On Friday of last week, SB Nation’s Bill Connelly had an interesting post about returning starters or returning production and essentially what you should look for in regards to returning production. In other words, what returning starters are more important than others. Offensively, the correlation is that receiving yards is more important than passing yards, then followed by rushing yards and finally, offensive line starts. Defensively, the list is a bit longer, but the top five are defensive back tackles, defensive backs passes defended, overall tackles, overall passes defended, and defensive back tackles for a loss. That obviously skews pretty heavily to how important defensive backs are to the overall play of a team.
With that being said, I decided to track just the Big 12 and this is sorted according to overall rank, the last column.
|Team||Offense Returning||Rank||Defense Returning||Rank||Total Return||Rank|
So the bad part here is that you should probably buy Baylor stock (not really), but if these numbers are correct, then Baylor should be improved, as should Kansas State. That’s top 30 places overall for returning offense and defense stats. The other thing to note is that these numbers are updated for transfers, so you presume that it includes Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, etc.
Texas Tech meanwhile falls pretty much squarely in the middle and I’d expect that there might be a bump in offensive production if McLane Mannix is ruled eligible, which he should. The kicker for Texas Tech is that the Red Raiders return a ton of offensive line starts, which doesn’t matter as much as receiving production but does return a freshman All-American at quarterback who should only get better. Additionally, Texas Tech lost a ton at defensive back with the graduation of Jah’Shawn Johnson and Vaughnte Dorsey. The flip side is that Texas Tech returned those guys last year and the overall record wasn’t indicative of success, so maybe they were important, but maybe they are replaceable.
I did want to quote a couple of things here from Bill’s post, which is that teams in the top 35 do have a bump in success:
Over the last five years, 35 teams have returned at least 80 percent of their production based on these calculations; 28 of them (80 percent) improved, and 17 (49 percent) improved their adjusted scoring margin per game by at least six points.
And those teams near the bottom could suffer a regression (including Texas):
Meanwhile, 80 teams returned no more than 50 percent of their production; 65 of them (81 percent) regressed, 36 (45 percent) by at least a touchdown. Last year’s bottom 10 teams saw their win total decrease by a combined 27 games, from 76 to 49. LSU and FIU each managed to improve by one win, and Colorado held steady at 5-7. The other seven all fell by at least two wins, and four (Navy, Colorado State, Louisville, and CMU) all fell by at least four. For now, 13 teams are at 50 percent or lower, including Washington, Texas, and Georgia Tech.
This dovetails nicely with Connelly releasing the projected S&P for 2019 and I’ve tabled the results for the Big 12.
|Team||Proj. S&P+||Rank||Proj. Off. S&P+||Rank||Proj. Def. S&P+||Rank|
The numbers are pretty clear in terms of tiers I think. Oklahoma is by far and away the top-dog, with Oklahoma State clearly second. I have a hard time believing that the Oklahoma State offense will be the 7th best considering they had so many issues at quarterback and their offensive coordinator bolted for Ohio State, but I guess we’ll see. The next tier is TCU, Texas, West Virginia, Baylor, and Iowa State with Texas Tech, Kansas State, and Kansas bringing up the rear. It is not going to be easy to punch their way out of that 8th spot for the Red Raiders as the gap between them and Iowa State is fairly wide. The mitigating factor for Texas Tech will be how good the offense will be and I think the offense will be better than 28th overall, especially with a healthy Alan Bowman.