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Our 2020 College Football Team Breakdown Explainer

We’re putting together the nittiest-grittiest numbers to breakdown all 130 college football teams before the 2020 season. This is how we got them.

Desmond Ridder of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs the ball in the game against the Temple Owls at Nippert Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The 2020 college football season is hopefully five months away. We now have win totals for the season, and so it’s time to figure out how best to bet on them. We’ve decided to give you all the tools you’ll need when making decisions about teams for the upcoming season.

Thanks to the help of our friend Seth Varnadore, we’ll have extreme deep dives on each college football team for the 2020 season. We call these Varnadore Information Compilation Spreadsheets — VIC Sheets for short.

VIC Sheets will be broken down into 11 spreadsheets (one for each of the 10 conferences, and one for the independents), and each will have three components: schedule, returning players, and talent and recruiting. For each team and conference write-up, we’ll link to the corresponding spreadsheet rather than embed it into the article.

American Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

We’ll keep these updated as the season goes along, and as spreads get added and as games get completed, we’ll enter all the data into here. So keep the pages bookmarked and they’ll have whatever you need to get ready for 2020.

These are robust and filled with a ton of information. We’ll go over each line, what it means, and where it came from in the description below. We’ll link back to this explainer in each team and conference article so you do not have to worry about remembering all the details.

Team schedule

  1. The over/under win total for each team, with odds, as of April 1st.
  2. The spread for every game available on the board from DraftKings as of April 8th.

Returning Players

  1. A copy of Bill Connelly’s formula for how returning players effect his preseason SP+ statistic.
  2. a. The percentage of returning players across the overall roster in 2020.
    b. The percentage of returning players across the offense in 2020.
    c. The percentage of returning players across the defense in 2020.
    d. The percentage of returning coaches on staff in 2020, with a notation listing the positions that have new coaches, including head coach. Each NCAA FBS team has 10 assistant coaches and one head coach.

3. a. The number of starters returning on offense in 2020.
b. The number of games started in 2019 by quarterbacks returning in 2020.
c. The number of games started in 2019 by offensive linemen returning in 2020.
d. The number of 2019 starters returning on defense in 2020.
e. The number of 2019 starters returning as specialists in 2020.
f. The number of games started in 2019 by kickers returning in 2020.
g. The number of games started in 2019 by kickers returning in 2020.

Talent and Recruiting

1. Team Talent Composite

a. From 247sports.com based on recruiting, which takes the grade of every player still on the roster from recruiting classes in 2016-19. The first number is the rank of the class (there are 130 FBS schools, but some FCS schools will rank ahead of bottom-tier FBS classes). The second number is the raw grade of the class.
b. The 2020 recruiting class grade. The first number is the ranking of the class, the second number is the raw grade of the class

2. Team Talent Rank

a. The recruiting class ranking from 2016-19.
b. The increase or decrease in class ranking from 2016 to 2019

3. Player Average Rank

a. The raw class ranking from 2016-19.
b. The increase or decrease in raw class ranking from 2016 to 2019.

4. Recruiting Class Rank

a. The recruiting class rankings from 2016-20 by year.
b. The five-year average recruiting class ranking from 2016-20
c. The four-year net change between the 2016 class ranking and the 2020 class ranking.

5. Player average in-vs-out

a. The raw class ranking for 2020.
b. The raw class ranking for 2015 (players leaving after fifth-year).
c. The difference between the 2020 incoming class and the 2015 leaving class.