College football is very much a game of the Haves vs. the Have Nots. Here is a list of the last 10 AP National Champions:
2002: Ohio St.
What do the above schools have in common? They are all loaded with NFL-caliber talent and, with the exception of Miami, have large undergraduate enrollments and 80,000+ seat stadiums they fill up each and every week. We are not trying to squash the hopes of the smaller schools out there or state that they cannot have successful years or programs, Chris Petersen and Gary Patterson have proved as much. We are simply trying to point out the existing reality of college football. It's very much an arms race and those with the bigger and better guns typically win the most battles and wars.
With this in mind, let's turn to Mike Sherman and Texas A&M.
Texas A&M is definitely among the Haves of college football. The school has over 36,000 undergraduates, fills its 80,000+ seat stadium virtually every Saturday with rabid and loyal fans, and routinely recruits NFL-caliber talent from one of the nation's largest pools of talented high school football players (Texas A&M's average recruiting ranking since 2002 is 17.70).
Now with this in mind, let's look at some of Coach Sherman's numbers: The first number we want to consider with Coach Sherman is the number one. One is the number of "NFL Guys" who have achieved a real level of success in college. For details, click here. Now, for the rest of Sherman's statistical story:
Avg. Recruiting Rank
20.50 (out of 120 teams)
Let's dig into the winning percentage numbers a little deeper:
WP% Against Top 25 (time of game ranking)
WP% Against Over .500 Teams
WP% in Close Games (4 pts. or less)
A few offensive and defensive stats for you as well:
Avg. Scor. Off. Rank - Natl
Avg. Scor. Off. Rank - Conf.
Avg. Scor. Def. Rank - Natl
Avg. Scor. Def. Rank Conf.
33.75 (out of 120)
6 (out of 12)
79.25 (out of 120)
8.25 (out of 12)
A few more defensive stats to consider:
# of Times Giving up 30+ Pts.
# of Times Giving up 40+ Pts.
Let's also consider what we call our Good Hire/Bad Hire analysis. Essentially, we look at the state of the program in the five years prior to a coach's arrival and compare it to the state of the program under the current coach.
WP% in Five Previous Years
Conf. WP% in Five Previous Years
Finally, let's look at how Coach Sherman has performed against opponents of varying talent levels. The way we do this at CBTN is to average out a 4 year period of recruiting rankings and assign it to that year. This gives us a good idea of the average talent of that particular team (though not an exact science, we believe it’s better to be somewhat right than precisely wrong). From there, we then evaluate each team according to their talent level and determine whether or not the games were against superior talent, equivalent talent (having an average within 10 ranking spots), or inferior talent. Let’s see how Coach Sherman performed:
WP% w/Superior Talent
WP% w/Inferior Talent
WP% w/Equivalent Talent
See how all other coaches perform relative to talent here. To be fair, Mike Sherman's teams do appear to be getting a bit better with last years 9-4 season and the seeming promise of this year's team, which started the season in the Top 10, before blowing two big leads in losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
However, when you closely examine the numbers above, it's hard to believe that you aren't looking at the numbers of a coach of one of the Have Nots in college football. With what seems like every advantage possible, Mike Sherman and Texas A&M simply aren't getting it done. What makes matters even worse for the Aggies is the announcement of their move from the Big 12 to the SEC. While this may be great for their pockets, we are bit skeptical that this will be great for Coach Sherman's numbers.
In the Big 12, only Oklahoma and Texas have talent advantages over Texas A&M. In fact, Coach Sherman has coached 67% of his games with a talent advantage and 86% of his games with superior or equivalent talent. When you consider that 67% (8) of SEC teams had top 25 recruiting classes last year compared to 33% (4) of Big 12 teams and also keep in mind that Coach Sherman has won 30% of his games with equivalent or inferior talent, it's easy to see how Coach Sherman's numbers might look even more like those of a Have Not.