Every year, 247Sports‘ Bud Elliott narrows the list of teams that can win a college football national championship to a pretty small group. His “Blue Chip Ratio” has a strong history, dating back to the start of modern five-star scale recruiting evaluations.
Elliott’s “ratio” is a very simple concept. In order for a team to be talented enough to win a national championship, it needs more four and five-star players—blue chips—than two or three-star or unrated players. This has held up incredible well.
Dating back to 2011, the team with the lowest percentage of blue-chip players to win a national title is 2016 Clemson. That first Dabo Swinney-led national title team sat at 52-percent of four and five-star recruited players. Last year’s LSU team was at 64-percent, and all four College Football Playoff teams came in at over 50-percent.
Elliott acknowledges that this run won’t hold forever. “At some point a team with maybe a high 40s number, a transcendent QB, and great injury luck will bust this. It’s bound to happen,” he writes. For now, the streak holds, and this year 15 teams qualify.
Blue-Chip Ratio 2020: The 15 teams who can win a national title https://t.co/VPseIfs4Ri
— Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) June 11, 2020
This year, three teams have an impressive 80-percent or better Blue-Chip Ratio for 2020. The full list:
1. Alabama: 83-percent Blue Chip players
2. Georgia: 82-percent
3. Ohio State: 80-percent
4. Texas: 64-percent
T-5. LSU: 63-percent
T-5. Oklahoma: 63-percent
T-5. Clemson: 63-percent
T-5. Florida: 63-percent
T-9. Michigan: 59-percent
T-9. Auburn: 59-percent
T-9. Penn State: 59-percent
12. Notre Dame: 56-percent
13. Washington: 54-percent
T-14. USC: 50-percent
T-14. Texas A&M: 50-percent
Florida State and Miami fall just barely short of the mark, at 49.4-percent. Tennessee and Oregon are the next two on the list, according to Elliott. He expects both to break the 50-percent mark next year.
Of course, not everyone is totally sold on the Blue Chip Ratio as gospel. Ian Boyd of Inside Texas and Football Outsiders cites some teams that would have broken it in the modern day, or who nearly did so in the last decade.
Blue chip ratio enjoys a small sample size and and a lot of near misses.
96 Nebraska wouldn’t clear the ratio, nor 2000 Oklahoma.
I believe 2010 Oregon and 2017 Oklahoma were both under the line and both were exceptionally close to winning titles.
— Asst to the Minister of Culture (@Ian_A_Boyd) June 11, 2020
For now, this holds up pretty well. If you root for one of these 15 teams, congratulations. You’re talented enough to win a title, and in the hunt for now.