The Moneyball thesis

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
If you watched the movie Moneyball, do you think there is a way to apply this to college football recruiting? Nearly everybody in Major League Baseball thought General Manager of the Oakland A's, Billy Beane was crazy. He realized the A's could not compete against most teams if they did things the same way the other teams did. This is the same situation South Carolina faces in the SEC. Beane ignored the long time tried, and trusted methods of player evaluation. He took a different road in building the A's 2001 roster. This low budget team won 103 games, and set a baseball record with 21 consecutive wins.

In college football there is a gold mine of overlooked talent for any P5 school if the coach could identify them. These are the players that are ignored by all P5 teams. These players received two stars from Rivals recruit rankings. They mostly are on the rosters of G5 teams. If a P5 coaching staff could accurately evaluate these overlooked players they could build a team capable of winning it all. If you doubt this, go look at the 2021 NFL draft. Every round of the draft has some of these players. Three of these players were taken in the first round. Trey Lance was the number 3 player picked. He played quarterback at North Dakota State. Think about that a moment. A player that did not get a P5 offer was drafted ahead of all the 5 and 4 star quarterbacks in his high school graduation class. The two players picked ahead of him were quarterbacks, but they were not in his high school class. There are players like this at nearly every position. They never received a P5 offer, but the NFL said we will take them.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: PaleoCock

Uncle Money

Member
Nov 26, 2006
738
127
43
You would have to “Hit” more times than not on these 2&3 stars to get a competitive team of football players…scouts can’t afford to miss too often. You also don’t have formal “free agency” to recruit and you can’t “trade” players. There was a lot more to building that A’s team than could be applied to college football.

Do you think Trey Lance or Carson Wentz or some of these other QB’s at smaller colleges would have put up the same numbers in the SEC or Big 10 or other conferences? There’s a benefit to going to play against lower competition. This is in no way a knock on these guys, but not sure they would have achieved the same success in better conferences. We’ll see how they do in the NFL. Wentz can’t stay healthy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: king ward

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
You would have to “Hit” more times than not on these 2&3 stars to get a competitive team of football players…scouts can’t afford to miss too often. You also don’t have formal “free agency” to recruit and you can’t “trade” players. There was a lot more to building that A’s team than could be applied to college football.

Do you think Trey Lance or Carson Wentz or some of these other QB’s at smaller colleges would have put up the same numbers in the SEC or Big 10 or other conferences? There’s a benefit to going to play against lower competition. This is in no way a knock on these guys, but not sure they would have achieved the same success in better conferences. We’ll see how they do in the NFL. Wentz can’t stay healthy.
The NFL believes they can play at a level higher than any SEC team.
 
Last edited:

Uncle Money

Member
Nov 26, 2006
738
127
43
The NFL scouts miss a lot too. See Mitch Trubisky, Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and several others. QB’s are a premium, so it didn’t surprise me Trey was drafted so high. Time will tell if he succeeds, and I hope he does…but odds aren’t in his favor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: king ward

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
The NFL scouts miss a lot too. See Mitch Trubisky, Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and several others. QB’s are a premium, so it didn’t surprise me Trey was drafted so high. Time will tell if he succeeds, and I hope he does…but odds aren’t in his favor.
We could go on for hours naming players that did not pan out. Mitch Trubisky, Jamarcus Russell, and Ryan Leaf, don't fit the description of my post. Each of them were P5 players.
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
Tony Mandarich - couldn't miss..
Tony Mandarich was a P5 player, built on steroids.

My thread had nothing to do with with players that did not succeed in the NFL.
The point I was trying to get across, there is a wealth of talent that P5 programs routinely overlook.
If someone could identify this talent, they could put together a championship program. They would not need to waste time and resources going after the Rivals Top 250. They would not have to compete against the best teams in college football for players. They would become the Bill James of college football.
 

hillstosea

Member
Apr 12, 2020
820
812
93
Certainly it can be done. Clemsons 2015 NC game pitted them with average recruiting at around 15th while Bama was(is) 1st year after year. They were lucky to win. Plenty of 3 stars, 2 and walk-ons other staffs miss that can play at a high level
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarkHorse2001
Feb 2, 2005
267
421
63
I think you still need a couple of elite players to build around. I do agree that roster management, player retention and solid coaching of the roster can build a competitive team. The transfer portal can be a huge positive as well to fill needs.
 

hillstosea

Member
Apr 12, 2020
820
812
93
I feel pretty good about SBs ability to recruit. Staff too. Gonna take patient fans whose patience has worn thin.
 

hillstosea

Member
Apr 12, 2020
820
812
93
I think you still need a couple of elite players to build around. I do agree that roster management, player retention and solid coaching of the roster can build a competitive team. The transfer portal can be a huge positive as well to fill needs.
Yes. No one wins without some elite talent
 
  • Like
Reactions: king ward

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
College recruiters, just like Major League Baseball professional scouts do not have a unique 6th sense for identifying talent. Fans get too caught up in the Rivals star ratings. There were 21 players picked in the first four rounds of the latest NFL draft that did not play in a P5 conference. If someone could develop a different method that accurately identified the top overlooked (Rivals two stars) prospects, as Bill James did in baseball, they could win it all.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: hillstosea

king ward

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 1999
32,613
25,778
113
70
Lancaster, SC
Certainly it can be done. Clemsons 2015 NC game pitted them with average recruiting at around 15th while Bama was(is) 1st year after year. They were lucky to win. Plenty of 3 stars, 2 and walk-ons other staffs miss that can play at a high level
Such an approach is the only way we are ever going to make it to the top. Moneyball requires a lot of data on many players, maybe as far back as high school. And then the data would have to be analyzed very knowledgeably. It seems very problematic but not inconceivable. The transfer portal makes it at least plausible.
 

Captain Weegie

Active Member
Gold Member
Jun 20, 2011
2,324
4,305
113
We've been focusing so much recruiting effort on the SE for decades...SC, GA, FL and NC. Hard to succeed with that approach when the recruiting competition is so stiff.

So far, I'm a fan of Beamer and crew also looking north for players...VA and PA to name a couple of places. There's good talent up there, and probably a lot less competition from SEC and ACC teams in terms of searching for players. Not to mention, the Beamer name carries a lot of clout in the VA/PA area.
 

hillstosea

Member
Apr 12, 2020
820
812
93
Such an approach is the only way we are ever going to make it to the top. Moneyball requires a lot of data on many players, maybe as far back as high school. And then the data would have to be analyzed very knowledgeably. It seems very problematic but not inconceivable. The transfer portal makes it at least plausible.
Muse is a good example
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
Such an approach is the only way we are ever going to make it to the top. Moneyball requires a lot of data on many players, maybe as far back as high school. And then the data would have to be analyzed very knowledgeably. It seems very problematic but not inconceivable. The transfer portal makes it at least plausible.
The transfer portal is the college football version of free agency.
 

hillstosea

Member
Apr 12, 2020
820
812
93
We've been focusing so much recruiting effort on the SE for decades...SC, GA, FL and NC. Hard to succeed with that approach when the recruiting competition is so stiff.

So far, I'm a fan of Beamer and crew also looking north for players...VA and PA to name a couple of places. There's good talent up there, and probably a lot less competition from SEC and ACC teams in terms of searching for players. Not to mention, the Beamer name carries a lot of clout in the VA/PA area.
Didn’t think about it like that. You are right. Beamer name is well known and respected up there
 

PabloSC

Active Member
Oct 12, 2010
1,673
621
113
You're right and wrong.
I love the movie and watch it often.
Yes, there are a lot of "overlooked" players, but the recruiting process has nothing in common with baseball players on major league rosters.
Why you ask? The whole premise is to be able to statistically evaluate 100's or 1000's of players based on consistent metrics. ONLY baseball at the MLB level has this kind of consistency in player evaluation of MANY metrics. There is no evaluation of college players, let alone recruits that you can look at. The reason MLB has these metrics is because of the $ involved with them. There is no such service(s) looking at college players or even recruits that can even come close to this level of unbiased evaluation of a multitude of metrics.
So no, it's apples and oranges.
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
You're right and wrong.
I love the movie and watch it often.
Yes, there are a lot of "overlooked" players, but the recruiting process has nothing in common with baseball players on major league rosters.
Why you ask? The whole premise is to be able to statistically evaluate 100's or 1000's of players based on consistent metrics. ONLY baseball at the MLB level has this kind of consistency in player evaluation of MANY metrics. There is no evaluation of college players, let alone recruits that you can look at. The reason MLB has these metrics is because of the $ involved with them. There is no such service(s) looking at college players or even recruits that can even come close to this level of unbiased evaluation of a multitude of metrics.
So no, it's apples and oranges.
"Yes, there are a lot of "overlooked" players, but the recruiting process has nothing in common with baseball players on major league rosters."
I never suggested a correlation between making a MLB roster to a college roster.

"The whole premise is to be able to statistically evaluate 100's or 1000's of players based on consistent metrics. "
I agree, to find overlooked talent it would require evaluation of several hundred prospects based on consistent metrics.

"There is no evaluation of college players, let alone recruits that you can look at"
I disagree, most football prospects have at least two seasons of high school games to evaluate them from.

"There is no such service(s) looking at college players or even recruits that can even come close to this level of unbiased evaluation of a multitude of metrics"
In my previous post I said If someone could develop a different method that accurately identified the top overlooked (Rivals two stars) prospects, as Bill James did in baseball.
 
Last edited:

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
Yes. No one wins without some elite talent
The players the NFL drafted that never received a P5 offer, proved they were elite talent. That is the reason they were drafted. There were several Rivals 4 star players that were not drafted. Rivals might do a decent job at picking college talent, but they miss on a lot also.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bucketdad

Jon Snow

Well-Known Member
Dec 17, 2012
2,616
4,194
113
This is an “apples to oranges” situation. In college football, you are bringing in 25 kids a year. You have 85 players on scholarship. If most of these kids aren’t contributors, starters, or stars throughout their 3-5 college years, you lose.
The MLB draft is usually 40 rounds. They have multiple farm teams where these kids sometimes take years to improve and show they can be major leaguers. Even without accounting for trades and free agents, that might leave around 300 players in a 7 year period. If a few dozen turn out, you win.
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
I will say again, fans get too caught up in Rivals ratings. Many P5 schools have signed a "cant miss Rivals 5 star prospect" that did not pan out. I know South Carolina has. One that comes to mind was a linebacker. I will not name him, but he just couldn't play at the SEC level. It happens more than you might think. On the other side, we have also signed a Rivals two star rated player that started as a true freshman. He played here three years and left early for the NFL. He had a good NFL career. Rivals rankings are decent, but not outstanding.
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
This is an “apples to oranges” situation. In college football, you are bringing in 25 kids a year. You have 85 players on scholarship. If most of these kids aren’t contributors, starters, or stars throughout their 3-5 college years, you lose.
The MLB draft is usually 40 rounds. They have multiple farm teams where these kids sometimes take years to improve and show they can be major leaguers. Even without accounting for trades and free agents, that might leave around 300 players in a 7 year period. If a few dozen turn out, you win.
Of course, it can not be done in college football the same way it is done in MLB. It will take a different method.
 

Legendary Cock

Well-Known Member
Aug 6, 2014
6,012
7,703
113
Colorado
The NFL scouts miss a lot too. See Mitch Trubisky, Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and several others. QB’s are a premium, so it didn’t surprise me Trey was drafted so high. Time will tell if he succeeds, and I hope he does…but odds aren’t in his favor.
I hope for the sake of this thread that your last name is Ball. 😉
 

cockn'fyr

Well-Known Member
Mar 26, 2006
8,882
1,111
113
I do know if we only recruited 2 & 3 stars, this board would blow up! Loved the movie thought!
 
Last edited:

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
I do know if we onlyrecruited 2 & 3 stars, this bird would blow up! Loved the movie thought!
It would take a very select group of 2 and 3 star players. Not a lot of room for error. I do believe there are enough overlooked diamonds in the rough to make us a SEC and national contender, if there was a way to identify them.
 

GarnetBeamer

Active Member
Dec 7, 2020
2,068
2,641
113
You would have to “Hit” more times than not on these 2&3 stars to get a competitive team of football players…scouts can’t afford to miss too often. You also don’t have formal “free agency” to recruit and you can’t “trade” players. There was a lot more to building that A’s team than could be applied to college football.

Do you think Trey Lance or Carson Wentz or some of these other QB’s at smaller colleges would have put up the same numbers in the SEC or Big 10 or other conferences? There’s a benefit to going to play against lower competition. This is in no way a knock on these guys, but not sure they would have achieved the same success in better conferences. We’ll see how they do in the NFL. Wentz can’t stay healthy.

yes. If you went all in with this approach, you may hit on a few of the 2* who turn out to be really good players. But you’d have a whole lot of 2* on the roster who are just plain old 2*.
 

BattleshipTexas

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2001
39,008
3,057
113
Mike Leach's success was built on something like this. Texas, A&M, OU, everybody competing for the same 5 star OL and 5 star big, fast WR. He couldn't compete in recruiting in Lubbock. So he built an offense different than everyone else's. He used smaller, quicker WRs like Wes Welker, Nehemiah Glover, and Carlos Francis. He used very wide splits for linemen and more athletic linemen usually moved to defense on other teams. He had the qb fire passes within 3 seconds, negating pass rushes.

The best way for a recruiting challenged coach is to run a completely different offense than everyone else and thus recruit guys to fit that offense that maybe not everyone else would want, but a perfect for it. That is what I would do if Beamer. Find a way to use good athletes and players that other teams don't want in ways they don't expect or try. Copy Mike Leach.

In the 1990s The Dallas Cowboys and SF 49ers dominated the NFL. Supposedly they got together after one NFL draft and compared notes. They pretty much had the defensive players and offensive skill players rated about the same. Minor differences, but nothing radical. On the offensive line, not one of the Cowboys top ten was on the SF 49ers top ten and vice versa. The Cowboys liked big strong massive offensive linemen like Nate Newton and Larry Allen. The 49ers liked athletic OL who could pulls and block well on the move. Both teams extremely successful, just doing it in different ways, needing different personnel.
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
yes. If you went all in with this approach, you may hit on a few of the 2* who turn out to be really good players. But you’d have a whole lot of 2* on the roster who are just plain old 2*.
Billy Beane was so nervous about it, he couldn't watch the games. End of season the Boston Red Sox offered him 12.5 million to come there and do it. The guy in the movie named Peter Brand, was really Paul DePodesta. He is the chief strategy officer and de facto president of the Cleveland Browns today. The Browns are no longer the doormat of the NFL.
 

DarkHorse2001

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2001
11,206
1,743
113
Mike Leach's success was built on something like this. Texas, A&M, OU, everybody competing for the same 5 star OL and 5 star big, fast WR. He couldn't compete in recruiting in Lubbock. So he built an offense different than everyone else's. He used smaller, quicker WRs like Wes Welker, Nehemiah Glover, and Carlos Francis. He used very wide splits for linemen and more athletic linemen usually moved to defense on other teams. He had the qb fire passes within 3 seconds, negating pass rushes.

The best way for a recruiting challenged coach is to run a completely different offense than everyone else and thus recruit guys to fit that offense that maybe not everyone else would want, but a perfect for it. That is what I would do if Beamer. Find a way to use good athletes and players that other teams don't want in ways they don't expect or try. Copy Mike Leach.

In the 1990s The Dallas Cowboys and SF 49ers dominated the NFL. Supposedly they got together after one NFL draft and compared notes. They pretty much had the defensive players and offensive skill players rated about the same. Minor differences, but nothing radical. On the offensive line, not one of the Cowboys top ten was on the SF 49ers top ten and vice versa. The Cowboys liked big strong massive offensive linemen like Nate Newton and Larry Allen. The 49ers liked athletic OL who could pulls and block well on the move. Both teams extremely successful, just doing it in different ways, needing different personnel.
We have to do things different if we are going to win. In the late 1980's we had a defensive coordinator, Joe Lee Dunn that was unorthodox. He loved to blitz, sometimes 8 guys. We got burned occasionally, but lots of times we blew up the offense with the blitz. Very exciting defense to watch. He was only here a couple of years. He moved around from one school to another. Eventually teams got wise to his schemes.
 

IH8FATBRAD

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Jun 26, 2006
11,222
7,556
113
It's always the guy one step ahead. I have my theory but nobody would hear it...lol
 

GarnetBeamer

Active Member
Dec 7, 2020
2,068
2,641
113
Billy Beane was so nervous about it, he couldn't watch the games. End of season the Boston Red Sox offered him 12.5 million to come there and do it. The guy in the movie named Peter Brand, was really Paul DePodesta. He is the chief strategy officer and de facto president of the Cleveland Browns today. The Browns are no longer the doormat of the NFL.

How many major league players was Beane evaluating?

How many 2* high school football players are there?
 

biting curve

Member
Mar 14, 2002
824
1,025
93
Different ways of looking at recruiting.

I remember after Miami slipped as a program, Art Kehoe admitted in an interview that the staff had become complacent, and took their success for granted. Their recruiting became a cycle of looking at the lists of guys highly rated by recruiting services, and began offering recruits starting from the #1 name on the list and working down. No evaluation was done, they just simply went down the list making offers.

Clemson brings in a lot of highly ranked guys, but two of their best players have been the walk on WR (can’t remember his name), and that LB they had a couple of years ago who was from Kansas ( can’t remember his name either), seems like he wasn5 highly recruited.

One of our best TE’s ever was Hayden Hurst, a walk on who only came here because our walk on QB Perry Orth talked him into it and convinced the staff to give him a look. Conner Shaw is one of our better QB’s statistically, he was a HS WR who switched to QB, had a hell of a work ethic, and probably would’ve opened the season starting for the Bears if he hadn’t been injured again.

There are a lot of lower rated players out there, a relatively small number of them turn out to be exceptional. Some, like Shaw, have a tremendous work ethic and improve themselves, some are in areas where they don’t get publicity, some are just late bloomers.

There’s a lot that goes into identifying those hidden gems. Local connections, a keen eye for talent, and sometimes pure luck identifies these guys. I like our staff looking in non traditional areas, particularly Virginia and above. Identifying talented guys in the portal is huge. IMHO a guy like EJ Jenkins has the potential to have a huge year. He’s a classic under recruited guy, he was a basketball player in HS, hit a late growth spurt and signed with a small program. Now he’s 6’7”, 245ish, and if you watch his film you can see his basketball background....he catches the ball in front of him, and uses his body to shield defenders from the ball.

We’re nowhere near being a program like Bama, OSU, or Clemson that signs and stockpiles multiple 5* guys yearly, with so much depth that highly rated guys might not see the field much for their first year or two. But we can still pick up some 4* guys, identify underrated 3* talent, and mine the portal for talented guys wanting playing time. We do it correctly, I truly believe this staff has the drive and work ethic to improve our program and position us to improve our talent in the future.
 

rogue cock

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2000
25,469
12,587
113
Bluffton, SC
Tony Mandarich was a P5 player, built on steroids.

My thread had nothing to do with with players that did not succeed in the NFL.
The point I was trying to get across, there is a wealth of talent that P5 programs routinely overlook.
If someone could identify this talent, they could put together a championship program. They would not need to waste time and resources going after the Rivals Top 250. They would not have to compete against the best teams in college football for players. They would become the Bill James of college football.
If there was a way to determine how a particular person will physically develop over a period of 2-3 years, you probably could. I would guess a lot of those players who rise from the lower level haven't fully developed their physical stature or abilities.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarkHorse2001

world famous 3rd base hecklers

Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2011
28,987
12,235
113
If you watched the movie Moneyball, do you think there is a way to apply this to college football recruiting? Nearly everybody in Major League Baseball thought General Manager of the Oakland A's, Billy Beane was crazy. He realized the A's could not compete against most teams if they did things the same way the other teams did. This is the same situation South Carolina faces in the SEC. Beane ignored the long time tried, and trusted methods of player evaluation. He took a different road in building the A's 2001 roster. This low budget team won 103 games, and set a baseball record with 21 consecutive wins.

In college football there is a gold mine of overlooked talent for any P5 school if the coach could identify them. These are the players that are ignored by all P5 teams. These players received two stars from Rivals recruit rankings. They mostly are on the rosters of G5 teams. If a P5 coaching staff could accurately evaluate these overlooked players they could build a team capable of winning it all. If you doubt this, go look at the 2021 NFL draft. Every round of the draft has some of these players. Three of these players were taken in the first round. Trey Lance was the number 3 player picked. He played quarterback at North Dakota State. Think about that a moment. A player that did not get a P5 offer was drafted ahead of all the 5 and 4 star quarterbacks in his high school graduation class. The two players picked ahead of him were quarterbacks, but they were not in his high school class. There are players like this at nearly every position. They never received a P5 offer, but the NFL said we will take them.

Both A-Rod and Billy Beane will make money from the NIL with their SPAC's.
 

iohbird

Member
Jun 14, 2011
151
178
43
College recruiters, just like Major League Baseball professional scouts do not have a unique 6th sense for identifying talent. Fans get too caught up in the Rivals star ratings. There were 21 players picked in the first four rounds of the latest NFL draft that did not play in a P5 conference. If someone could develop a different method that accurately identified the top overlooked (Rivals two stars) prospects, as Bill James did in baseball, they could win it all.
Back to the Moneyball comparison - Billy Bean and the Athletics were able to identify their players using mathematics. Don't know why this couldn't work with other sports if someone could develop the formulas.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarkHorse2001

Latest posts