Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2019

Examining where teams rank in terms of talent heading into the season

Recruiting is the foundation for winning national championships, competing for CFB Playoff berths or performing at a high level in college football. While recruiting rankings aren’t 100 percent accurate, there is plenty of truth in the rankings and evaluations by the experts. Additionally, with advances in technology to watch more prospects, along with more offseason camps, the rankings for prospects and classes as a whole are more accurate than they were just a few years ago. Since the start of the CFB Playoff era, all five champions have come from teams ranked inside of the top eight in overall roster talent. It’s no secret what a program needs in order to win big at this level. Great coaching, support staffs, state-of-the-art training facilities and luck certainly helps, but talent on the roster (and player development) provides a significant head start in the race to win it all each season. 

 

Just how important are recruiting rankings and the overall talent evaluation? Alabama (No. 1) has won five national championships since 2009. Additionally, the Crimson Tide, Georgia and Ohio State - the top three teams in this metric - have all played for or won a national title in the CFB Playoff era. Three teams from the SEC rank inside of the top four for 2019, with Ohio State (No. 3) and USC (No. 5) rounding out the top five. 

 

Below are the national recruiting ranking averages for the Power 5 schools, Notre Dame and BYU over the last five classes according to 247Sports Team Composite rankings and each team's record over the last five seasons. Obviously, this doesn't take into account attrition. However, with a five-year window in place, this should be considered relatively even across the conference.

 

By Conference: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2019
Rk Team   Conf 19 18 17 16 15 Avg W/L

Conf.

W/L

1 Alabama SEC 1 7 1 1 1 2.2 67-6 37-3
2 Georgia SEC 2 1 3 7 5 3.6 52-16 29-11
3

Ohio

State

Big Ten 14 2 2 4 7 5.8 62-7 39-4
4 LSU SEC 5 15 7 3 6 7.2 44-19 25-15
5 USC Pac-12 20 4 4 8 2 7.6 43-23 31-14
6

Florida

State

ACC 18 11 6 2 3 8 45-20 25-15
7 Auburn SEC 11 12 9 9 8 9.8 41-25 21-19
8 Clemson ACC 10 6 16 10 9 10.2 65-7 36-4
9 Texas Big 12 3 3 26 11 10 10.6 33-31 24-21
10 Oklahoma Big 12 6 9 8 20 14 11.4 54-13 38-7
11 Texas A&M SEC 4 17 12 18 11 12.4 40-25 20-20
12 Notre Dame Ind 15 10 11 15 13 12.8 44-20  
13T Florida SEC 9 14 10 13 21 13.4 40-23 25-15
13T Tennessee SEC 12 20 17 14 4 13.4 34-29 14-26
13T Penn State Big Ten 13 5 15 19 15 13.4 45-21 27-16
16 Michigan Big Ten 8 21 5 5 37 15.2 43-21 29-14
17 Oregon Pac-12 7 16 19 28 16 17.2 42-24 26-19
18 Miami ACC 28 8 13 21 26 19.2 40-25 24-16
19 South Carolina SEC 17 19 21 26 19 20.4 32-32 16-24
20T Ole Miss SEC 22 31 30 6 17 21.2 35-27 17-23
20T UCLA Pac-12 44 18 20 12 12 21.2 31-32 20-25
22 Washington Pac-12 16 13 22 29 27 21.4 47-21 30-15
23 Stanford Pac-12 21 39 14 16 24 22.8 48-19 32-13
24 Nebraska Big Ten 19 22 23 24 30 23.6 32-31 20-23
25 Mississippi State SEC 24 27 24 31 18 24.8 42-23 21-19
26 Michigan State Big Ten 30 32 35 22 22 28.2 43-22 27-16
27T

Virginia

Tech

ACC 26 24 25 41 29 29 39-27 22-18
27T North Carolina ACC 32 23 27 35 28 29 30-33 19-21
29

Arizona

State

Pac-12 31 37 37 27 20 30.4 35-29 23-22
30T Arkansas SEC 23 55 28 25 23 30.8 28-35 11-29
30T TCU Big 12 33 25 31 23 42 30.8 47-19 30-15
32 Baylor Big 12 35 30 39 17 36 31.4 36-28 22-23
33 Kentucky SEC 34 38 29 34 38 34.6 34-29 17-23
34T Maryland Big Ten 46 28 18 42 49 36.6 25-37 13-30
34T Wisconsin Big Ten 27 44 40 32 40 36.6 53-15 34-9
36 NC State ACC 29 26 52 49 31 37.4 40-25 20-20
37T Oklahoma State Big 12 37 33 38 44 39 38.2 44-21 27-18
37T Utah Pac-12 43 34 33 36 45 38.2 44-22 25-20
39 Louisville ACC 72 29 32 37 32 40.4 36-28 21-19
40 Missouri SEC 36 42 50 53 25 41.2 35-29 18-22
41 Pitt ACC 55 46 34 30 47 42.4 34-31 24-16
42

West

Virginia

Big 12 49 35 57 39 35 43 40-24 27-18
43 California Pac-12 41 43 70 38 34 45.2 30-32 16-29
44 Iowa Big Ten 40 40 41 46 60 45.4 44-22 27-16
45 Duke ACC 47 61 47 33 51 47.8 36-28 16-24
46 Arizona Pac-12 56 58 45 43 43 49 32-32 20-25
47 Minnesota Big Ten 42 36 58 48 63 49.4 35-29 17-26
48 Washington State Pac-12 64 45 44 55 41 49.8 40-24 28-17
49

Georgia

Tech

ACC 52 51 46 59 44 50.4 35-28 20-20
50 Indiana Big Ten 38 48 63 56 52 51.4 26-36 11-32
51T Northwestern Big Ten 51 59 48 51 54 52.6 41-24 29-14
51T Vanderbilt SEC 58 41 64 54 46 52.6 24-28 9-31
53 Virginia ACC 39 64 56 60 50 53.8 25-37 14-26
54

Texas

Tech

Big 12 67 74 51 45 33 54 27-35 15-30
55 Iowa State Big 12 48 53 53 52 66 54.4 24-38 15-30
56 Colorado Pac-12 45 52 36 69 71 54.6 26-37 13-32
57 Illinois Big Ten 63 54 43 71 48 55.8 20-41 9-34
58 Syracuse ACC 53 50 55 66 58 56.4 25-36 13-27
59T Purdue Big Ten 25 49 71 80 65 58 21-41 12-31
59T

Wake

Forest

ACC 54 60 65 58 53 58 28-35 12-28
59T Rutgers Big Ten 61 57 42 74 56 58 19-42 7-36
62

Oregon

State

Pac-12 68 69 49 46 61 58.6 14-46 6-39
63

Kansas

State

Big 12 62 68 60 73 55 63.6 37-27 24-21
64 Boston College ACC 60 67 66 75 62 66 31-32 14-26
65 BYU Ind 79 78 67 50 64 67.6 37-27  
66 Kansas Big 12 65 62 68 89 74 71.6 9-51 3-42

 

Conference Data
Conference Avg. Class Rank Teams in Top 25*
37.9 (14 teams) 3
39.8 (10 teams) 2
36.9 (14 teams) 4
34 (12 teams) 5
19.2 (14 teams) 10
* Top 25 classes also include Notre Dame

 

Takeaways from Roster Rankings

 

* The SEC claims three out of the top four teams in the roster rankings for 2019.

 

* Additionally, seven other SEC teams rank inside of the top 25 in roster rankings, including Auburn (No. 7), Texas A&M (No. 11) and Florida and Tennessee tied for No. 13.

 

* Alabama has signed the No. 1 class in four out of the last five years (2015-19).

 

* Georgia was No. 5 in the roster rankings prior to the 2016 season. However, thanks to elite recruiting by coach Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs have climbed to No. 2 overall. Georgia has not inked a class lower than third nationally over the last three years.

 

* Florida State ranked No. 3 among rosters prior to the 2016 season but has slipped to No. 6. Additionally, the gap between the Seminoles and Clemson has decreased. The Tigers ranked No. 12 prior to ’16 but are No. 8 nationally headed into ’19.

 

* USC is the only Pac-12 team ranked inside of the top 15 for the roster rankings. The Trojans No. 20 class in 2019 is the lowest over the last five hauls.

 

* Texas and Oklahoma are the only teams from the Big 12 inside of the top 25 of the roster rankings.

 

* Assuming Michigan signs a class in the top 10-15 next season, coach Jim Harbaugh’s team should jump in this ranking. The Wolverines have averaged a 9.75 finish over their last four hauls. However, the overall average is dragged down by a No. 37 class in 2015.

 

* Notre Dame has not inked a class lower than No. 15 in each of the last five years. The Fighting Irish have yet to sign a class ranked higher than No. 10 in that stretch.

 

* Oregon’s No. 7 class in 2019 helped coach Mario Cristobal’s team jump from No. 20 nationally in the roster rankings last fall to No. 17 this season.

 

* Since inking the No. 6 class in 2016, Ole Miss’ last three hauls have averaged a No. 28 finish.

 

* UCLA has fallen from No. 13 in roster rankings prior to the 2016 season to No. 20 going into ’19.

 

* According to the numbers, TCU and Wisconsin consistently outperform their recruiting rankings. The Horned Frogs are tied for 30th but are 47-19 overall since 2015. The Badgers are tied for 34th but are 53-15 since ’15. Only four teams – Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma – have more wins than Wisconsin over that span.

 

* Washington State is another team that continues to outperform its recruiting ranking. The Cougars are 40-24 since 2015 and rank No. 48 in terms of roster talent.

 

* Minnesota ranked No. 56 in this article prior to the 2016 season but has climbed to No. 47. That’s due to improved recruiting by coach P.J. Fleck, as the Golden Gophers reeled in the No. 36 class in 2018 and the No. 42 haul in ’19.

 

* Duke has been on a steady climb up this list over the last few years. After ranking No. 54 prior to the 2016 season, the Blue Devils are up to No. 45.

 

* Virginia inked the No. 39 class in 2019, which is the best of coach Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure and the program’s highest rank since a No. 32 haul in ’14.

 

* Only one team (Michigan State) has ranked outside of the top 25 in roster rankings and earned a trip to the CFB Playoff.

 

* The roster rankings indicate Utah is fourth in talent among teams in the Pac-12 South, but coach Kyle Whittingham’s program has outperformed Arizona State and UCLA in conference play from 2015-18. Additionally, the Utes have more overall wins (44) than USC (43) in that span.

 

* Since the start of the BCS Era (1998), no team ranked lower than 18th (Miami) has claimed a national championship.

 

* Purdue averaged a No. 72 finish from 2015-17 but has improved that total to No. 37 over the last two years.

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