The race for the top Group of Five conference is clearly down to the Mountain West and American Athletic Conference. Recruiting is a key component for college football programs but at the non-major level the results are not as clear.
Teams can have recruiting ratings 90 or below but can be a top-25 team, or the opposite effect with highly rated classes that do not pan out with great seasons. Just look at San Jose State's 2002 class which did not pan out despite having four players rated as four-star prospects.
However, it is still fun to see where teams are ranked and compare. Between the two leagues the Mountain West had the top three teams overall, but eight of the 12 teams are outside the top 100. The American has just a pair of teams outside of that top 100 range. Overall, the American has the better class when averaging .
All what can really be told from this comparison is that the top of the Mountain West is better compared to the American, but the middle chunk is amongst the best of the Group of Five.
The best teams on the field were the best in recruiting, with the exception of San Jose State who went 3-9 this past year yet had the second best class out of the entire Group of Five teams. Then there is East Carolina who is consistently one of the better non-power teams and they were eighth in the American this year.
These two leagues will likely battle it out each and every year as the best non-power league, and fight for that coveted New Year's Day spot.
Have a look at the comparison.
Thanks to MAGMADIVER for putting this together.