Over the years, it has been interesting to watch the vast expansion of college football prognosticators and wonder if fans think that we now have too many or if they think we don’t have enough.
It reminds me of deadpan comedian Steven Wright who wondered how much deeper the ocean would be if it didn’t have so many sponges.
It’s fascinating to see the many different processes they all use, ranging from those who data-detail us to death to the flamboyant huckster who tells us all we need to know is the four-year recruiting history for each program.
Through it all, Savvy Game Line has operated with its original concepts and it provides us with consistently reliable data and trends from which we can project the effectiveness of each college football team in the coming season.
Today we are looking at just one part of the system’s preseason evaluation – the effective production of returning players— or a rating of rosters. Later, we’ll add this module in with other preseason assessments and produce a composite ranking prediction for each team.
Also please notice that this preview does not include quarterbacks. Those are evaluated in their own stand alone module. (A partial quarterback preview can be seen here.)
The Savvy system uses over 100 columns of data in its preseason analyses as it processes the “Returning Effective Production” (REP) for each team. REP isn’t based on a tabulation of returning starters but rather, in simple terms, it combines an analysis of player-performance data, an accession for difference-makers, interpretations for trend angles, and a few other activities.
To keep things simple, I’ve merged the data down to three columns and converted it into grades that are 1-10 with 10 being the best.
The complete chart of grades for all 130 teams is shown below.
Although space doesn’t permit us to discuss all of the teams, let’s take a look at some of them:
With an elite coach and a dynamic play maker at quarterback, my only question coming into the off season was the level of production in the rest of the roster. We’ve never had a team score a perfect ten in the REP but Clemson leads the nation at 9.5. When we put all of the modules together and actually deliver Spring rankings for all teams, it is hard to imagine Clemson outside of the top three.
#2 Central Michigan
Yup—the mighty Chippewas are second on the Savvy Index for returning effective production. That’s quite an accomplishment for a moderate program in the Mid Majors. Recruiting has been at its strongest in many years after the addition of head coach Jim McElwain in 2019. The defensive REP for this team is extraordinarily strong on Savvy with a tremendous quantity of solo tackles returning and a secondary that hit the Savvy maximum.
#5 Oklahoma State
OSU hits the top five for REP for the first time in seven years. Biggest gains will be seen on defense where the Cowboys project nearly four points per game less than 2019. The defensive front should be quite strong. The problem with the Pokes is that recruiting for the past three years has been disappointing and that is bound to manifest on the field in coming seasons.
USC shows impressive talent returning to the offense except at running back. Receivers rate among the best and the offensive line should be strong. Defense returns better-than-average production although the Index is not convinced the Trojans can stop the run well enough to win the PAC-12 South which needs to happen this year because awful recruiting in the past two cycles is going to negatively affect USC in 2021.
Despite graduating nearly its entire offensive line, the Savvy Index still rates this offensive front as better than average. Returning production among running backs couldn’t be better. Receiving production has been disappointing for a top-10 team but a system change and new OC should push those numbers upward in 2020. Returning effective production on defense is enviable and this team might be the best in the country when it comes to bringing defensive pressure.
Starting qb and most of the offensive line and subs graduated. Top three tacklers left with 133 solo tackles between them. Defense has lost a lot in terms of numbers but not in talent. Will need depth but effectiveness should be similar to 2019. Important to get two more play makers on the back end. Last season, Michigan lost its final two games against ranked teams and gave up 91 points in the process so the Wolverines have a lot of work to do before they can beat Ohio State or be considered a B10 title contender.
#51 San Jose State
The Spartans have been ranked 100th or worse for years so to see them ranked 51st for returning effective production is noteworthy. Lots of receivers and offensive line production returns. It seems likely this offense will post more points than the year before for the fourth season in a row. Defense appears adequate except for the third level. Recruiting has been strong and this is a program on its way up under good-guy coach Brent Brennan.
#62 Ohio State
Ohio State at #62 is a bit deceiving. Yes, the Buckeyes lost a lot of effective production but they also have three straight years of recruiting at an elite level so new play makers aren’t going to be hard to find.
#117 Notre Dame
Lots of skill losses on offense although OL effectiveness still rates pretty high. Four dbacks graduated but top dback Hamilton returns. Must find play makers who can get to the qb. The defense must step up because there are lots of questions on the offensive side.
If you’re looking for more sports coverage, check out our friends at Oregon Sports News.
Otherwise, have a look at the returning effective production of all 130 teams . . .
|Savvy Game Line 2020|
| Returning Effective Production [REP]
quarterbacks not included
|2020 REP ranking||offense||defense||net REP|
|51||San Jose St.||7||7||7|
|52||San Diego St.||6||8||7|
|67||N Carolina St.||7||7||7|
|127||New Mexico St.||4||5||4|