The Impact of 4-5 Star Players - Part 3 of 3

In the 3rd part of the impact of 4 and 5 star signees on each SEC football program, I look at the actual won-loss results for all 14 of the 2012 SEC head coaches for the years 2007 to 2012 (or less if they coached less than 6 seasons).


The table below shows three different things. On the left-hand side the number represents the average number of 4 and 5 stars each SEC head coach has signed during each 5-year signing period for the years 2007-2012, or less if he had coached less years. On the right-hand side of the table is the overall won-loss ranking/record for those years as well as how each coach's teams did against the three different categories of 4 and 5 star talent levels, 1-30, 31-54 and 55+.

Basically, this table lets you see how each SEC head coach has done, SEC won-loss record-wise, against similar talent as well as better talent. Each category represents the average level of 4-5 star talent each SEC coach has signed for the five year signing periods for the years 2007-2012, or less if he has coaches less than those six seasons. The wins and losses are for SEC games only.

TEAM SIGNEE RANKING
W-L RANKING-RECORD VS 4-5 STAR TALENT
FOR SEASONS 2007-2012 (OR LESS IF HE COACHED LESS SEASONS)
SEC GAMES ONLY
Team
Coach
Signee
Avg
Team
Coach
W-L
Record
Record
VS 1-30
Record
VS 31-54
Record
VS 55+
1st
Florida
Muschamp
68 1st
Alabama
Saban
41-10 22-1 11-4 8-5
2nd
LSU
Miles
65 2nd
Texas A&M
Sumlin
6-2 4-0 1-0 1-2
3rd
Georgia
Richt
60 3rd
LSU
Miles
36-15 16-6 12-1 8-8
4th
Alabama
Saban
55 4th
Georgia
Richt
33-16 17-3 11-7 5-6
5th
Auburn
Chizik
53 5th
Florida
Muschamp
10-6 5-0 4-2 1-4
6th
Tenn.
Dooley
43 6th
So. Carolina
Spurrier
27-22 16-7 4-5 7-10
T-7th
So. Carolina
Spurrier
31 7th
Auburn
Chizik
16-17 8-7 4-1 4-9
T-7th
Texas A&M
Sumlin
31 8th
Vanderbilt
Franklin
7-9 5-1 2-3 0-5
T-9th
Arkansas
Smith
21 9th
MSU
Mullen
13-19 9-4 2-5 2-10
T-9th
Ole Miss
Freeze
21 10th
Ole Miss
Freeze
3-5 2-1 1-1 0-3
11th
MSU
Mullen
20 T-11th
Arkansas
Smith
2-6 1-2 1-2 0-2
12th
Missouri
Pinkel
19 T-11th
Missouri
Pinkel
2-6 1-1 1-2 0-3
13th
Kentucky
Phillips
9 13th
Tenn.
Dooley
4-19 4-5 0-3 0-11
14th
Vanderbilt
Franklin
3 14th
Kentucky
Phillips
4-20 2-8 2-5 0-7


Items of Interest:

I'll analyze each coach by the number of 4 and 5 star recruits they have signed and what kind of success they have had won-loss record-wise. I'll list them from 1st to 14th based on their won-loss record.

*** 1) Nick Saban of Alabama. - He has obviously been the most successful of all the SEC coaches, with a 41-10 SEC record during his 6 years at Alabama. His first year at Alabama he was 4-4 in SEC play. He did that with 23 4-5 star players signed during the previous 5 seasons. Knowing he had to have talent to take Alabama to the next level, he signed 20 4-5 star players in 2008, which completely turned the program around, with Alabama going 8-0 in the SEC in 2008. When you add in his 1st recruiting class to the previous 4 classes, Alabama had signed 39 4-5 stars. The next recruiting season he signed 15 4-5 star players and Alabama won the national championship, once again sporting a perfect record in the SEC, a 9-0 record in 2009. Add in the previous five recruiting classes leading up to the national championship and Alabama had signed 51 4-5 star players. Since then, he has consistently signed between 15 and 18 4-5 star players. And his teams have consistently won big, winning a second national championship at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

And as far as who Saban-led teams beat in SEC play, he has a winning record against all three 4-5 star signee categories, a 22-1 record against teams with 1-30 4-5 star talent, 11-4 against 31-54 4-5 stars, and 8-5 against teams similar in talent to him (55+ 4-5 star signee talent).

*** 2) Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M - Sumlin has enjoyed a very successful first season in the SEC, going 6-2 mainly due to the exploits of redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, a strong candidate for this year's Heisman Trophy. This year's team defeated then number-1 ranked Alabama on the road while losing to two other SEC teams ranked among the top 10, LSU and Florida, at home. Sumlin did this with five recruiting classes that included 31 4-5 star recruits. He should only increase that number because his 2013 recruiting class includes 14 4-5 star players.

This season, Sumlin's team had a 4-0 record against teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee talent level, 1-0 against 31-54 4-5 star level and 1-2 against teams with a 55+ star level average.

*** 3) Les Miles of LSU - During the past 6 seasons, Miles' is the third most successful SEC coach in SEC games played, winning 36 while losing 15. He has averaged 65 4-5 signees per each 5-year signing period during his last six seasons at LSU, which is the second best in the SEC, behind Will Muschamp of Florida. Like Saban, Miles has won a national championship, winning it at the end of the 2007 season. He also finished runner-up to Saban's 2011 team's national championship. However, unlike Saban, Miles keeps his games interesting, won-loss wise. What I mean by that is during his last 6 seasons (2007-2012), Miles' teams have played 50 SEC games (2 post-season games included), with 30 of those games being decided by 10 points or less. So, if your team needs a moral victory, a Miles' coached team is your best bet among SEC coaches. Most of the time that's all you are going to get, though, because he's 20-10 in those type games.

During the past six seasons, Miles' teams were 16-6 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level, 12-1 against teams with 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 8-8 against SEC teams with a similar 4-5 star signee level (55+).

*** 4) Mark Richt of Georgia - Richt, who has averaged 60 4-5 star signee talent during the last 6 seasons at Georgia, has the won-loss record you would expect from a coach with that type talent, going 36-15 in SEC games the last six seasons. That is fourth among all SEC coaches, third if you remove first-year SEC coach Kevin Sumlin from the list. While his last 6 teams haven't been as successful as SEC teams led by Saban and Miles, he has still won 3 of the last 6 SEC Eastern Division titles and had teams ranked among the top 10 teams nationally two times prior to this season. And this year's team is currently ranked No. 3.

During the past six seasons, Richt's teams were 17-3 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level, 11-7 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 5-6 against SEC teams with a similar 4-5 star signee level of 55+.

*** 5) Will Muschamp of Florida - Muschamp took over the Florida football program after Urban Meyer resigned. The program had been very successful under Meyer, thanks to one of the most talented rosters in the nation, with an average of 75+ 4-5 star signees during the 2007-2012 seasons. Muschamp was 3-5 in his first season but went 7-1 this past season, losing to Georgia, a loss that kept his team from playing in this year's SEC Championship Game. Basically, he has kept Florida among the elite of the SEC, something you would expect a good coach to do based on the number of talented 4-5 star signees that Florida has. The one dent in his armor is the fact that he is 1-4 against other SEC teams with similar 4-5 star signee talent to his teams.

During his two seasons at Florida, Muschamp's teams were 5-0 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level, 4-2 against teams with 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 1-4 against SEC teams with a similar 4-5 star signee level of 55+.

*** 6) Steve Spurrier of South Carolina - Spurrier has a 27-22 SEC record during the past 6 seasons. While the numbers don't blow you away, they are still very solid. But when you consider the won-loss numbers for seasons 2007-2009 compared to 2010-2012, you'll definitely be impressed. During 2007-2009, his teams were 10-14 in SEC games, while his teams were 17-7 in SEC games the past three seasons. Unlike his years at Florida, when he had the pick of the litter when it came to 4-5 star players, it's more of a struggle at an SEC program not named Alabama, Florida, LSU and Georgia. During the past six seasons at South Carolina, Spurrier has had a 5-year average of 31 4-5 star signees each season. That's, at a minimum, half the number of the four teams that I just mentioned. It took him a while to learn how to win with that kind of talent (basically, 5 years of .500 play in SEC games) but he figured it out the last three seasons.

During the past six seasons at South Carolina, Spurrier's teams were 16-7 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level, 4-5 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 7-10 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee level of 55+.

*** 7) Gene Chizik of Auburn - Chizik, who coached Auburn for four seasons and had an SEC career record of 16-17, was fired at the end of the season after going winless in the SEC. He was 16-9 the other three seasons but even that is deceiving since he was 9-0 when his 2010 team won the national championship. However, you can probably give credit to Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton for that great season. Chizik's three seasons without Newton resulted in a 7-17 overall SEC record. You can't blame his losses on lack of 4-5 talent because his teams averaged 53 per season while he was head coach. While you might think Auburn is down right now, a lot of talent has been signed the past four seasons and they currently have nine 4-5 star players among their 17 commitments. A good to great coach should be able to turn the program around fairly quickly.

During the four seasons he coached at Auburn, Chizik's teams were 8-7 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 4-1 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 4-9 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 8) James Franklin of Vanderbilt - Franklin has coached at Vanderbilt for two seasons and has a 7-9 career SEC record. This season his team was 5-3 in SEC action, a record almost unheard of by a Vanderbilt football team. When I say unheard of I mean it because the only other time that Vanderbilt has won 5 SEC games in a season, since joining the SEC in 1932, was 1935, 77 years ago. And he has done it with an average of less than 1 4-5 star signee. In fact, Vanderbilt hadn't signed a 4-5 star talent the 7 years prior to Franklin taking over the head coaching position. In 2011 he signed 2, then 1 in 2012. And this season he has 3 four-star players committed. The guy has done an absolutely phenomenal job in a very tough situation. If he remains at Vanderbilt, it will be interesting to see how he does the next few seasons. Will he continue to have the same sort of success or maybe even better and prove to everybody that he is a miracle worker or will he prove to be a one-hit wonder?

During the two seasons he has coached at Vanderbilt, Franklin's teams were 5-1 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 2-3 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 0-5 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 9) Dan Mullen of Mississippi State - Mullen, during his four seasons coaching at MSU, has a 13-19 SEC record. He had a 3-5 season his first season, then followed that with 4-4, 2-6 and 4-4 records his next three years. Three of his four teams will have appeared in bowl games, something that only one other MSU head coach (Jackie Sherrill) has done in his first four years. Give the man credit; despite having a 4-5 star talent level average that is 11th among the 14 teams in the SEC, he has won most of the SEC games that he should have won, and won some against much more talented competition. And it appears he has started a recruiting trend of signing between 5 and possibly 6 four-five star talent per recruiting season. If he can continue moving that trend upward, then he has a chance to move MSU to the next level in the SEC, the 31-50 four-five star talent level average. And considering that he has a very good record against teams that he competes with on a more even basis 4-5 star signee talent level-wise (9 wins, 4 losses), that bodes well for even more victories against the mid-range SEC teams and possibly even the top echelon of the SEC.

During the four seasons he has coached at MSU, Mullen's teams were 9-4 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 2-5 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 2-10 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 10) Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss - The 2012 season was Freeze's first at Ole Miss. His team was 3-5 in SEC games. Although his SEC record was below the .500 mark, it is a significant improvement over the previous two seasons when Ole Miss had a combined 1-15 SEC record. Unlike the last two years, this year's Ole Miss team won almost all of the SEC games that they should have won based on their 4-5 star signee talent level, which is 21. In addition to winning, he has also brought an exciting offense which has energized the Ole Miss fanbase. The only question is can he have sustained success, something that only two coaches in the history of Ole Miss have done, Johnny Vaught with a 106-39-10 record (1947-970, 1973) and David Cutcliffe with a 25-23 record (1995-98)? It's hard to believe but no other coach in the history of Ole Miss football other than those two has a career winning SEC record other than a couple of guys who coached in season 1906 and seasons 1913-14.

During the one season he has coached at Ole Miss, Freeze's teams were 2-1 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 1-1 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 0-3 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 11) John L. Smith of Arkansas - Smith took over the head coaching duties at Arkansas after Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino for an off-the-field incident prior to the 2012 season. In his one season he was 2-6 in SEC play. Even his two victories weren't notable other than the fact that both teams (Auburn and Kentucky) fired their head coaches at the conclusion of this season. Whomever Arkansas hires as their next head coach won't find the cupboard full, with just a 21 4-5 star signee talent level average over the course of the past few seasons and 1 four-star committed this recruiting season. But Arkansas does have a habit of usually finding a coach who has his team play above their talent level such as the two coaches prior to Smith, Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino, both of whom had career winning records at Arkansas.

During the one season he coached at Arkansas, Smith's teams were 1-2 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 1-2 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 0-2 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 12) Gary Pinkel of Missouri - Pinkel was welcomed to the SEC to the tune of a 2-6 record in SEC play, something that he wasn't used to in the Big 12 conference, where he had a winning record in 4 of his last 5 seasons. But when you look at the 4-5 star signee talent level he was playing with, 19, then the record is more understandable. Plus, he faced and lost to most of the top teams in the SEC, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, South Carolina as well as a hot Vanderbilt team. The SEC schedule folks didn't offer him much of a welcome-to-the-SEC gift with that kind of schedule.

During the one SEC season he has coached at Missouri, Pinkel's teams were 1-1 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 1-2 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 0-3 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 13) Derek Dooley of Tennessee - Dooley was 4-19 in SEC games during his three seasons at Tennessee. That is a surprising record when you consider the 4-5 star signee talent level average he played with while at Tennessee; a 43 average, which was 6th in the league. And his SEC career won-loss record was 13th in the league among all coaches who coached in the SEC this past season. Not only did he struggle against teams with the same or more talent but he also struggled against teams with lesser talent, as you can see in the next paragraph. While the next head coach at Tennessee will start with more 4-5 talent than 8 other SEC teams, he has some work to do in recruiting because this year's class is continuing a trend of less and less 4-5 star players signing with Tennessee.

During the three seasons he coached at Tennessee, Dooley's teams were 4-5 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 0-3 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 0-11 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.

*** 14) Joker Phillips of Kentucky - Phillips, like Derek Dooley, coached three SEC seasons before receiving his walking papers from Kentucky. His SEC record, like Dooley's, was dismal, 4-20. The similarities end there, though. Unlike Dooley, Phillips had very little 4-5 star talent on his teams, with a 9 four-five star talent level 5-year average during his time at Kentucky. That's 13th in the SEC and averages out as a tiny bit less than two 4-5 star signees per year. That kind of talent would be tough to win with for most head coaches in the SEC. Phillips couldn't overcome the lack of talent. And whomever Kentucky hires next will have to deal with the same situation.

During the three seasons he coached at Kentucky, Phillips' teams were 2-8 against SEC teams with a 1-30 4-5 star signee level talent, 2-5 against teams with a 31-54 4-5 star signee level and 0-7 against SEC teams with a 4-5 star signee talent level of 55+.


Next Monday, I'll give my opinion about the 4-5 star signee talent impact on the Mississippi State football program based on the historic data that I have looked at, some of which I have used and some of which I have not used in the first three parts of this series. I promise you it will be very interesting and even enlightening to many of you.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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