What does it take to compete for championships in college football and how far away is Auburn?

When the TCU battles the Georgia Bulldogs for the national title in Los Angeles Monday night, the Horned Frogs will attempt to defy a 100-year-old metric since college football’s new recruit ranking era began in 2002. Top 10 Unrecruited Championship and NFL First Round QB.

The man who started the “recruit wins championship” story and saw it all come together in terms of college football numbers is Dave Barthoo. Having left Oregon in 1995 to work for a major bank, Bartoo first got to know his analytical side when he was working on consumer behavior data across the country in his free time. Over the next 15 years, he developed his data skills, working on behavioral analysis and trends in healthcare and banking mergers. It was pure coincidence that he jumped into college football, working between jobs in analytics consulting.

Bartoo said he hears local talk show hosts talking about sports while traveling between sites. Colin Cowherd, now a nationally syndicated sports personality, discusses the impact of college football adoption and how Vegas values ​​’talent’ above all else. and immediately sent him down the “rabbit hole”. The rest is history.

Bartoo, who now runs Matrix Analytical, which he founded with a focus on off-field college football analytics, took his first step in using recruitment data in 2008 by looking back over the past decade and trying to win a national title. This was at a time when his alma mater, Oregon, was recruiting at increasingly high levels, and coupled with Cowherd’s comments, he wanted to see what the ducks needed to win the title. , is the time when the first-ever combined soccer recruitment ranking was created. The recruiting formula needed to win the title applies to his 21 out of 22 previous national champions.

When Bartoo returned and considered what the team would need to be a legitimate contender for the national championship, three things stood out. We’ll look at them in the next few days in his three-part series with Bartoo.

Analytics are becoming a big part of soccer, much like we see it in baseball and basketball, but soccer is an entirely different sport. In baseball, you hear terms like WAR and OPR, but Bartoo discovered that competing for college football’s biggest prize starts with scoring efficiency.

“The winner of every national title since 2000 finished the year in the top 25 for overall team scoring efficiency in my model,” Bartoo tells Auburnundercover. “I know some of you will be asking about Cam Newton and Auburn, but we were still in the top 25 in overall scoring efficiency in 2009. LSU was still in the top 25 in overall scoring efficiency. 12-0. But we weren’t even 11-1, so people couldn’t see it.”

Looking at the program Hugh Freese will take over, Auburn was just inside the top 50 in overall scoring efficiency last season. It’s not terrible, but it still has a long way to go to start competing for championships based on Bartoo’s model.

But there are more.

“If we were Auburn, where should we be?” he asked. “It’s three things: performance, hiring, coaching. We’re getting good coaching, so let’s see how it goes. We’re off to a good start in terms of hiring, but the The problem with national signing dates is that it hurts everyone.You’re always a year behind.Auburn is probably four years away from any serious national title contention.”

The reason is due to another factor: recruitment. In the combined recruitment rankings he finished 19th in 2021 and 21st in 2022. Auburn’s class has declined significantly over the past five years. Despite the hiring of Hugh Freese and big moves by the Tigers over the last six weeks, they still sit in 20th place in the current rankings of the 2023 class.

“I spent a few weeks on this, and looking at the behavior of the pattern, I should have been a top 10 recruiter in the last four years,” says Bartoo. “I had to be in the top 10 across all four classes combined, not just the top 10 class average. Two top 10 classes, one top 15 class, all had to be in the top 25.

From there, Bartoo wanted to understand what the next step would be to isolate teams that had a legitimate chance of winning a national championship. It starts with being, but that’s not all.

“Can you win without being a top 10 recruiter?” asked Bartoo. “Sure, TCU is right around the corner. They’re America’s most likely to be the national title Georgia. All but six were top 10 recruiters, and even the losing team was a top 10 recruiter going into the season.

“One team that wasn’t a top 10 recruiter was Virginia Tech’s success in 2000 with Michael Vick. Their quarterback was a first-round draft pick. In 2010, Auburn The Ducks weren’t a top 10 recruiter, but Daron Thomas was their quarterback and it was Marcus Mariota who was sitting on the bench. Marcus was their quarterback and first-round pick when Clemson lost by one. Who was their quarterback when Clemson lost by one?

“If you lose a national title game, you need to be a top 10 recruiter. If not, you need an NFL quarterback or offensive coordinator freak like Chip Kelly.”

So how does this apply to Auburn?

Freeze fits the bill, as does defensive coordinator Ron Roberts. This is just the first step where adoption and efficiency on both sides of the ball is also a big key. This will be explained in Part 2.

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