One of the building blocks of my annual college football preview/forecast, which you can read here, is what I call my Team Total Talent Ratings. I added these to my preview a few years ago, once it became obvious going by returning starters and the like was sufficient anymore for the following reasons:
- More players are declaring early for the NFL Draft then ever before.
- More college-ready freshmen are enrolling early and playing then ever before.
- There's more sub-packages in college then ever before, which means guys who aren't being counted as returning starters are playing a lot of meaningful snaps. Look at Michigan's Josh Uche, for example, he's not counted as a returning starter even though he led the team in sacks last year.
Bill Connelly, now ESPN (formerly SB Nation), pioneered a fantastic formula based on "returning production" to get a better idea on what each team has returning I wholeheartedly endorse. However, how do we quantify the talent on the roster we haven't seen yet? Especially with programs like Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State recruiting at such a clip the old cliche "they don't rebuild they reload" certainly applies.
Enter my Total Team Talent Ratings. Here's how those are configured:
- Using the 247 Composite recruiting rankings for the last four classes, each team is awarded 5 points for a 5-star, 4 points for a 4-star, and so on.
- 5th-year seniors are scarce these days, so unless they figure prominently in the depth chart I don't even look at those.
- All the latest comings and goings of transfers are included, which this year was made even easier courtesy of the transfer portal tracking all of this like never before.
- Players that have clearly played above their star status, provided they were a 4-star or lower recruit, were given a bump in order to account for developmental programs that typically overachieve their recruiting rankings.
In my 2019 preview, the Total Team Talent Ratings are updated with the latest roster information available, as of July 1st. But since then, there's been even more attrition news. So with fall camps about to get underway in the next week or so across the country, here are the top 10 overall most talented teams:
- Alabama 364
- Georgia 347
- Ohio State 326
- Oklahoma 321
- Michigan 313
- Texas 312
- Oregon 310
- LSU 309
- Notre Dame 302
- Texas A&M 297
For those wondering where Clemson is, the defending national champs have suffered more early attrition than any other program in college this offseason. For example, their top defensive back recruit in the 2018 class just transferred to North Carolina a few days ago. However, Dabo just won his second national title with a four-year average recruiting ranking of 11th, so don't weep over Clemson just yet.
Here's the latest Big Ten total team talent ratings with some specific notes in parentheses:
- Ohio State 326
- Michigan 313
- Iowa 284 (would've had a top 10 roster nationally if not for losing 4 players early to NFL Draft)
- Penn State 282 (most early attrition in the league this offseason)
- Michigan State 280
- Purdue 271
- Maryland 267
- Nebraska 266 (youngest team in conference with 66% of its roster points in most recent two classes)
- Indiana 263
- Minnesota 262 (was several spots higher until some recent attrition from its 2018 class)
- Wisconsin 261 (this score is 20 points lower than last year's roster)
- Illinois 252 (buoyed heavily by transfers, even after losing a few)
- Northwestern 249 (but has more 5th-year seniors than any other Big Ten team)
- Rutgers 247