Bumped: Great look inside the state of recruiting and the expectations that accompany it. BN eds.
We've all been groomed by gbruin to believe that the winning recipe for college football is that:
the line wins games
However, I'm sure SB Nation's recruiting guru Bud Elliot would prefer to go with the more analytical:
the blue-chip ratio wins games
To be more precise, we're talking not just about winning games, but winning championships--an altogether much tougher proposition. So, what does it take to have championship-caliber student-athletes? Answer: a reasonably high blue-chip ratio! A blue-chip recruit by definition are 4 and 5 star players. The blue-chip ratio (henceforth, BCR) is defined by the following calculation: blue-chip recruits ÷ scholarship players. The reason the BCR is important, Elliot notes, is that all championship-winning teams (BCS and CFP) from the past 12 years have had a blue-chip ratio of
at least 1:2 or 50%.
For a bit more background, see my FanPost here (which also has the link to Elliot's original article). In 2014, UCLA was just outside this magical ratio with 41% yet due to the efforts of Mora and Co. has had the fastest ascending BCR in all of college football.
Moving to 2015, we all remember that UCLA brought in a star studded class with elite 5 star, blue-chippers, Josh Rose (#1 QB), Soso Jamabo (#1 RB), and Chris Clark (#1 TE) to name just a few. Though the class was relatively small with only 19 players, the blue-chip ratio was an eye-popping 15/19, or 79% (see my fanshot here). Now, remember that Elliot computes the ratio of four recruiting classes so taking them into account brings us down to (drum roll please):
Which means, UCLA has now the talent level to win championships. Moreover, UCLA boasts the greatest positive percent change at +11, beating out other "hot" recruiting teams like Texas A&M who have +8 (though they beat us with 54% BCR). Of course, we are still well behind the Clown College's 70% BCR. Check out Elliot's full-article here for more details.
It's important to note that the BCR does not necessarily create odds of winning a championship, since Baylor and TCU have good odds yet anemic BCRs at 15% and 8%. The Horned Frog's ratio is especially noteworthy since they are ranked #2 in the AP poll, second only to the first-in-history, unanimous #1 the Ohio State Buckeyes. I guess what this tells you is people really believe in their head coach Gary Patterson (myself included). Oregon has made two national championship games with a low but respectable BCP of 39%, yet lost both of them to teams with better talent and BCR above 50%.
So what does it all mean?
Mora has at least brought UCLA back up to its historic recruiting levels from the doldrums of Dorrell, if not much better. Mora has changed the culture of UCLA to be more physical and tougher and has, more importantly, brought wins (at least 9 in each of his three seasons) back to Westwood. The BCR shows we have the talent to compete for championships now (heck, let's get a Pac12 one first...) and I believe we've climbed all the necessary steps towards building a championship-caliber team with one glaring exception: win BIG games. I'm looking at Stanford and Oregon. If UCLA can start winning those important games, then the college-football world better watch out.