No college team starts out a finished project.
Some teams bring back players who know the plan and some have less (moving on to the NFL or life).
Some teams start with new coaches brought in because the "old" was not good enough.

The deal is talent wins. Money attracts talent. That is why the "blue bloods" with limitless $$ are at the top over decades.
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I am OK with that. Why should a college who just spends on say "basketball" be a winner in football?

In the era of Bear Brant, a few "blue blood" schools got all the talent. They would put a million kids on scholarship to sit the bench to keep them from playing against them.

Now only 85 can be given. The cream still goes with the money, but many decent players must go other places.
After a couple years some of these "decent players" develop under good coaching they lacked in high school into very good players.

Under excellent coaching in a stable program, even "walk ons" might earn a scholrship and make it to the NFL.

What that means is that from time to time a team not a "blue blood" and with much less money will field a competative team. They can't do it every year, but~

Look at the top ten now or any year. Money talks.

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Senior led teams will pop up, but why has Clemson remaimed for more than one year near the best while being far below the $$ chart?

Dabo Swinney did not find a niche, he is a niche and some players have found him. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Parents and even a few teens see that. He does not preach religion, but is proud of his faith. Not all are into that. I am awed at how many great kids with talent are drawn here due to that. No "stars" can expect special treatment like they are all used to in high school. Under Dabo, Clemson is a team of friends. You must go to class every day or you will not play. You must be in all team meetings or you will not play. You earn playing time on the field and in the classroom.

At the start that was a lot. Like I said, am in awe as to how many kids are all in with that as opposed to strip clubs where the famous hang and influence kids. Now older classmates are the rock for the new guys.
New kids feel welcome on day one.

Last week a 5 star kid all the way from California was here.
I doubt he will come here, most likely USC. He said he has been to great colleges and has no choice yet. He said GOD will guide him. Kids with faith like to be with kids with faith, so now I am not ruling him out.
Kids can be happy on Dabo's team from any faith. He will not allow any to be less than a good person. Thugs don't do well here as the players are real men. They are young, but are a family.
Money can't buy that.