Good thread. I do want to disagree a little with something mentioned. I DO think the recruiting rankings/stars matter.
Someone may be able to shed light on this but there is some researcher who looked at all recruiting classes since about 2005 I believe. He noted that of all the national champs, every one of them had a certain level of 4/5 star players over the prior four recruiting classes at the time the title was won.
I don't remember the exact % but for example he stated that "every champion had a roster of at least 50% 4/5 stars over the previous 4 recruiting cycles". Meaning, no matter how well a team is coached up, there hasn't been any team win it all with all 3/4 stars, for example.
True, there are some 5 stars who are busts and some 3 stars are all world (Joe Burrow, Dave Pollack), but all in all, the more 4/5 stars you have, the better off you will be.
If Team A plays team B and Team A has 20 five stars and 50% of them are busts while Team B has 4 five stars and 50% of THEM are busts, then I'm still playing you with 10 studs while you are playing me with only 2 studs---I'm gonna beat you 70% of them time.