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Overachiever or underachiever? Ranking all Power Five teams

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

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OVERACHIEVER OR UNDERACHIEVER SERIES:

Monday: National | Tuesday: ACC | Wednesday: SEC | Thursday: Big 12 | Friday: Big Ten | Saturday: Pac-12

MORE: Takeaways from RCS Chicago | Oregon lands pair of four-stars

College football is run by expectations. Teams are judged against them, coaches are fired because of them and public opinion is shaped around them. It’s why there’s constant talk of teams “doing more with less” or “wasting talent.”

These are not niche conversations. It’s why Rivals.com has created a formula to measure which programs really have accomplished more with less and which schools fail to get the most out of their NFL-level talent over the last decade.

This week, we’ll roll out an analytical, NFL Draft-based series that looks at a decade’s worth of data. This is a measure of overachieving and underachieving based on NFL talent each college team has on its roster against the number of wins, Top 25 finishes and titles produced.

We used the below formula created by Rivals.com's Rob Cassidy and statistician D. Kyle Burkett on every Power Five conference team, and the median score among them was used as the basis to determine just how much each team overachieved or underachieved based on its NFL talent.

The formula is as follows (data was collected starting with the 2008 season and the 2009 NFL Draft):

Talent Efficiency Score = ((Wins/3)+(AP Top 25 Finishes x 3) + (Power Conference Title X 6) + (Group of Five Conference titles x 3) + (National titles x 9)) / TOTAL DRAFT PICKS

NOTE: In the case of a split conference title, the points were divided evenly among the winners. (E.G. two Power Conference winners were granted three points apiece, three winners were given two a piece, etc.).

With all the boring math explained and out of the way, we kick off the weeklong series with a look at the Power Five’s five biggest overachievers and five biggest underachievers as determined by our formula. The following days will include a closer look at each Power Five league and how the teams in each rate on the efficiency scale. A full ranking of Power Five teams and how they stacked up to the average can be found below.

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

FIVE BIGGEST OVERACHIEVERS 

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1. DUKE BLUE DEVILS

Record since 2008: 59-67

Players drafted since 2009: 4

4.312 above median score

The study’s biggest outlier, Duke easily tops the list of overachievers. The gap between the Blue Devils and the second-place Oklahoma State Cowboys is the largest between any two schools. Duke’s four draft picks since 2009 all came from 2013-15. The Blue Devils won 10 games in 2013 despite only having three players selected in the subsequent three NFL Drafts. The Blue Devils won eight games in 2015 and put no players in the league in the two drafts that followed.

Head coach David Cutcliffe has a reputation of doing more with less, and the numbers back up such a claim. The Blue Devils have had their share of losing seasons under Cutcliffe, but given the near-complete lack of NFL talent, the fact that the program has played in a bowl game in five of the last six years is remarkable.

2. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Record since 2008: 96-34

Players drafted since 2009: 19

1.751 above median score

A program that has been particularly efficient with its talent in recent years, the Cowboys have won 10 games in four of the last five seasons but have only had two players selected in a single draft once during the same time span. In the three years that followed their 10-3 finish in 2013, OSU had just three total players drafted. Head coach Mike Gundy captured the 2011 Big 12 title despite having just five players selected in the next three NFL Drafts.

3. IOWA STATE CYCLONES

Record since 2008: 45-79

Players drafted since 2009: 5

1.645 above the median score

The second of three Big 12 teams in the top five, Iowa State has seen just five of its players drafted since 2009, but has somehow pulled off four bowl appearances in that time frame.

And while the on-field results haven’t been ideal – the Cyclones are 45-79 since 2008 – it’s important to understand the total lack of high-end talent with which they’ve been armed. Both former coach Paul Rhodes and current coach Matt Campbell have been regarded as impressive young coaches at times during their careers for good reason, as willing Iowa State’s past rosters to any measure of success certainly wasn’t easy. Perennial Big 12 doormat Kansas, a school with a 28-93 overall record in the years that factored into this study, has seen eight players drafted over the same period.

4. NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

Record since 2008: 77-51

Players drafted since 2009: 12

1.534 above the median score

Northwestern, which is currently showcasing an upward trajectory, boasts a winning record over the last decade despite placing just 12 players in NFL Drafts. The Wildcats won 10 games in 2012 and saw no player drafted in the two years following that season. Northwestern put six players on the draft stage following its 10-3 record in the 2015 season and won 10 games once again a year ago. Pat Fitzgerald has missed the postseason just twice since 2008 despite having the second-fewest draft picks of any Big Ten team over that span.

5. KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

Record since 2008: 79-49

Players drafted since 2009: 14

1.384 above the median score

Coach Bill Snyder’s reputation precedes him and he’s certainly earned his more-with-less title. Snyder won the 2012 Big 12 championship and saw just six players selected in the following three NFL Drafts. The Wildcats have the Big 12’s longest streak of having at least one player selected, but they have never had more than three selected in any one draft.

K-State, which has had just one player selected in seven of the 10 years that factored into this exercise, has reached the postseason in eight of the last 10 years. Quarterback Josh Freeman (2009) was the only Wildcat selected in the first round during the study’s timeframe.

FIVE BIGGEST UNDERACHIEVERS

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1. CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

Record since 2008: 56-68

Players drafted since 2009: 31

.751 below the median score

An impressive feat in its own way, Cal managed to go 5-7 in 2010 despite having 14 players selected in the three drafts that followed the season. Among those players was first-round pick Cameron Jordan, a three-time Pro Bowler.

The 31 players Cal has had drafted since 2009 ranks fifth in the Pac-12, but the Golden Bears have missed the postseason more times than they have made it over the last decade. Cal has not finished in the AP Top 25 in any season during the last 10 years.

2. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI

Record since 2008: 44-79

Players drafted since 2009: 23

.716 below the median score

Illinois had nearly double the draft picks of No. 4 overachiever Northwestern but managed to lose 28 more games (an average nearly three per year) while playing in the same conference. The Illini’s spot on this list is as much a product of the Ron Zook era as anything else, as Zook went 3-9 in 2009 despite having 16 players drafted in the four ensuing NFL drafts.

3. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS

Record since 2008: 74-55

Players drafted since 2009: 39

.644 below the median score

North Carolina may be known as a basketball school, but the Tar Heels have been a mainstay at the NFL Draft over the last 10 years. The 39 players it has placed in the league ranks fourth in the ACC, but UNC has managed just one top 25 finish and have won more than eight games just once. The school’s 11-3 finish in 2015 was efficient, but the fact that the Tar Heels had nine players drafted the year after an 8-5 finish offset the 2015 ACC Costal Division title.

4. MIAMI HURRICANES

Record since 2008: 78-50

Players drafted since 2009: 47

.609 below the median score

Miami may have things straightened out now, but the previous 10 years have been middling ones for the Hurricanes, which seem to have wasted quite bit of talent over that time period. The 47 players Miami has had drafted since 2009 ranks 10th in the country, but the Hurricanes have finished in the AP Top 25 in just three of the last 10 seasons with two such finishes coming in the last two years.

The Al Golden and Randy Shannon eras were less than efficient. Miami finished 7-6 in 2010 despite having a whopping eight players selected in the ensuing draft.

5. UCLA BRUINS

Record since 2008: 68-61

Players drafted since 2009: 36

.557 below the median score

The Bruins have had 18 players selected over the course of the last three NFL Drafts, but head coach Jim Mora was fired last season after finishes of 6-7, 4-8 and 8-5 over the same timeframe. UCLA’s inefficiency has been glaring as of late, as the program has had five more NFL Draft picks than rival USC over the last three seasons —three seasons that saw the Trojans go 29-9 and appear in two New Year’s Six Bowl Games.

POWER 5 LIST

All Power Five teams (excluding Notre Dame) ranked from 1-64, with No. 1 being the biggest overachieving program based on success vs. the NFL talent on its roster and No. 64 being the most underachieving program.

1. Duke (4.312)

2. Oklahoma State (1.751)

3. Iowa State (1.645)

4. Northwestern (1.534)

5. Kansas State (1.384)

6. Oregon (1.187)

7. Michigan State (1.183)

8. TCU (.910)

9. Georgia Tech (.768)

10. Texas Tech (.764)

11. Auburn (.699)

12. Virginia Tech (.645)

13. Stanford (.583)

14. Wisconsin (.582)

15. Alabama (.550)

16. Minnesota (.494)

17. Texas (.452)

18. Oklahoma (.449)

19. Clemson (.408)

20. Vanderbilt (.336)

21. Florida State (.274)

22. Baylor (.264)

23. Ohio State (.224)

24. Washington State (.212)

25. Louisville (.206)

26. Washington (.205)

27. Arizona (.194)

28. West Virginia (.168)

29. Utah (.151)

30. Ole Miss (.045)

31. Missouri (.026)

T32. Arizona State (-.004)

T32. Kentucky (.004)

34. Penn State (–.020)

35. Nebraska (–.053)

36. Mississippi State (–.059)

37. Pittsburgh (–.132)

38. Syracuse (–.142)

39. Texas A&M (–.158)

40. Kansas (–.187)

41. USC (–.205)

42. South Carolina (–.207)

43. Colorado (–.220)

44. Maryland (–.224)

45. Rutgers (–.229)

T46. Virginia (–.270)

T46. Wake Forest (–.270)

48. Michigan (–.275)

49. Purdue (–.277)

50. NC State (–.280)

51. Boston College (–.283)

52. Georgia (–.321)

53. Tennessee (–.328)

54. Indiana (–.330)

55. Florida (–.342)

56. Oregon State (–.367)

57. Iowa (–.372)

58. LSU (–.405)

59. Arkansas (–.495)

60. UCLA (–.557)

61. Miami (–.609)

62. North Carolina (–.644)

63. Illinois (–.716)

64. California (–.751)