A lot of 11W posters are constantly asking the question "All the players are 4 or 5 stars. Why aren't they as awesome as I think they should be!?!?". An interesting story that I read in the Athlon NFL preview a couple of years might shed some light on this question.
A group of NFL folks-scouts, former coaches, media types, ex-players-Ernest Byner, and then current players-Andrew Hawkins-Bengals/Browns WR-signed a nice FA deal were talking about the state of the game in a roundtable forum. The question posed to Hawkins was "What has surprised you the most about the NFL, now that you have played for a few years?"
Hawkins answer was quite surprising. "The talent", he replied, "I was surprised to see how many of the players really weren't any better than an average college player that I would have seen in my college lockerroom (Toledo in Hawkins case). About 50% of the players-Carlos Dunlap, Joe Haden, AJ Green,etc,etc-were what you would expect-athletic freaks, jaw dropping skills/physiques,etc,etc. The other 50% were basically regular players who caught a break here or there-stayed healthy, caught on a team that needed depth at their position,etc,etc. They weren't that different from guys on my college team that didn't play in the pros."
This revelation illustrates several things. One-the gap between 2/3/4 star players isn't nearly as large as a lot of posters might want to think. The talent gap between many tOSU or PSU or Clemson LBs and MAC RBs isn't that great. Physical superiority will not bridge the gap between tOSU players who aren't grasping the mental side of the game and supposedly "lesser' D-1 teams and players.
Secondly, if the 50% rule applies to the NFL-where many of the studs are obviously veteran who have been in the league longer than 3 or 4 years, and the scouts can evaluate and winnow down players far more accurately than college coaches recruiting kids out of HS, why wouldn't this talent "gap" also apply in college? Most of tOSUs players-especially under Urban are "4 stars'-guys a lot of posters expect to develop into All B10 caliber players. Guess what-most don't-they are pretty darn equal in skill/career to a lot of other B10 players. Nick Bosa isn't getting replaced w/ a Nick bosa clone if he goes down. A future NFL star who leaves tOSU isn't necessarily getting replaced by an equal talent in a given year. The new guy might be good, but not great, or even just very average. Occasionally there will be hiccups in the talent pipeline-the are not going to turn every 4 star player into a stud of the level that some 11W denizens demand. NFL coaches can't turn 50% of the pros they coach into players good enough to radically standout from the pack.
Just something to chew on-sometimes it isn't the Xs and Os, it is the Jimmys and Joes-and fans have to sometimes grit their teeth as part of the game .
(Mod Edit: Interesting topic, but moved to College Sports.)