COUGAR TRACKS

BYU Has One Of College Football’s Best ‘Win Conversion’ Rates Over Past Decade

Jun 24, 2020, 1:35 PM
BYU Football...
Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – The past decade of BYU Football didn’t feature the breakthrough season that the Cougars have been seeking. But when you look at BYU’s recruiting rankings since 2011, the results on the field would suggest BYU is doing better than you think.

Brett Ciancia of Pick Six Previews breaks down these types of stats in his annual preview that covers Power 5 college football. This year, Ciancia added BYU to his list of teams he previews.

A loaded preview with advanced analytics and stats that includes a metric called “Win Conversion” rate. BYU ranks 3rd among Power 5 programs in that metric behind only Iowa and Washington State.

What is Win Conversion? Ciancia explained on a recent episode of Cougar Tracks.

What is the Win Conversion metric?

“My Win Conversion [metric] in a sentence is comparing the raw recruiting rankings to on-field success and on-field wins,” Ciancia said. “Recruiting is talked about all over the place, and rightfully so. Everyone has their opinion. Can they (recruiting services) miss on a certain player’s grade? Yeah, sure. It happens all the time. But I think when you start to look at 25 players in a class, or even four and five classes in a row, you’re talking about 80 to 100 recruits. I think that those recruiting rankings are more right than wrong in the aggregate, but that’s just the starting point when you start to evaluate programs.

“So I start with recruiting, it’s definitely the backbone of a program, but how a coaching staff can convert that into NFL prospects and convert that into wins on the field, I think is even more important … and it’s a lot of teams you’d expect to pop off the page in that regard who maybe don’t recruit well on Signing Day but they’re getting a consistent winning product like Iowa’s, Wisconsin’s, and Utah and BYU, both of them. Recruiting is important, but it is just the start of the whole story.”

From 2011 to 2019, BYU’s recruiting class rankings average would be at the bottom of the Power 5. 66th out of 66 schools. Only one of BYU’s recruiting classes since 2011 has been ranked in the Top-50. That was Kalani Sitake’s first year in 2016.

Over the last five years, BYU is 32nd among the Power 5 programs in wins with a total of 36 victories. Far exceeding what their recruiting output would suggest compared to those in the Power 5.

BYU has shown they can compete with Power 5’s on a regular basis, but can the Cougars now have that breakthrough season that gets them in the national conversation?

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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