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Subject: Re: Columbia's 2017 Football Class

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Date Posted: 19:15:33 06/16/17 Fri
In reply to: Roar 's message, "Re: Columbia's 2017 Football Class" on 11:39:14 06/15/17 Thu

It's important to remember that class rankings are really a predictive measure that *ONLY* has weight before/until the kids get to fall camp and really show themselves. Over multiple years, the class ranking average are usually right, but less so for a specific class/year.

Having said that, the CU 2017 class is a drop off when you consider FCS ranking (way lower), Ivy Ranking and rankings of individual kids. If you look closely, not only less ranked kids, but only 2 of the top ranked kids in 2017 match the lowest ranked kids in 2016. Lot's of hype around a couple of kids (meaning CU excited they got who they wanted).

Also remember, that in any incoming class, kids will be moved to positions that match their size/style of play. Several kids in 2017 class as not exactly fits (smallish) for what they played in HS, so expect coach adjustments in fall camp or more bake time for kids to add bulk. All of this means not as many frosh will get on field this year, and that's probably a good thing mostly because CU doesn't need it unless bad luck hits on injury side.

Also the hyped "stars" for each class sometimes don't work out as expected for LOTS of reasons, many non-football related. Info will leak out of fall camp that's far more accurate on who to watch. Reasons are simple. Frosh are going thru massive life changes on and off the field, so IMHO don't like post that say "expect so in so to start" because these kid have enough pressure already. They all cook differently! And you may laugh, but more than one kid has fallen apart because of girlfriend issues (even in 2016 class).

Some think the rankings arguments are bogus, which of course is mostly wrong. Seen MANY anti-ranking posts in past, some suggesting precedence of All-xxx, Ivy offers, and other "eyeball" tests over rankings. It's all valid data, and no one methods dominates, but the ALL-xxx is especially prone to fail simply because local accolades are just that - local. Not a big surprise when a D3 All-xxx from NY isn't close to a D1 All-xxx kid from Texas. A quick digress: good news on this front is CU did get a good haul of CA, Texas and FL kids who usually face far better HS competition and are usually better athletes and closer to "ready" early in their career.

So why was 2017 not equal to 2016 in rankings? Mostly because it didn't need to be, and the 2017 class is a more selective "filler" class. "Filler' doesn't mean anything bad, but rather 2017 not meant to match 2016 in width and size and talent cross board. The 2016 was very large, wide and deep mostly because it's was the "base" rebuilding class for Bagnoli. Goal was to bring AS MUCH strength and competition to as MANY positions as they could, and now a year later they know what they got and need to fill out the holes.

So, 2017 is a more selective class, meaning that focus was on recruiting to fill holes and then to provide overall depth at thinner roster spots. Although the "filler" class approach is probably right for CU, it's not the best PR to keep all the sideline coaches "happy", especially on rankings. For example, bringing in 4 ranked OT 'cause they're available might be great strategy for class ranking, but would do little to improve overall team performance especially when line already strong but RB's are not.

So, I suggest class rankings mean most when rebuilding or maintaining a program, and I think CU is right in middle this year (although could have gone either way).

So 2017 looks good so far despite mediocre rankings, but we'll see more in camp. Select DBs, RB's and OL should be a big help during long season and hope some get into rotations or special packages. Several solid backups on DL and LB too, hopefully bringing more depth/rotations and injury insurance as well, but I don't see many 2017 starters. But CU doesn't need starters but rather depth for good rotations.

So, in summary, the difference in class rankings is the results of different needs in 2017. 2016 was a bigger class, and purposely a higher ranked class. It changed all the competitive dynamics at CU by design and intention. All 2017 needs to do is fill holes and improve the team.

One other thing. Clear that opinions on this board vary all over the place on 2017 class (and remember, there were many doubtful about 2016 class). All fun, and all good. Anyone can be right at this point. But remember that we sideline wannabee "coach/analysts" often see a far different picture than the coaches, not knowing what kids in the program are ready to peak or quit, and we tend to favor recruiting at positions that match our "limited" expectations/views rather than what the team really needs. That makes most of the info on this board fun but not terribly accurate, and we're all prone to miss the real surprises, which is often from rising sophomores and juniors that just "turn-on".

IMHO, many on this board don't fully yet realize the existing talent jump on this squad simply because they haven't had chances to see many of the kids yet in the system. So we wannabe's get "too" wanting for the shinny new players from HS that we can observe. Again, fun, but probably not accurate and we over-emphasize the effect. But then again, we all love frosh SURPRISES!

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Date Posted: 00:00:47 06/17/17 Sat

Okay, I'll bite given you post(s), but at this point no way to prove much of anything so it's all fun opinions. Appreciate your belief and wishes, so read this all lightly.

Roar said he doesn't see why 2017 kids not ranked higher. I'd flip it and say there are several reason the class wasn't ranked higher, an no real reasons they should have been. The class is made of 30 or so players, so we need to be careful about saying a "few kids look good so it's a really strong class". Class rank is after all the composite. And its important to remember rankings are a measure of college readiness and not who the best senior will be, so maybe so stars in the rough for later years.

What are those reasons you ask? 1.) Many in class played in less than stellar leagues and against mostly smallish sub-par competition, had flashes but were still somewhat inconsistent. 2.) "Real" FBS offers were very few in reality (contrary to hype) and FCS offers were about as expected for a 3-4th ranked Ivy. 3.) Many kids are still not yet athletically developed to "college" size, speed and movement levels (fewer than 2016) as is so evident in game film and even many of the highlights. Bake time will fix this last point.

Am aware of the speed hype on board, but lets just say nicely that most is not verifiable via "real" stats from camps, Nike etc. In many cases, doesn't show up in films to corroborate. BTW, ones that could be verified were way off the hudl info. Not a slow group, but not burners either. Speed above CU average, below Harvard/Yale/Penn classes.

Agree two RBs looked good in several games, but somewhat disappeared in other games. For frosh RB's always need to see how they handle college hitting and if they can be consistent w/more punishment. Hope they're tough kids or rest won't matter (as CU has seen in past!). Hopefully, but not buying into hype of this board first year.

Certainly one OL kid (you can guess who) really stands out and this kid probably is best player in entire class. IMHO only choice for an early starter, depending on whether he can pickup scheme fast enough. Of course, college trenches are tough so watching how he adapts and if he keeps edge w/older kids is critical. Hope he does - he and 55 could add some hardness and attitude to an otherwise good but soft line.

TE's from 2016 were very strong (w/one emerging starter). Think a least one 2017 add will really help the group become a weapon. With existing 2016 WR strength and a hot upperclassmen QB, the RB's situation may not be as critical as we all have thought.

Most others look, well, like typical Ivy kids that will bloom late soph/junior year. Felt far more queezy about CU class after watching incoming kids at Harvard and Yale. Hard to say the CU class matches but raw materials present. Better case vs. Princeton and Penn and definitely better than others Ivy schools.

On other position groups, not sold on how good the QB's are (don't see the star in group which is scary given backup situation). The DL group's key issue is size, the LBs look undersized and w/only slightly(err, barely) better than average Ivy speed. The DB's and OL look good as groups, maybe a notch under the 2016 kids, w/DBs being only group that may pan out to be better (other than maybe RBs).

So, IMHO it's a 3-4 kid class with many other solid players that need bake time but should emerge as good Ivy kids. Again, contrary to hype, don't see many true FBS capable kids at this point. The size and speed combo's just aren't in place for most kids, which is why they didn't rank higher.

BUT!! CU did very good w/this class given past history. On one hand, not top of Ivy like 2016, but way better than CUs past recruiting so still moving up and a win for the coaches!

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Date Posted: 08:49:34 06/17/17 Sat

I like to see how they perform on the field before worrying about the rankings. BTW I would say the Penn class of 2017 was a top shelf class because they won 2 titles (I do not remember what they were ranked). The number of wins is the true measure of the class.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Columbia's 2017 Football Class

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Date Posted: 18:38:45 06/17/17 Sat

Agree, but somewhat misses the point that we're in a period of "guessing" about how good an incoming class is. For all us "sideline wannabees" and fans, waiting till the season starts downplays all the excitement we crave in the dead summer period!

But we must also remember that rankings are not really for us. The ranking services business model is to sell the data to those making recruiting decisions. We see the public back-end of this process and although it can be very useful it can also be misleading.

Player and team rankings are excellent longer term predictors, especially when there are big changes like at CU. But like so many stats, only meaningful when many points are measured and somewhat error prone when used as a single point. Obvious take-away is that one or two top ranked classes don't change a program. Many are needed.

I realize that because the Ivy teams over last 20yrs have had relatively few ranked players when compared to FBS programs, the attitude, especially for the bottom teams is a bit of "we can't get them realism" that leads to a somewhat defeatist view that "it doesn't matter". Kudos to CU staff for not falling into this trap!

Truth is, in this modern era of football there is a profound and direct correlation between the percent of each Ivy team w/ranked players and final team standings. Some bored Harvard (and probably Yale) BD/analytic guys have quietly proven this. For any given single year it can be ambiguous, but if you measure across 10 years it great indicator.

But for us wannabees, simpler proof: look at CU Over past 10yrs. Lowest number of ranked players in Ivy during period, and that almost perfectly matches lowest win record. Harvard has most ranked players and is arguably the run-away team in league during same period. Not sure we need Hadoop to prove this one for us.

CU coaching staff knows this, and although it's not the top issue it's an well understood and important measure of talent, and it's something they're working on hard. No good coach says they go after a kid solely because of rankings (although some do), but often rankings make coaches aware of kids, and many will say that the best prospects and rankings go hand in hand. So target it or not, it just comes!

But don't believe me. Look at Bagnoli's first 2 classes. Both are ranking rich compared to all the past loosing teams. Someone said that the 2016 team had more ranked players than the previous 20 teams combined. Didn't verify, but truth is buried in this likely exaggeration.

So, if you don't like the rankings argument, or just want to be surprised by each seasons "baby", just forget it all. It's football and not always fun to think about it too hard.

But if you interested if data, look at the Bagnoli era recruiting tactics. CU is showing up in all the same places during kids junior years as Harvard and Yale. And going hard after ranked kids. Coaches want a piece of the early talent haul, and seem to be having some success. Again, kudo's to them.

Another thing for those interested to pay attention to. With modern recruiting cycles, you usually can guess how strong an Ivy class is by how many kids are picked up up in summer before HS senior year. Kids that come late (past Oct/Nov) are usually the 4-5th down on team lists, and quickly acquire multiple late Ivy offers as the final roster panics ensue. Of course the top teams are mostly done by Nov, and the bottom teams are the primary cause the late offers flurries. I'm guessing many have noticed the top Ivy's, specifically Harvard, always notches up their best talent in summer months and have commit lists way before other teams!

Also correlated, is that these late Ivy kids never have (or had) any serious FBS interest by definition, mostly because all the FBS stuff cleared up way before August, so keep that in mind when applying the offer BS filter.

Unfortunately, all this waters down the meaning of kids having several Ivy offers, something touted on this board. What really matters isn't how many offers, but *WHEN* the offers come in. The kids that pick up 5 offers in June are much more coveted than kids that pick up 5 offers in Nov.

Big problem is that outsiders have little to no way to assess all this. Accurate info on early offers/commits is VERY hard to get for obvious reasons. Most bloggers don't have it, try to interpolate it, and come up with lots of semi-facts.

But this is really good news for CU fans. Several hidden gems have been buried in the not exactly correct info flow. There are a couple of 2016/2017 early offer/early commit kids that are likely to show up as surprises. Some correlate to the blogger hype, some are still to be discovered.

IMHO, coaches are doing right thing w/respect to recruiting. Each and every class won't and can't be the best, but the trend for the Bagnoli era so far is very very good! Winning will come as long as recruiting stays strong!

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Date Posted: 09:37:58 06/18/17 Sun

As long as we are headed in the correct direction I am happy. One can undo 50 years of neglect in 2 years.

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