2012 College Football Returning Starters

– “In our next issue, we are including a column which features the returning starters for the 2012 season and in many instances, used your final numbers.  We found them to be the most accurate available, even more than Phil Steele.  You do a heck of a job with your research.” 

– Tommy Duff
Editor of The Kickoff

February 1, 2012

Just a quick snapshot of AQ teams returning starters.  Stay tuned for the biggest Returning Starter expectation breakdown Matrix next week! Scroll down for By-Conference breakdowns.

A lot of fans like these returning starter stats, but it really breaks down to overall talent, coaching and scheduling (correlations I have shown in the CFBMatrix FARR modeling).   44 of 68 teams had their starting quarterback from 2010 returning, but neither the Oregon Ducks nor the Auburn Tigers had a returning starting QB in their NCG runs.   In 2010 the Oregon Ducks returned 18 starters, so did Washington State and they both finished the season in first and last, the same as 2009.  What would you rather have, 22 returning starters from Kansas or 11 from Oklahoma.  As with most of the numbers, you as a fan, read, process and interpret it into your own conclusion.  The article breaking down the facts versus myths will put fans into a serious re-adjust mode!

It is easy to find good years for returning starter numbers but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  So in typical CFBMatrix fashion, I put together a profile of returning starter data from 2009 through 2011 seasons.  I will post them on a separate report when complete but for now I will log bullet points as I calculate them out for you.  Here are few points on returning starters:

  • From ’09-’11 109 teams returned 15 or more starters to start the season. 57.6% of those teams had a better record than the previous season. (ex. Oklahoma State returned 15 and won 11 games in 2011 vs 10 in ‘2010)
  • For all teams returning less than 15 players, their odds were 37.7% that they won more games than in the previous season (ex. Tennessee returned 13 in 2011 and were -2 games under the 7-5 record of 2010 even though I think it is mostly Dooley being bad)
  • Teams returning 15+ starters had a +57 games total over the previous year’s total wins or +.518 games per team
  • Teams returning <15 starters had only -47 fewer wins than the previous year’s totals or -.528 games per team

The CFBMatrix was the #1 national publication predictor for the SEC, ACC and PAC12 in 2011.  Over 75% of all games picked correctly 6 months before the season started in the SEC, PAC12, Big Ten and Big East.


Follow me on twitter @cfbmatrix and listen to your local sports and ESPN radio affiliates for rankings, discussions, predictions,  home field adjustments and coaching effect values on every FBS team in the country


2012 Returning Starters

Conference Averages to Date:

If you have a question or feel there is an error please tweet me @CFBMatrix or email me directly at dave@cfbmatrix.com.  We do want this as accurate as possible for CFB stat fans like me.  It can be off depending on your ‘perception’ of a ‘starter’.  I will be doing updates on the non-AQs as we get more data.  if your team is missing data send us the numbers and it will be completed.  – Dave

The number that really jumps out at me is that 54 of 67 starting QBs are returning in 2012.  This is the largest number in a decade and will certainly skew the stats in terms of returning QB effect on wins and loses.

The Big 12, after we took out the final NFL early entry tally, is the leader in returning starters for 2012.  The PAC12 is the only conference well below the national averages in every category.

In reviewing the trends of returning starters, it is shows it greatest effect the further down the CFBMatrix adjusted recruiting rank a team falls.  In a nutshell, the less talent you have, the more you depend on senior leadership and experience to overcome talent shortcomings.  The loss of starters will hurt a Iowa much more than a LSU or Alabama.

If you love stats, then click on the best CFB team recruiting rank page available.  It is a composite of all available information to reduce team, region and player bias as well as the month by month ranking trends and rank versus the 4 Year CFBMatrix adjusted recruiting ranking.


Article Link: Team Recruiting & Developing NFL Draft Picks

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Boston College Clemson Duke Florida State Georgia Tech Maryland Miami (Fl) North Carolina North Carolina State Virginia Virginia Tech Wake Forest Illinois Indiana Iowa Michigan Michigan State Minnesota Northwestern Ohio State Penn State Purdue Wisconsin Nebraska  Baylor Iowa State Kansas Kansas State Oklahoma Oklahoma State Texas Texas Tech TCU  Cincinnati Connecticut Louisville Pittsburgh Rutgers Syracuse USF West Virginia  East Carolina Houston Marshal Memphis Rice SMU Southern Miss Tulane Tulsa UAB UCF UTEP Army Navy Notre Dame BYU Akron Ball State Bowling GreenBuffalo Cent Michigan Eastern Michigan Kent St Miami (OH) Northern Illinois Ohio University Temple Toledo Western Michigan Air Force Colorado State New Mexico San Diego State UNLV Utah Wyoming Boise State Arizona Arizona State California Colorado Oregon Oregon State Stanford UCLA USC Washington Washington State Missouri Texas A&M Alabama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi Mississippi State South Carolina Tennessee Vanderbilt  Arkansas State FIU Florida Atlantic Louisiana-Lafayette Middle Tenn North Texas Troy ULM WKU  Fresno State Hawaii Idaho Louisiana Tech Nevada New Mexico State San Jose State Utah State



3 Responses to 2012 College Football Returning Starters

  1. Pingback: Returning starters in 2012

  2. Pingback: my team by team W/L previews - Page 2

  3. ronace says:

    Excellent Post. Thank you.


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