A big part of Bill Connelly’s S&P+ is considering that it’s not just the number of starters a team loses in any given year, it’s what position those starters played. He’s come up with a “Returning Production” number that you can read more about here, which is where we’ll be taking this data from as we take a quick look around the league in preparation for the (iffy) 2020 season.
I should have probably run this earlier in the countdown, as I think it will help give a baseline for comparing teams as we continue to preview the schedule on a weekly basis every Saturday.
Note: Returning Starter information taken from this link.
From the most returning production to the least, here’s where every Big 12 team stacks up, with their national rank (out of 130) in parentheses.
Oklahoma State (9)
The Cowboys return 80% of their overall production from 2019; 75% from offense with 8 starters and 86% from defense with 10 starters. They are primed to make a run at the Big 12 Championship as they return a quarterback, last season’s FBS leading rusher, and a presumably healthy Tylan Wallace at WR, as well as their top six tacklers from last season.
The Longhorns return 74% of their overall production from 2019; 66% on offense with 7 returning starters, and 82% on defense with 8 returning starters. It may not be a bad year to buy into the annual hype that Texas always gets, because with the high level of recruits that Texas starts with, they typically only get better as they gain experience.
Iowa State (52)
The Cyclones return 67% of their overall production from 2019; 62% on offense with 5 returning starters, and 73% on defense with 7 returning starters. Brock Purdy appears to be a rising star at the quarterback position, and he won’t be hurting for offensive weapons around him this fall.
The Frogs return 65% of their overall production from 2019; 61% on offense with 6 returning starters, and 68% on defense with 5 returning starters. They lose a fair number of seniors from last year, but returners are at key positions, such as sophomore QB Max Duggan, Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year safety Ar’Darius Washington, and first team All-Big 12 defenders LB Garret Wallow and S Trevon Moehrig.
West Virginia (66)
The Mountaineers return 64% of their overall production from 2019; 71% on offense with 9 returning starters, but just 58% on defense despite 8 returning starters. WVU has a quarterback controversy on its hands between OU transfer Austin Kendall and BGSU transfer Jarret Doege, while the defense will look for more playmakers to support Darius and Dante Stills, who combined for 14 sacks last year. Safety Sean Mahone, who led the team in tackles in 2019, also returns.
Kansas State (76)
The Wildcats return 61% of their overall production from last season; 59% on offense with just 3 returning starters, and 63% on offense with 5 returning starters. QB Skylar Thompson is back, but the entire offensive line that started the Liberty Bowl against Navy is gone. Leading tackler LB Elijah Sullivan is back, but K-State will be looking for playmakers on both sides of the ball this fall.
Texas Tech (81)
The Red Raiders return 59% of their overall production from last season; 48% on offense with 6 returning starters, and 71% on defense with 7 returning starters. If QB Alan Bowman can stay healthy, Tech will still be a threat offensively, but the defense was not good last year. They gave up 30 or more points in every Big 12 game except West Virginia, and that will need to improve if the Raiders want to go bowling again.
The Sooners return 59% of their overall production from last season as well; 49% on offense with 7 returning starters, and 70% on defense with 8 returning starters. Losing QB Jalen Hurts accounts for most of that offensive production number, but OU will likely be replacing him with the consensus #1-ranked prep QB recruit from 2019, Spencer Rattler, who saw action in three games last year, preserving a redshirt. WR CeeDee Lamb’s departure from the program also hinders OU’s returning production stats, but its not like the Sooners won’t be throwing 4 and 5-star recruits out there at wide receiver, either.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t worry OU fans, you’ll be fine.
The Bears return 51% of their overall production from last season; 70% on offense with 8 returning starters, but a dismal 32% on defense with just 3 returning starters. QB Charlie Brewer is back, but health is a concern for him as he got knocked around pretty good in a couple games last year.
The Jayhawks return just 42% of their overall production from 2019; 42% on offense with 6 returning starters, and 44% on defense with 5 returning starters. We have noted here at RCT that at several position groups, its a matter of upperclassmen moving into starting roles without much (or any) previous starting experience. So while the Jayhawks will have their fair share of freshmen and sophomores on the field as Les Miles continues to work to rebuild the roster, they’ll also look to seniors to step up at vacated key positions, such as in the offensive line and secondary.