PAC12 – 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

PAC12 Returning Starters Stats over the last 4 years

QBs and Kickers

  • 19 of 33 teams with their starting QB back had same number or more Ws the next season (58%) and the 33 teams were -3 total wins less than previous season win total.
  • PAC12 teams that lost their starting QB (12 in last 4 years) were -1 game below total from team wins the previous year AND 8 of 12 posted the same or better record the next season (67%)
  • Totally contrary to National returning starter metrics, returning kickers in the PAC12 show nothing at all.  8 teams in the last 4 years have returned neither starting kicker and all 8 had as good or better win total the next season!  6 of 8 had more total wins.
  • Of the 37 teams that had 1 or both kickers back only 18 of 37 (52%) had a more wins the next season and the total wins of all 37 were -18 games below the previous season win total.
  • Conclusion: ????  Totally unexpected results after seeing the National numbers and the SEC.  Teams losing their starting QB having better results and the same for teams losing both kickers.  Flat out strange stuff.  It is what it is.  Ducks and Trees don’t get too low and Trojans and Huskies don’t get too high. 


  • PAC12 teams returning 8 or more starters on offense were just +5 games better than the win total in the previous year.  10 of 17 posted the same or better win totals the next season.
  • Teams returning 7 or fewer on offense were -9 total games versus the previous season total BUT 17 of 28 teams posted as many or more wins the next season
  • Conclusion:  Returning starters on offense in the PAC12 means nothing.  Even the teams with 8 or 9 guys back on offense posted a win total that was EXACTLY THE SAME as the win total from the previous season.


  • 11 of 15 teams returning 8 or more on defense won as many or more games the next season
  • 17 of 25 if they returned 7 or more
  • Return 6 or less on D and just 9 of 20 won as many or more games the next season (45%)
  • Conclusion: Only teams with 8 or more returning starters on defense have a real impact.  The is really just a 50/50 coin toss.

Total Returning Starters

  • 14 of 18 teams in the last 4 years that returned 16+ starters in the PAC12, won as many or more games the next season (78%)
  • 28 teams returned 15 or fewer starters and 18 of them had fewer wins the next season (64%)
  • BUT…of the 8 teams that returned 12 or fewer only 3 had worse records the next season.
  • Conclusion: 17+ total returning starters is a line in the sand in the PAC12, but having less than 12 or 13 starters back does not show a negative line. 

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.


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