With Bill Connelly recently releasing his returning production rankings (link below), I wanted to take an admittedly more simplistic look at returning production on our schedule and in the Big Ten. I've started with the offenses and might do a defensive version if this is well-received.
I think the best barometer for what a team returns on offense is the raw percentage of yards produced from the previous season. For the purposes of this exercise, I have factored in Shea Patterson's 2017 statistics as if he were to be declared eligible in the fall, because by most accounts he will be. Numbers for every team in the conference and on our schedule in the chart below, sorted by Total Percent Returning.
|Team||2018 Returning Pass Yds/2017 Pass Yds||2018 Returning Rush Yds/2017 Rush Yds||2018 Reurning Rec Yds/2017 Rec Yds||2018 Return Off. Production/2017 Off. Production||Total Percent Off. Production Returning|
- Obviously this shows how important it is that Shea be declared eligible. Without him, we return only 672 passing yards, which drops us to 67% returning overall (there's a slight chance that would cause Wilton to come back, which would put us at 76%). Some may point out that Shea accumulated his passing yards in a different system with different teammates, so it might not be accurate to simply transfer 100% of his production to our team for this exercise, and that is a fair critique. That being said, I think the larger point with including Shea's numbers is that Michigan is bringing in a guy who has started 10 games in arguably the best conference in the country - that is a huge talent and experience boost to an offense that is now plenty experienced outside of the QB position.
- Wisconsin brings back nearly everyone from the 41st ranked S&P offense. The only major loss is obviously Fumagalli. Fumagalli was Hornibrook's go to, so we will see if that affects their passing game. They do get Quintez Cephus back from injury, however.
- Purdue loses their top two receivers, but brings back everyone else. Jeff Brohm should see more improvement this year and Purdue probably gets up to 8-4 or 9-3. A couple big boys in the conference need to make sure not to overlook them this year...or do overlook them and get upset, that's fine with me.
- Michigan State returns a lot as well, but they are dangerously thin at RB. Michigan also returns a higher percentage of receiving yards than MSU, which Connelly believes is most indicative of offensive improvement.
- Ohio State's numbers are deceiving. They lost JT Barrett who had a great statistical year, which puts a huge dent in their returning passing yards and a significant dent in returning rush yards. However, in limited action, Haskins actually put up better numbers than JT, and, to make that even scarier, nearly 100% of OSU's receiving yards return. They lost far more on defense than they did on offense, but OSU's offense is going to be a problem this year as long Haskins transitions smoothly to full-time starter.
- The poor get poorer. Minnesota, Nebraska, and Rutgers are the only teams on this list that return fewer than 50% of offensive production. PJ Fleck has no Quarterback returning that has thrown a pass, and Scott Frost barely has one at Nebraska. Meanwhile, I had no idea that last year's pretty bad Rutgers was actually very experienced. Rutgers is hoping that losing bad seniors is actually addition by subtraction (except they lost an impressive RB in Gus Edwards and the electric Janarion Grant, so probably not).
- Finally, Notre Dame returns both QBs (one was okay, one was pretty subpar as a passer) who played last year, but returns less than half of both rushing and receiving yards, and are even thinner than MSU is at RB. Plus, this chart has not taken into account Offensive Line losses, which Notre Dame has suffered in losing two probable first rounders in LG Nelson and LT McGlinchey. I think they are going to struggle mightily to move the ball against us in Week 1. Penn State is in a similar situation with their QB (who is actually good) returning, but the vast majority of rushing and receiving yards departing, and they should see an offensive set back year as well.
Bill Connelly's Article: https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2018/1/31/16950222/2018-ncaa-…