A good list of each team's returning starters as of January 20th. I'm sure that things have changed a bit since then (transfers, kids getting kicked out, etc.) but it does provide some interesting insight.
First, a few teams that are not on our schedule:
- Boise St returns only 6 starters, 123rd out of 123 teams in the FBS.
- Washington St returns 15 starters, 3rd most in the Pac-12, which might really help Mike Leach land on his feet
- BYU returns 17 starters... combine that with a schedule lacking Top 15 teams, and they might make a BCS run
- Tennessee returns 20 (!!) starters, enough to make a run for a division title?
Now, for teams on our non-con schedule:
- Arkansas St only returns 10 starters... even Malzahn will struggle to work with that little seniority
- Southern Miss returns 12, which is only good enough for 96th most in the country. I'm starting to think these first few games will be cupcakes...
- But then UCLA... they return 16 starters (same as Nebraska), and they have a fun coach at the helm. That game will be interesting.
And finally, the conference slate:
- Ohio St, 18
- Michigan, 16
- Michigan St, 14
- Minnesota, 13
- Iowa, 12
- Northwestern, 12
- Penn St, 12
On that list, only Ohio St (18) returns more starters than Nebraska (16).
If returning starters was the only meaningful metric (and it is a very important metric), we would lose to Ohio St, win one and lose one from the Michigan and UCLA games, and we would win the rest. 10-2 Huskers?
I'd sure like to bet on returning leadership... here's to hoping for 10-2 + a chance at the B1G championship game.