Big Ten – Returning Starters in the Matrix – 2012

Quick Links to other 2012 Returning Starter Articles
2012 Returning Starters chart – All AQ and non-AQ Teams
National Overview of Returning Starter Stats and Importance

SEC     PAC12     BIG TEN     BIG 12     ACC     Big East

Big Ten Returning Starters Stats over the last 4 years

QBs and Kickers

  • No QB returning and 10 of 19 teams had fewer wins the following season (52%)
  • With QB back in the huddle 17 of 29 had more Ws (58%)
  • Teams with both kickers back.  16 of 23 had as good or better win totals the next season (+19 games)
  • Teams with 1 kicker 7 of 19 had as good or better seasons (-16 total games)
  • Teams with both starting kickers gone 3 of 7 as good or better (-3 games)
  • So…returning QB and both kickers back 11 of 13 had more Wins the next year and were +22 total games above the total of the 13 teams the year before. 2012 = Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State and all but 1 of the 13 had at least 7 starters back on offense (teams in Bold)


  • Teams in the B1G returning 8 or more starters the last 4 years are +13 total wins ahead of the previous season but only 61%, 11 of 18, won as many or more games the next year
  • Teams bringing back 7 or fewer were -13 games under the previous season total wins and exactly 15 of the 30 had worse records than the previous year.
  • Conclusion.  Anything less than 8+ starters on offense back is a complete coin flip.  No value.  Adding the QB into the offensive numbers offers no value either.  The only offensive returning starter stat was 8+ returning and both kickers.  9 of those 12 teams (75%) won more games the next season.


  • Only decent number on defense is 7+ returning starters. 15 or 25 in the last 4 years won as many or more games than the previous season (60%).  Breaking it down to 8+ or 9+ doesn’t make a difference
  • Return 6 or less on defense and 12 of 23 (52%) had a worse record the following season and were -13 games from the previous season win total
  • Conclusion:  Pretty worthless information.  60% or 52%??  Returning starters on defense is a coin flip for next season win total trends/odds.

Total Returning Starters

  • B1G line in the sand for odds of a better season next year is returning 15 or more total starters
  • Of the 24 teams to return 15 or more starters in the last 4 years, 17 of them (71%) had as many or more wins the next season.  Teams with 15-17 returning starters were 12 of 19 (61) of teams with as good or better win totals and teams returning 18 or more were 5 for 5 on having as good or better win totals the next year. 
  • There have been 23 Big Ten teams return14 or fewer starters to the next football season.  14 of 23 (60%) had fewer wins the next season.  7 of them returned 10-12 starters and none from that group had more wins the next season and only 2 matched the previous season win total.  Of the 16 that returned 13 or 14 starters only 7 had more wins the next season.  All 7 returned both kickers :-).
  • Conclusion: Big Ten teams returning 12 or fewer starters are way behind the eight ball for a better season in 2012.  12 or fewer returning starters Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin.  Teams returning over 18 are looking good! B1G returning 18+ in 2012 Indiana, Ohio State, Nebraska

Team Breakdowns

FARR definition:  To understand the simplicity of the CFBMatrix, you need to understand the FARR (field adjusted recruiting ranking).  Over the last 8 years, I have created a adjusted recruiting ranking and home/away field adjustment for every AQ school (working non-AQs now).  This one tool correctly projected 81% of all SEC game outcomes in 2011 back in May of 2011.  The recruiting ranking aspect is very different in that it factors out lost players and is adjusted for the last 4 years of recruited and retained talent.  The entire site is based in this information with the goal of being the most easily understood and most accurate form of public pre-season information.  And for those that want the next step, it is very good for win totals, straight up and ATS oddsmaking.

Michigan: Bottom line for the Wolverines for returning starter metrics is they return the starting QB, punter and kicker.  The 13 total starters is low, but they have a high FARR ranking.  I have already shown that elite recruiters reload and that returning starter totals have little to do with elite recruiter win totals.  They have a 39% chance of another 10+ win season and it is likely higher due to the huge FARR gap between Michigan and the most of the Big Ten.  *Note: Thanks for being the 1st Wolverine forum to link the B1G page





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