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July 11, 2011

Rivals at 10: Top 25 recruiting teams

Here is the first part of our "Rivals at 10" package, where we look at the overall top 25 schools in recruiting rankings in Rivals.com's 10 recruiting cycles (2002-11).

To get the top 25, we simply added up where a school finished in the recruiting rankings each year from 2002-11; obviously, the lower the total, the better.

Some facts and figures first:

Success outside the top 25
Here's a look at the 10 best teams in terms of winning percentage from 2002-10 who are not in the top 25 recruiting rankings:
TeamWinning pct. (rank)Avg. recruiting rank
Boise State89.8 (1st)76th
TCU81.4 (5th)61st
Utah75.0 (9th)59th
West Virginia73.9 (13th)33rd
Wisconsin70.9 (14th)36th
Iowa68.42 (T-15th)40th
Boston College68.37 (17th)41st
Texas Tech68.1 (18th)38th
Penn State65.5 (20th)30th
Hawaii64.5 (21st)82nd
The only school to rank in the top 10 each year has been Georgia. USC has been in the top 10 nine times and Florida State eight times.

Five schools have had the top-ranked recruiting class in that span: USC (four times), Alabama (three), Florida (once), LSU (once) and Texas (once).

There have been nine college football national champions in that span, with two teams winning two titles each (Florida and LSU). Five of the national champs (Auburn, Florida, LSU, Texas and USC) are in the top eight in recruiting; the others are No. 12 Ohio State and No. 13 Alabama.

Six of the top 10 recruiting teams have at least played for the national title in that span. The quartet that has not: Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and Tennessee. In addition, the teams ranked 11th through 13th also have at least played for the title in that span.

Ten schools have at least played for the national title in that span. All but one -- Oregon -- are in the top 13. The Ducks are 19th.

Coaching stability might be overrated. Yes, three of the top-10 schools and six of the top 25 have had just one coach. But 10 schools in the top 25 have had at least three coaches, including three in the top 10.

When it comes to which conferences recruit best, no one should be surprised by the league at the top. Nine SEC schools -- all but Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt -- are in the recruiting top 25. Going by this fall's conference affiliation, the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 each have four, the Big Ten has three and there is one independent (Notre Dame).

Finally, good recruiting classes don't always pay off on the field (that's a nice way of saying "coaching matters") Two schools in the top 25 -- North Carolina and Ole Miss -- have an overall losing record from 2002-10.

Here are the top 25 schools in recruiting, using the signing classes from 2002-11. The "top 10s" refers to the number of times finishing in the recruiting top 10.

1. USC
Total points: 38
Coaches: Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin
High: 1st (four times, most recent in 2010)
Low: 13th (2002)
Top 10s: 9
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 84.6 (third)
2. GEORGIA
Total points: 61
Coach: Mark Richt
High: 3rd (2002)
Low: 10th (2005)
Top 10s: 10
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 74.6 (tied for 10th)
3. FLORIDA
Total points: 75
Coaches: Ron Zook, Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp
High: 1st (2007)
Low: 20th (2002)
Top 10s: 6
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 74.6 (tied for 10th)
4. LSU
Total points: 76
Coaches: Nick Saban, Les Miles
High: 1st (2003)
Low: 22nd (2005)
Top 10s: 7
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 77.9 (seventh)
5. TEXAS
Total points: 81
Coach: Mack Brown
High: 1st (2002)
Low: 20th (2005)
Top 10s: 7
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 81.9 (fourth)
6. FLORIDA STATE
Total points: 82
Coaches: Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher
High: 2nd (twice, most recent in 2011)
Low: 21st (twice, most recent in 2007)
Top 10s: 8
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 60.4 (36th)
7. OKLAHOMA
Total points: 85
Coach: Bob Stoops
High: 3rd (2005)
Low: 14th (twice, most recent in 2011)
Top 10s: 7
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 80.3 (sixth)
8. AUBURN
Total points: 118
Coaches: Tommy Tuberville, Gene Chizik
High: 4th (2010)
Low: 21st (2004)
Top 10s: 6
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 74.1 (12th)
T9. MICHIGAN
Total points: 128
Coaches: Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke
High: 5th (2004)
Low: 21st (2011)
Top 10s: 4
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 62.8 (24th)
T9. TENNESSEE
Total points: 128
Coaches: Phil Fulmer, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley
High: 2nd (2002)
Low: 35th (2008)
Top 10s: 5
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 60.9 (31st)
11. MIAMI
Total points: 129
Coaches: Larry Coker, Randy Shannon, Al Golden
High: 4th (2004)
Low: 36th (2011)
Top 10s: 5
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 66.7 (19th)
12. OHIO STATE
Total points: 137
Coach: Jim Tressel
High: 3rd (2009)
Low: 41st (2003)
Top 10s: 4
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 85.3 (second)
13. ALABAMA
Total points: 141
Coaches: Dennis Franchione, Mike Price, Mike Shula, Nick Saban
High: 1st (three times, most recent in 2011)
Low: 49th (2003)
Top 10s: 5
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 60.4 (35th)
14. NOTRE DAME
Total points: 171
Coaches: Tyrone Willingham, Charlie Weis, Brian Kelly
High: 2nd (2008)
Low: 40th (2005)
Top 10s: 4
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 57.1 (46th)
15. SOUTH CAROLINA
Total points: 183
Coaches: Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier
High: 6th (2007)
Low: 35th (2004)
Top 10s: 2
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 53.6 (55th)
16. TEXAS A&M
Total points: 205
Coaches: R.C. Slocum, Dennis Franchione, Mike Sherman
High: 8th (2005)
Low: 43rd (2007)
Top 10s: 2
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 51.4 (tied for 59th)
T17. NEBRASKA
Total points: 242
Coaches: Frank Solich, Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini
High: 5th (2005)
Low: 42nd (2003)
Top 10s: 1
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 62.3 (28th)
T17. UCLA
Total points: 242
Coaches: Bob Toledo, Karl Dorrell, Rick Neuheisel
High: 8th (2010)
Low: 45th (2011)
Top 10s: 2
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 51.3 (tied for 61st)
19. OREGON
Total points: 248
Coaches: Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly
High: 9th (2011)
Low: 49th (twice, most recent in 2006)
Top 10s: 1
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 68.4 (tied for 15th)
20. CALIFORNIA
Total points: 255
Coach: Jeff Tedford
High: 9th (2005)
Low: 64th (2002)
Top 10s: 1
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 63.2 (23rd)
21. OLE MISS
Total points: 257
Coaches: David Cutcliffe, Ed Orgeron, Houston Nutt
High: 15th (2006)
Low: 38th (2003)
Top 10s: 0
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 48.2 (tied for 70th)
22. CLEMSON
Total points: 267
Coaches: Tommy Bowden, Dabo Swinney
High: 8th (2011)
Low: 67th (2003)
Top 10s: 1
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 60.0 (37th)
23. NORTH CAROLINA
Total points: 268
Coaches: John Bunting, Butch Davis
High: 9th (2009)
Low: 44th (2005)
Top 10s: 1
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 42.7 (80th)
24. ARKANSAS
Total points: 283
Coaches: Houston Nutt, Bobby Petrino
High: 16th (2009)
Low: 49th (2010)
Top 10s: 0
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 59.6 (tied for 39th)
25. VIRGINIA TECH
Total points: 285
Coach: Frank Beamer
High: 14th (2005)
Low: 45th (2002)
Top 10s: 0
On-field winning percentage, 2002-10: 75.2 (eighth)



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