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CU at the Game Mailbag – Podcast Companion

Is CU over-scheduling non-conference Power-Five opponents?

From Random Thoughts – December 8, 2019, which can be read in its entirety here

-We know Colorado has a number of Power-Five non-conference opponents coming up in the 2020’s, but how about the rest of the Pac-12?

According to FBSchedules.com

  • Colorado (18) … Texas A&M (’20 & ’21); Minnesota (’21 & ’22); TCU (’22 & ’23); Nebraska (’23 & ’24); Georgia Tech (’25 & ’26); Missouri (’25 & ’30); Northwestern (’26 & ’27); Kansas State (’27 & ’28); Florida (’28 & ’29);
  • Stanford (12) … Notre Dame (’20; ’21; ’22; ’23 & ’24); Kansas State (’21); Vanderbilt (’21 & ’27); TCU (’24 & ’27); Boston College (’28 & ’29);
  • Oregon (11) … Ohio State (’20 & ’21); Georgia (’22); Texas Tech (’22 & ’23); Oklahoma State (’25 & ’26); Baylor (’27 & ’28); Michigan State (’29 & ’30);
  • Arizona State (10) … Oklahoma State (’22 & ’23); Mississippi State (’24 & ’25); Texas A&M (’26 & ’27); Florida (’28 & ’31); LSU (’29 & ’30);
  • USC (10) … Alabama (’20); Notre Dame (’20; ’21; ’22: ’23; ’24; ’25; & ’26); Ole Miss (’25 & ’26)
  • California (9) … TCU (’20 & ’21); Notre Dame (’22); Auburn (’23 & ’24); Florida (’26 & ’27); Minnesota (’28 & ’29)
  • Arizona (9) … Texas Tech (’20); Mississippi State (’22 & ’23); Kansas State (’24 & ’25); Nebraska (’28 & ’31); Virginia Tech (’29 & ’30);
  • UCLA (8) … LSU (’21 & ’24); Georgia (’25 & ’26); Auburn (’27 & ’28); Wisconsin (’29 & ’30);
  • Oregon State (7) … Oklahoma State (’20); Purdue (’21 & ’24); Texas Tech (’25 & ’26); Ole Miss (’27 & ’30)
  • Utah (6) … Florida (’22 & ’23); Baylor (’23 & ’24); Arkansas (’26 & ’28);
  • Washington (6) … Michigan (’20 & ’21); Ohio State (’24 & ’25); Michigan State (’28 & ’31);
  • Washington State (6) …. Wisconsin (’22 & ’23); Kansas State (’26 & ’29); Kansas (’27 & ’28);

While not all of the non-conference calendars have been completed, the discrepancy between the CU schedule, and the schedules of many of the other Pac-12 teams, is significant. In the next four seasons, Colorado will play twice as many Power-Five non-conference foes as Cal has scheduled for the entire decade.

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal was asked after the Pac-12 title game whether it was a mistake for the Ducks to schedule a game against Auburn to open the season. “They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way we’re going to go away from that mentality to try to schedule down to appease — whatever, I guess I should stop there before I get in trouble, right?” Cristobal said.

And Oregon’s upcoming non-conference schedule has nothing on CU’s.

If Mel Tucker can bring about the renaissance of CU football that many of us expect, The Rise will be accomplished by playing one of the toughest – if not the toughest – schedule in the Pac-12 conference.

As Bill McCartney said, “In order to be the best, you have to play the best”.

Suffice it to say, CU is positioned to be the best.

Is it time to push the Panic Button on CU’s Recruiting Class of 2021?

Note … The current CU Recruiting Class of 2021 has four commitments, none of which has more than three Power-Five offers … 

From “Recruiting Rankings Rant”, which can be read in its entirety here

When comparing apples to apples – how the Recruiting Classes stack up against prior years as rated by the same services – the Class of 2020 is shaping up to be an exceptional Class:

  • 2010 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 66 … 247 Sports: 57 … four-star prospects: 1 (Paul Richardson)
  • 2011 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 74 … 247 Sports: 64 … four-star prospects: 0
  • 2012 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 36  247 Sports: 39 … four-star prospects: 2 (Ken Crawley; Yuri Wright)
  • 2013 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 67 … 247 Sports: 68 … four-star prospects: 0
  • 2014 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 63 … 247 Sports: 74 … four-star prospects: 1 (Shay Fields)
  • 2015 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 70 … 247 Sports: 69 … four-star prospects: 0
  • 2016 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 65 … 247 Sports: 69 … four-star prospects: 2 (Beau Bisharat; Juwann Winfree)
  • 2017 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 32 … 247 Sports: 35 … four-star prospects: 2 (K.D. Nixon; Jake Moretti)
  • 2018 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 51 … 247 Sports: 53 … four-star prospects: 0
  • 2019 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 45 … 247 Sports: 44 … four-star prospects: 2 (Jaren Mangham; La’Vontae Shenault)

Compared to …

  • 2020 CU Recruiting Class ranking … Rivals: 28 … 247 Sports: 32 … four-star prospects: 3 (Brendan Rice; Ashaad Clayton; Christian Gonzalez)

Even by the (skewed) ratings from the biased services, Mel Tucker will have brought in five four-star prospects in his first two Signing Classes. This, for a program which had brought in a total of six four-star prospects over the previous eight seasons (and that’s not even giving credit to Tucker & Co. for graduate transfers – and full season starters – like offensive tackle Arlington Hambright and safety Mikial Onu, or the five-star defensive line prospect, Antonio Alfano, who is transferring in from Alabama).

 

From “Recruiting Rankings: CU’s True ‘Star’ Power“, which can be read in its entirety here

First, we can compare apples to apples … 

Assuming that the CU recruiting rankings are skewed compared to other teams in the country, we can also (rightfully) conclude that the bias against schools like Colorado is not a new phenomenon.

So, while comparing CU’s rankings to those of say, Nebraska, yield improper results, we can compare CU’s rankings with … CU’s rankings.

Here are CU’s Class Recruiting Rankings, dating back to the start of the Mike MacIntyre era:

  • Class of 2013 – Jon Embree/Mike MacIntyre … 65th
  • Class of 2014 – Mike MacIntyre … 63rd
  • Class of 2015 – Mike MacIntyre … 69th
  • Class of 2016 – Mike MacIntyre … 65th
  • Class of 2017 – Mike MacIntyre (after 10-4 season) … 32nd
  • Class of 2018 – Mike MacIntyre … 51st
  • Class of 2019 – Mike MacIntyre/Mel Tucker … 45th
  • Class of 2020 – Mel Tucker … 32nd

By this metric, it’s clear to see that recruiting has risen in quality under Mel Tucker. In his first full season of recruiting a Class at Colorado, Tucker – coming off of a 5-7 season – has matched the best Class Mike MacIntyre was able to produce.

But wait, there’s more …

Power-Five offers as a true measurement of Mel Tucker’s recruiting prowess … 

Granted, the number of offers a player receives can be skewed. There are players who shut down their commitment process early, and receive fewer offers as a result. Quarterback Blake Stenstrom is a good example. Stenstrom, a three-star recruit from Valor Christian, committed to Colorado in December of his junior year, a full year before he could actually sign a Letter of Intent. Stenstrom made it clear that he wanted to be a Buff, and ended his recruitment before it really began, finished with one Power Five offer – CU.

Other players are injured during their high school careers, limiting their offer sheet. Running back Phillip Lindsay is a good example here. Lindsay suffered a knee injury in the first game of his senior year, and wound up with only two Power-Five conference offers, Colorado and Utah. Had Lindsay played his senior year, he most certainly would have received more scholarship opportunities.

That being said (and we could get into an entire discussion about “commitable offers”), these are issues which are common throughout college football, and tend to average themselves out.

So, how did the CU Recruiting Classes since the dawn of the Mike MacIntyre era fare in terms of Power-Five offers? And how many CU signees only had no Power Five offers other than the one they received from CU?

The results surprised even me:

  • Class of 2013 – Jon Embree/Mike MacIntyre … 40 total Power Five offers … Highest: WR Devin Ross (5) … 10/21 players had CU as their only Power Five offer
  • Class of 2014 – Mike MacIntyre … 42 Power Five offers … Highest: WR Shay Fields (5) … 12/23 had only one P5 offer
  • Class of 2015 – Mike MacIntyre … 34 Power Five offers … Highest: OL Tim Lynott (8) … 14/18 had only one P5 offer
  • Class of 2016 – Mike MacIntyre … 77 Power Five offers … Highest: RB Beau Bisharat (17) … 8/18 had only one P5 offer
  • Class of 2017 – Mike MacIntyre (after 10-4 season) … 160 Power Five offers … Highest: OL Grant Polley (17); OL Jake Moretti (16); WR K.D. Nixon (15) … 4/28 had only one P5 offer
  • Class of 2018 – Mike MacIntyre … 92 Power Five offers … Highest: RB Deion Smith (11); WR Dimitri Stanley (10); DT Israel Antwine (10) … 3/23 had only one P5 offer
  • Class of 2019 – Mike MacIntyre/Mel Tucker … 149 Power Five offers … Highest: DT Lloyd Murray (36); RB Jaren Mangham (34) … 10/26 had only one P5 offer (7/13 MacIntyre; 3/13 Tucker)
  • Class of 2020 – Mel Tucker … 215 Power Five offers … Highest: Highest: OL Jake Wray (30); DB Christian Gonzalez (26); DE Jason Harris (23); WR Brenden Rice (20); OL Carson Lee (16); RB Ashaad Clayton (15) … 5/23 had only one P5 offer

Or … put a few other ways …

  • Mel Tucker’s first full Class had more Power Five offers (215) than did Mike MacIntyre’s first four classes combined (193)
  • 58 out of 144 of Mike MacInytre’s recruits … or 40.3% … had CU as their only Power Five offer. Under Mel Tucker, the percentage is 22.2% (8/36)
  • Even some of Mel Tucker’s “one offer” recruits are understandable, like this year’s Australian punter Josh Watts; (Colorado 5A player of the Year) running back Jayle Stacks, and offensive lineman Gerad Lichtenhan, a 6’8″, 320-pound hulk (who was also the 89th-best player in California)

As college football fans, we will continue to track player ratings and team rankings.

As CU football fans, we will continue to be frustrated by how CU’s recruits are being treated relative to other teams.

But, using different matrices to review CU’s Recruiting Class of 2020 … we have a great deal to be excited about!!

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One Reply to “Podcast Companion – June, 2020 Mailbag”

  1. Interesting numbers, I wonder if its easier for CU to schedule Power 5 opponents from the perspective that CU is looking like a weaker Power 5 opponent for the foreseeable future, but has a solid history, and a National Championship under its belt. All these make CU an attractive game for other Power 5 teams.

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