Talent Matchup versus Alabama

vitaminB's picture
August 3, 2013 at 8:11a

So I'm in Afghanistan killing time instead of insurgents and I couldn't help but think...


What are our chances of stemming the Tide this season?  If you just Google "Chances Alabama Loses the National Title This Year?" you will get a long list of odds makers who are banking on Alabama's three-peat(tm), and a bunch of Pro-SEC sites picking the same.  So I began to wonder, am I drinking the Kool Aid?  Are we "ready" to take on an SEC Champion?  I decided to run the numbers and see if I could convince myself that we had a chance. 

There is a widely held opinion that Alabama recruits the most talent in the nation.  Hell, I was just arguing that fact this morning at breakfast with a buddy of mine.  (You still can't convince me that a 5* recruit Alpha Male is going to go there and not play for two years without getting some cash in the deal.) Many recruiting services will also echo this assertion.  I decided to do a quick analysis and see for myself if the numbers agree.  I chose 247sports because they recently won a poll of who the folks on this site value the most.  I pulled the recruiting ratings for each potential starter on this years Ohio State and Alabama squads.  The results blew my mind with silver mind bullets.

QB Braxton Miller 98    QB AJ McCarron 95
RB Carlos Hyde 90       RB TJ Yeldon 99
Pivot Jordan Hall 86     HB Jalston Fowler 95
WR Corey Brown 93     WR Amari Cooper 96
WR Devin Smith 88      WR Kevin Norwood 88
TE Jeff Heuerman 88    TE Brian Vogler 93
LT Jack Mewhort 93      LT Cyrus Kouandjio 102
LG Andrew Norwell 96   LG Arie Koandijio 95
C Corey Linsley 91        C Ryan Kelly 92
RG Marcus Hall 94        RG Anthony Steen 86
RT Taylor Decker 92      RT Austin Shepherd 85
DE Diesel Washington 98   DE Jeff Pagan 93
DT Michael Bennett 95      NT Brandon Ivory 85
DT Tommy Schutt 94        DE Ed Stinson 87
DE Noah Spence 99          SAM Adrian Hubbard 97
SLB Josh Perry 94             WILL CJ Mosley 96
MLB Curtis Grant 96          MLB Trey DePriest 97
WLB Ryan Shazier 94        JACK Xzavier Dickson 95
BCB Bradley Robey 85       CB John Fulton 97
SS CJ Barnett 95               FS Vinnie Sunseri 86
FS Christian Bryant 93       SS HaHa Clinton-Dix 98
FCB Doran Grant 95          CB Deion Belue 80
Total  2047                         2037
Avg   93.05                         92.59


I know this doesn't prove a whole lot, I was too lazy to do the whole two-deep.  However, when and if these two powerhouses clash early next year for all of the marbles rest assured that your Bucks are talented enough to be there.


Comments Show All Comments

LouGroza's picture

Very Interesting. Thanks for taking the time to post this. We all know things differ from what some of these numbers state, Roby @ 85 for example, and for Alabama as well. If we navigate the season successfully, as we should, it will be fun to think about that matchup.
And by the way, thanks for keeping us safe. We really APPRECIATE it!

TMac's picture

Also Interesting that Roby has the lowest Rating for the Buckeyes, and he'll be a first round draft pick if he stays out of Indiana!

ONE Not Done!

Seth4Bucks's picture

Awesome, thanks for digging through this. Btw, how much longer do you have in Afghanistan and are you and your battles getting enough care packages? I served some time in the sand box a couple years ago, so I know those packages can be a big deal.

Hovenaut's picture

Sure looks good on paper.

If this game comes to fruition, I feel Ohio State will be close to playing as efficient as Alabama has the past few years.

As it always does, in my opinion, who wins in the trenches will emerge victorious.

I'm pleased to be hearing how our o-line is the heart and soul of the team. I'm very eager to see just how destructive the defensive line can be. The perimeter and skill players are going to be a blast to watch, but I'm ready to see the fellas with their hands in the dirt just manhandle the opposition.

If Ohio State can play to their potential, stay healthy, avoid (exclamation point) any unnecessary off field distractions then there is reason to feel good about what can be this year.

To get the opportunity, it's going to take an inspired effort every week....of which I'm sure Meyer and the team leaders are well aware of.

Nice post.....and appreciate your service!

Kvs66's picture

If it comes down to which team is in better shape and coaching, OSU may be right in there. It is a long and exciting way to find out. Maybe we will be looking forward to the double next year at this time.


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

I fully agree with you that it does look good on paper and that any potential game will be won in the trenches.  I feel good about our O-line.  I think they will be dominant enough to compete and win.  The key will be how well does the front 7 of the defense come along.  If they develop into a dominant unit then this team will go far.  Here is to the DLine crushing it this year!!
Let's go Bucks!!!!

walshy's picture

Hrm.. not sure about these ratings. Corey Linsley and Roby seem a little bit low . But that just may be me being biased. I love the thought of this matchup versus Bama, but if we do make it to the big game I hope we play an SEC team rather than someone like Oregon.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization."

buck-I.8's picture

This was their actual ratings out of high school

walshy's picture

Might as well just use their ratings off of NCAA '14. Not even sure if this would accurately portray anything.
But IMO this is a clear example of why college football is great, what really matters is who shows up to play that day (and that's only if basing win losses by natural talent). 

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization."

buck-I.8's picture

Well if I'm interpreting it correctly, the OP is making a point about recruiting in the second paragraph, using the empirics shown below

buckeye_heart's picture

Kids progress and change through college so I don't think that those numbers accurately depict the players that are two to three years removed from high school. Just look what Mariotti has done with our players since he has gotten there.

Nick's picture

Wasn't Roby a WR and we wanted him as a CB if I remember correctly. 

BierStube's picture

First of all, thank you for your service to this fine country!  I feel a match up like Alabama will come down to which ever team takes advantage of mismatches.  I also agree that line play will determine which team is able to sustain drives on a consistent basis.  Don't get me wrong, I feel UFM and the staff will have a great game plan.  But that Saban is a witch at making adjustments ... I still hate him from his Mi State days ... But I do have respect for his success (just not him personally!)

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

ToddGak's picture

The difference is that Alabama has a two deep nearly as good as their starters and more experience
Also, Deion Belue was a 95 as part of the 2012 class.

Boomcat's picture

Have you seen Bama's recruiting classes the last 4 years? I'm surprised that they don't have a 3 deep that is just as good as the starters. You look at any of the recruiting service's prospect rankings, and about half of the top 50 is Alabama commits. 

vitaminB's picture

He originally signed as an 80 in 2010, then went to JUCCO for two years.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

ThIs is exactly what I came here to post. I feel there are many teams that have starters as good or better than Bama and/or the University of SEC. Its just that they have so much depth and seemingly barely miss a beat when they sub. Thats where the over signing really makes a difference. I mean you could argue that Mark Ingram (Heisman winner) back up Trent Richardson was better whose back up Eddy Lacy was better whose back up TJ Yeldon is better...
Thats where they separate.
Good news for us is that Urban is stockpiling that plug and chug depth as well. Would love a shot at those guys.

Kvs66's picture

We may have a great 2 deep as well, if the young players work out like we hope they do. It will not take long to tell.


Boomcat's picture

You deserve infinite upvotes just for the soul purpose of you serving our country, so THANK YOU! But yeah, thats pretty crazy that our lines stack up very well with theirs. 

FROMTHE18's picture

Cool work here. I think theres more to understanding the potential matchup than just some ratings from a recruiting site. I need to see how our d line is looking and how braxton is throwing the ball and working the offense before i can make a more honest perspective. But, I feel if we lined up against Bama tomorrow, we'd be competitive and have our chances in the game but Bama has proven themselves over and over again, Yeldon is a hell of a RB down there and Cooper may push for the top WR awards this year. Their defense is usually pretty nasty too. I think tomorrow we'd get beat, but thats just off of what we saw at the end of last year.

1967Buck's picture

 Very interesting write up. I think Roby will be rated higher at the end of the year. Go Bucks.

Dougger's picture

I-O! Hell of a job man, this is good stuff. Am I reading it incorrectly or is their LT rated as 102? Is the highest 100? and they have a guy who's first name is HaHa? haha!
Diesel + Spence --> eatin everybody else's lunch allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll year long

I like football

ToddGak's picture

Curtis Grant at 96.  Boy was that way off.

Kvs66's picture

How can you say that before he gets a real chance to prove himself? 


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

I agree.  Let's give him a chance.  I think this will be Grant's year.  Keep in mind not all players step right in and dominate.  There are plenty of players that blossomed in their junior or senior years.  Don't count him out yet!
Go Bucks!  Go Grant!

Knarcisi's picture

Anyone critical of us taking 3 star recruits, see Bama's right side of the OL and Bradley Roby. 

ToddGak's picture

This is very weak anecdotal evidence.

buck-I.8's picture

Agreed, Bama's line hasn't shown anything yet since these are mostly new starters, and Roby doesn't justify all 3 star recruits as being hailed as stars. All Roby exemplifies is the importance of having good judges of talent in your coaching staff.

steensn's picture

Specially since the bulk of both teams are 4 and 5 star talent, clearly showing they are at least semi meaningful. The reason for the 3 stars is always the key, Roby for example was noted to have all the physical ability in the world, but none of the technical stuff down for a given position. They rate guys like that 3 star because they aren't ready and need coaching. 

Toilrt Paper's picture

Can't speak for Bama, but Roby, Shazier and Hyde have already performed beyond their ratings.

pjtobin's picture

Thank you for serving for us citizens. I hope you feel a tremendous amount of self worth and honor. I am a big fan of our military. I hope you enjoy your time. Take in the views. And stay healthy. We are cheering for you. 
Numbers don't lie. But numbers aren't play makers either. I think by the time the nc rolls around our Buckeyes will be ready. It is cool knowing our team is better on paper. Yet it is not very comforting knowing that tide has been there and done that with their players. I think we're a badbutt team.  And urban is a great coach. I hope your formula is correct. Thank you for writing this. And once again thank you for your time. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

MAJbucksfan's picture

VITAMINB, good stuff man, appreciate it. 
How can you get bored on deployment, that doesn't happen?
Seriously, I never got to do the AFG thing, but did multiple OIF trips.  Tons of gym time, always came back a BEAST.  Hope you're doing well and staying safe. 
Worst part of deployment is staying up all dang night just to watch the games... Damn you AFN, where's a DVR!!  Stayed up all night in 2005 watching the season progress, the loss to Texas was heartbreaking at 5:30 am with a full day of mission fun ahead.

ToledoBuckeye's picture

I totally understand.  Our ship was on deployment during the 2005 OSU/Texas game.  I tried to watch it but we kept losing reception!  Once Hamby dropped that TD I got tired of hearing it from all the Texas fans so I turned it off!  The highlight for me was 2002 and sitting in the Persian Gulf watching OSU defeat Miami and rubbing it in the face of all those Miami fans I served with!

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Geraffi's picture

Good stuff.  I took your numbers and broke it down a little further:
Ohio State Offense vs. Bama Defense
Total: 1009                 1011
Ave:   91.7                  91.9
Ohio State Defense vs. Bama Offense
Total: 1038                  1026
Ave:   94.4                   93.3
Yep.  Looks pretty even based on recruiting rankings!
I think the biggest difference between the two is experience, especially big game experience.  Bama definitely holds the edge there.  That could also lead to complacency, but under Saban, I wouldn't count on that!
The Buckeyes, though, are an angry and hungry team!

NuttyBuck's picture

The hypothetical game will come down to who makes the most mistakes. The talent is equal. The only question will be which team knows how to win big games, or at least big game. 
semper woody

NuttyBuck's picture

Oh, and thanks for protecting our lithium claim!

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

This is one of the better write ups I've seen in a while. Thank you for posting!

Buckeyejason's picture

Bama's the king until proven otherwise as far as I'm concerned. I want to see if we could play big boy ball with them. I think we can..just need to see some Throats cut early and often and not struggle with bottom feeders like last year.


nfischer's picture

This is a great reader contribution. Front page stuff.  Thanks, and keep your head down.

vitaminB's picture

Thanks everyone for your kind words.  Nothing would cap this deployment better than a victory in Pasadena.
Side Note:  They labeled the streets here in Bagram Air Field with state names.  I have a feeling the M*chigan sign is going to have an accident sometime in November.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

personal prediction is this team will look nasty yr 2 is when urbans teams take off

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Poison nuts's picture

Personal prediction, this team will look nasty this year.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Wilkins78's picture

Ugh, still stings a bit seeing Trey DePriest in their lineup.

gobucks96's picture

The Noah Spence - Cyrus K. matchup screams out on that comparison...

ChazBuckeye's picture

This years team, if they face Bama, will be much better match up wise than last year.  If we played Bama last year, we lose by 14 based on their Oline vs our Dline (they lost 3/4 of their Oline).  This year, I'm not sure but it's going to be a dog fight if it goes down.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

vitaminB's picture

Follow up: 
The current Bama recruiting poster with all the stupid checks had me wondering how well we do in comparison to them as far as sending guys to the league. 
Once again, the SEC hype train would have you believe that Bama leads the nation.  Nope.  40 current Alabama players on NFL rosters.  48 current Buckeyes.