From an article in The Athletic about how hard it is for the vast majority of teams to crack the playoff field and win a natty ($$), here’s a helluva quote:
Wilson is the creator of The Action Network’s college football betting power ratings, a hobby-turned-profession that is entering its 11th season. Wilson’s ratings, like most matters with the sport, start with recruiting. From there, he relies on several advanced statistics (mean power rating, net turnovers, havoc) and trend lines. In this era, he says, a team’s defensive disruption is more indicative of success than its explosiveness on offense, since explosive offenses are pretty much par for the course among competitive teams these days.
Wilson, who has contributed to The Athletic, has Clemson No. 1 to start 2019 with a 99.8 rating. Alabama is second at 98.9. Georgia, at No. 3, is 93.7, the difference marking what a hypothetical spread would be between the Bulldogs and either program.
… For all of the champs or near-champs that came out of left field, Wilson sees a common theme: rich recruiting and a relatively new coaching staff. During the BCS era, Auburn made the biggest jump of any champion, going from 14th to first in 2010. Chizik was in his second year then, in the same scenario that Kirby Smart was in at Georgia in 2017, when the Bulldogs leapt from 25th to second.
Based on his program’s trajectory, Smart could either end up crashing the party soon or reinforce the old tropes about how few teams really have a chance, depending on your point of view.
“It starts at recruiting, and even when Saban falls, don’t fool yourself: Kirby Smart is the Empire from ‘Star Wars,’ ” Wilson says. “That is version 2.0. They’re the next 15 years. That’s what Georgia is.” [Emphasis added.]
Jimmies and Joes will take you a long way. Note also what he says about havoc. Mr. Wilson gets Mr. Smart, and vice versa.