Big Ten

College Football Analysis: Returning Big Ten Offensive Firepower

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Previously we took a look at the returning offensive firepower in the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and the SEC. Now it's time to look at the Big Ten and find out who has the most ammunition coming back from last year.

Passing
TPY
RPY
% Yardage Returning

Northwestern
3057
3057
100.00%

Penn State
2986
2986
100.00%

Purdue
1809
1809
100.00%

Michigan State
3073
3023
98.37%

Nebraska
2108
2006
95.16%

Illinois
1963
1829
93.17%

Michigan
3252
2655
81.64%

Ohio State
2971
1905
64.12%

Wisconsin
2593
134
5.17%

Indiana
3446
151
4.38%

Iowa
3049
45
1.48%

Minnesota
2713
34
1.25%



*TPY= 2010 total passing yards

*RPY= Passing Yards from 2010 for players returning in 2011

Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin will all be breaking in new QBs this year and Ohio State will have a new one for their first five games. It's interesting that the new head coaches at Minnesota and Indiana will be able to make an immediate stamp on their program with who they pick to run the show. There are six teams up top with the majority of their passing yardage returning from last year but they are very different. Who would you rather have at QB- Dan Persa or whoever Purdue decides to throw out there? Would you rather go to battle with veteran Kirk Cousins or whoever wins Nebraska's QB derby?

Rushing
TRY
RRY
% Yardage Returning

Michigan State
1978
1978
100.00%

Michigan
3101
3050
98.36%

Northwestern
2027
1873
92.40%

Minnesota
1623
1414
87.12%

Wisconsin
3194
2153
67.41%

Ohio State
2861
1776
62.08%

Nebraska
3466
2123
61.25%

Indiana
1204
675
56.06%

Purdue
1930
1078
55.85%

Illinois
3199
1457
45.55%

Penn State
1853
829
44.74%

Iowa
1929
839
43.49%

*TRY= 2010 Total Rushing Yards

*RRY= Rushing Yards from 2010 for players returning in 2011

The conference returns about two-thirds of it's rushing production from last year. The team who has the most rushing yards returning (Michigan with 3,050) is going to be running a different style of offense, but with the same QB, so it will be real interesting to see how the numbers change for that team. You have to like what Michigan State and Wisconsin bring back this year in terms of running the football. Iowa is in the bottom 2 of the conference for both passing yards returning and rushing yards returning. That will be a storyline worth watching.

Receiving
TotRec
RetRec
% Receptions Returning

Michigan
243
238
97.94%

Minnesota
209
193
92.34%

Northwestern
263
216
82.13%

Michigan State
244
169
69.26%

Penn State
236
155
65.68%

Illinois
165
100
60.61%

Indiana
311
176
56.59%

Nebraska
163
90
55.21%

Wisconsin
202
107
52.97%

Ohio State
228
111
48.68%

Iowa
226
105
46.46%

Purdue
197
76
38.58%

*TotRec= Total 2010 Receptions

*RetRec= Receptions from 2010 for players returning in 2011

Only the SEC returns less receiving prodcution than the Big Ten (although the Pac-12 is close). It's interesting to see teams that return no QB production but a ton of receptions (Minnesota). And vice versa teams that return very little in the way of receptions but all of their passing yardage from last year (Purdue). If Dan Persa is healthy and he has 82% of his receiving production back from last year, Northwestern will be a very dangerous team this year.

RETURNING OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER RANKING:

Taking into account the three metrics above (passing yards returning, rushing yards returning and receptions returning) as well as the overall percentage of the metric the team returned  I have compiled a "firepower" ranking which tells us which teams have the most offensive statistics returning from last year. What does this mean? I think it means different things for different teams but for consistency sake it means a lot for teams that have guys coming back. This is an interesting tool to use in conjunction with who teams having coming to challenge for playing time. For this exercise I took Ohio State's "Tattoo Five" and reduced their returning numbers by 5 games each so that definitely factored into their ranking.

The Big Ten really broke down into four clusters in terms of returning offensive production. The top cluster is Michigan, Northwestern and Michigan State. All of these teams are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference in terms of returning offensive statistics. Then you have four teams clumped together in Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. All are traditionally strong teams so them being in the "second tier" shouldn't effect them much as they usually re-load more often then they have to re-build. Then you have the third tier that includes Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. These teams could be in trouble because they are tradionally among the middle to lower rung of the Big Ten totem pole. Two of these teams have new coaches and one has one on he hot seat so that makes these three teams very interesting to watch this year. The last tier is Purdue and Iowa. Iowa might be the most interesting team in the conference to watch this year (outside of Ohio State) because of all of the production that they lost on offense.

1. Michigan

2. Northwestern

3. Michigan State

4. Nebraska

5. Ohio State

6. Penn State

7. Wisconsin

8. Minnesota

9. Illinois

10. Indiana

11. Purdue

12. Iowa