Recruiting is an essential part of a college football program’s success. At mcillecesports.com, program talent levels are rated on a 0-100 percentile scale based on a 4-year weighted average of recruiting results. Any good prediction algorithm will heavily factor in a team’s talent level, as it is consistently a critical predictor of a team’s performance.
However, coaching & development (C&D*) of those players is different than the recruiting aspect. By comparing performance expectations based on talent level to the actual product on the field, every coach in the FBS can be graded for their C&D: that is, how much does a particular coach boost or drag down his unit’s output in the games? And how important is that particular unit’s output to the team’s chances of winning a game? For example, a Mike Leach-coached team doesn’t have much reliance on a QB run game, whereas for academy option teams like Army and Navy, the QB run game is critical. These rankings account for all these pieces: talent-based expectation, unit performance, coaching system, and historical coaching performance.
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Cobbling together all these factors, these C&D ratings are then scaled to a 12-game regular season. The resulting rating, RegWin, estimates how many net wins the coaching staff is worth post-recruiting. For 2022, the top C&D staff in America is Wisconsin, helmed by Paul Chryst. The Badger staff are elite talent developers, year-in and year-out. Coastal Carolina, Utah, Army, and the new-look Florida staff (led by former Louisiana boss Billy Napier) round out the top five. Last year’s championship game participants, Georgia and Alabama, rank 13th and 19th, respectively. While that might seem low for the best two teams in the nation in 2021, remember that this reflects C&D post-recruiting. Both have excellent coaching staffs, but their talent levels are 100th percentile nationally, so they would be expected to be elite each year, even with average coaching & development. Ranking in the C&D top 20 when the talent level is best in the country is quite impressive.
NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect 2022 staff changes that were not accounted for in a previous version.
*It is also reasonable to assume C&D includes talent identification. A coach might be good at identifying recruits who are better than their recruiting service ratings indicate. Here, that concept is lumped in with coaching & development.
**The James Madison staff rating should be taken with a grain of salt. Only a couple coaches on staff have FBS history to judge. FCS results are not incorporated in this ranking.