference opponents are mathematical 'creampuffs' and the third against Nebraska should be a great game in Lincoln of nearly even talent.
EDIT: I made some revisions and added some additional material - b&m