Every year I release my Blue-Chip Ratio statistic. It’s a quick and dirty method to determine which teams have met the minimum recruiting threshold to win a national title. It usually churns out between eight to 12 teams, and they do not always match up with the top teams in the preseason poll.
This year the teams were Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Notre Dame.
So what are the chances that one of the 13 BCR teams wins it all?
Much better than they were in the preseason. A near certainty, in fact.
The key here has been early losses suffered by the biggest potential usurpers.
There were five teams in the top 15 of the AP preseason poll who were not part of the BCR list. All five have already lost twice.
- Wisconsin lost at home to BYU and was blown out by Michigan.
- Washington lost a “neutral” site against Auburn in Atlanta. That loss now looks worse than it did at the time because Auburn has collapsed. The Huskies also blew a game at Oregon.
- Miami lost to LSU in blowout fashion, and dropped a game over the weekend to Virginia.
- Michigan State lost to Arizona State and Northwestern.
- Stanford lost to Notre Dame and Utah by a combined 40 points.
The five best non-BCR candidates from the preseason are already done, barring some unimaginable collapse.
A few BCR teams are already done as well ...
- USC has two losses and is now done.
- Goodbye to Florida State, who is demonstrating that good overall recruiting rankings don’t mean much if one unit falls below replacement level.
- Auburn is way, way done after losing to Tennessee.
- Goodbye Penn State. Losing at home to Ohio State was surmountable. Doing the same against Michigan State was not.
... five more are on life support.
- Michigan lost at Notre Dame close, which is forgivable, but if it runs the table, it is in because that would mean wins over Ohio State, Wisconsin (perhaps twice), Penn State, and Michigan State.
- Texas beat USC and Oklahoma, but lost at Maryland. If Texas runs the table, it will have an excellent case if it gets help.
- Georgia slipped up against LSU, but will still likely be favored by more than a touchdown in all of its remaining games, except for that potential contest against Alabama. Georgia’s path to the CFP can no longer contain a loss to the Tide.
- LSU lost to the Gators, but is still alive thanks to a huge win over Georgia. But the Tigers’ path to the playoff now has the same obstacle faced by Georgia: losing to Alabama would be a knockout, barring something completely wild happening like it did in 2007.
- Oklahoma’s offense seems to have taken a smaller step back than expected without Baker Mayfield. But the defense was a wreck against Texas. But if the Sooners run the table, they’ll have a shot if they get help.
Three of these losses were to other BCR teams, which is unavoidable when both teams make the list.
The other four, though, are looking great for the metric’s chances.
I feel great about one of these eight teams winning. According to ESPN’s playoff predictor, all three of the teams given a greater than 19 percent chance to win the title are in this group (Notre Dame is at seven percent).
- Alabama is looking like one of the most dominant college football teams I have ever seen. A road trip to LSU in early November looms, but the Tide will be favored in every game this season, perhaps by double digits in all.
- Ohio State is going to be a big favorite in every remaining game, with the possible exception of the game against Michigan in Columbus, in which it will still be favored. OSU could even make it with a loss, if it is a good loss and they still win the conference.
- Clemson passed an early road test at Texas A&M, has freak athletes all over the field, and will be a double-digit favorite in every remaining game. If the Tigers lose, it will get interesting.
- Notre Dame got past Michigan in Week 1, and won on the road at Virginia Tech. The toughest test remaining is at USC in the final weekend. Win, and the Irish are in.
This isn’t abnormal: There are usually only a handful of elite teams.
Bill Connelly explained this recently with some great charts and data. And all of the elites this year are among the elite recruiters.
I’m not sure who the top non-BCR contenders even are at this point.
- Oregon’s schedule outside of league play is so bad that even if the Ducks run the table, they likely can’t get in, barring chaos.
- Florida still has to play Georgia and, if they make it to the SEC Championship, likely Alabama.
It’s still early, but looks like another good year for the metric.