When Blue-Chippers Don't Play Like Blue-Chippers (Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: USC)

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 11: Linebacker Devon Kennard #42 of the USC Trojans tackles running back Perry Jones #33 of the Virginia Cavaliers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Invisible Teams And The USC Trojans is now up at the mothership.

I always find it morbidly funny when somebody gets consecutive life sentences and ends up being "sentenced' to something like 394 years in prison. Just call it a life sentence and be done with it. Well, if USC's punishment is a precedent (granted, we know from past experience that the NCAA is not nearly as based around precedent as fans would probably like), then Miami can expect something in the neighborhood of a 72-year postseason ban, the loss of 10,800 scholarships, vacation of every win from this one to this one, the disassociation of every Miami football player of the 2000s from Miami athletics, forfeiture of every basketball win of the past three seasons, 144 years of probation, and the return of the coveted 2006 MPC Computers Bowl trophy. Or, to put it another way, a life sentence. I don't know if Miami is in line to receive the death penalty or not -- honestly, it might be cleaner that way -- but I am betting that USC fans are awfully interested in the degree of the punishment.

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In the last six years, 40 of 60 teams who began the season with a Top 10 ranking in my Weighted Four-Year Recruiting Average measure (derived using Rivals recruiting points and more heavily weighting the classes from 2-4 years ago, since those are the classes most likely to be providing most of a team's starters), played at a Top 20 level overall. There are exceptions, of course, but most of the time, good recruiting rankings produce good teams.

In the last two years, however, USC has not done much to reinforce this line of thinking. The Trojans have finished 26th and 27th in our F/+ rankings despite ranking first and second, respectively, in terms of recent recruiting. As scholarship restrictions begin to take their effect on them, USC should probably figure out how to milk more out of the recruiting stars that make their way to campus.

That said, USC is not the poster child for underachievement. For that, we've got a battle between Randy Shannon's Miami teams (too much time on yachts, evidently), Bobby Bowden's final Florida State teams, and Rich Rodriguez's Michigan teams.

Top Recruiting Teams And Their Performance On The Field
(listed in ascending order of F/+ performance)
Year Team Weighted
Four-Year
Recruiting
Rk
F/+ Rk Difference
2008 Michigan 6 68 -62
2007 Miami 6 67 -61
2010 Texas 4 65 -61
2009 Michigan 9 51 -42
2008 Miami 8 47 -39
2006 Florida State 4 40 -36
2007 Florida State 7 40 -33
2006 Miami 5 38 -33
2010 Florida 1 34 -33
2009 Georgia 3 33 -30
2009 Florida State 5 29 -24
2010 Georgia 6 29 -23
2008 LSU 6 28 -22
2010 USC 2 27 -25
2009 USC 1 26 -25
2006 Georgia 2 25 -23
2005 Tennessee 5 25 -20
2007 Michigan 8 22 -14
2008 Florida State 4 21 -17
2007 Texas 9 21 -12
2005 Florida State 2 20 -18
2010 Notre Dame 8 17 -9
2006 Texas 8 17 -9
2007 Tennessee 10 17 -7
2005 Florida 10 16 -6
2010 Florida State 8 15 -7
2006 Tennessee 10 15 -5
2005 Oklahoma 2 14 -12
2008 Georgia 3 13 -10
2006 Oklahoma 3 13 -10
2010 LSU 4 13 -9
2009 LSU 7 13 -6
2007 Georgia 3 11 -8
2009 Oklahoma 6 11 -5
2005 Michigan 7 11 -4
2005 Georgia 8 10 -2
2010 Oklahoma 7 8 -1
2008 Ohio State 9 8 1
2005 Miami 1 7 -6
2007 Oklahoma 5 7 -2
2005 LSU 6 6 0
2009 Ohio State 7 6 1
2006 Michigan 9 6 3
2009 Texas 9 5 4
2010 Ohio State 10 5 5
2006 USC 1 4 -3
2007 Florida 2 4 -2
2008 Texas 10 4 6
2010 Alabama 3 3 0
2008 Oklahoma 5 3 2
2008 USC 1 2 -1
2009 Florida 2 2 0
2005 USC 2 2 0
2007 LSU 4 2 2
2006 LSU 7 2 5
2007 USC 1 1 0
2008 Florida 2 1 1
2009 Alabama 4 1 3
2006 Florida 6 1 5
2005 Texas 9 1 8

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