ESPN is going to be releasing their top 50 players in all of college football for the 2017 season. They threw out a lot of impressive names like Microsoft and the Wharton School. They proclaimed their 19 employees “experts”, and then released numbers 26-50. Exactly one of those guys plays for a group of 5 school.
I fully expect the list to be loaded with power 5 guys, and more specifically, skill position guys. It’s the nature of the beast of college football. There are 129 different teams in 10 different conferences. That’s a lot of players to keep track of, so they need stats to keep them in order. For the same reason, the list is going to be loaded with P5 guys simply because those “experts” can’t possibly know all the players, their stats, and just how good they are.
Heck, I struggle to keep track of 26 teams in 2 conferences.
So just leave off the quarterback for South Florida, and call it the “50 best players in a major conference in college football.”
Otherwise, it takes away from guys in the smaller conferences and what they are achieving. When the New England Patriots took on the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl, several outlets decided to track how many stars each player had beside their name on their college recruiting profile. It was somewhere around 2.6. In other words, the average guy in the Super Bowl was just that, average. At least according to lists like this.
This particular list has Mike Weber of Ohio State at 46. He ran for just over 1000 yards last season and was a top recruit out of Detroit. Meanwhile, Jarvion Franklin has 3639 career yards. Both played against Wisconsin last season. Franklin ran for 53 yards on 7 carries, while Weber ran 11 times for 46 yards. Obviously that’s a small sample size, and it really isn’t telling. But it is something to think about.
I am not taking away anything from Mike Weber. He could end up being a great player next season. It’s possible he is, in fact, a better running back than Franklin. However, lists like this always assume the bigger school guy is better than the smaller school guy, and that ignores reality.
If I had to guess, the list tomorrow will not include any small school guys, and if it does, it will be no more than 2 or 3. Having watched college and pro football for 30 years, my gut tells me that 10 to 15 of the top 50 players in college football play at a non power 5 school. The NFL released their top 100 players, and 2 of the top 5, and 3 of the top 22 played in the MAC. That’s just one small conference.
It’s all subjective, but to be fair, more players from smaller schools need to be included, or they just need to make two separate lists. Making a list like that implies that all the best players are in a major college conference, and that simply is not the case.