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Returning Starters in the Big 12

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Phil Steele released his list of returning starters and we've got the list for the Big 12 as Texas Tech and Baylor both return 17 players for the 2015 season.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Steele released his list of returning starters for 2015 and because I think so much of each and every one of you, I compiled not just the list for Texas Tech, but the list for all of the returning starters for the Big 12.

Returning Starters in the Big 12
Team (Rank) Total Offense Defense
Baylor (10) 17 8 9
Texas Tech (10) 17 9 8
Oklahoma State (17) 16 8 8
Iowa St (29) 15 6 9
TCU (42) 14 9 5
West Virginia (42) 14 6 8
Oklahoma (58) 13 7 6
Texas (58) 13 8 5
Kansas State (79) 12 6 6
Kansas (126) 8 4 4

If you ever wanted a reason to be hopeful that 2015 will be a bit different than 2014, then this is it.  Returning starters is one metric, usually a pretty good metric to help determine if a college team is going to be improved from one year to the next. Of course, this isn't an absolute.  If you're Alabama or Florida State and 5-stars leave and the 5-stars you signed fill in and you're still a good team, then returning starters may not mean very much.  To most college programs, returning starters is a pretty good way to help determine the future success of a college football team. This isn't rocket science, but the idea that more returning players with more experience means that you have a pretty good chance of at least being improved from one year to the next.  And if you've needed some empirical evidence to discuss around the water cooler, this would make for some good discussion.

The number to the right of each team is the national ranking provided by Steele and as you'll note, Texas Tech and Baylor lead the Big 12 with 17 returning starters each.  Of course, the difference between returning 17 starters and 15 is 19 spots.

From my count, I think that Texas Tech is replacing Reshod Fortenberry, Bradley Marquez, Ryan Bustin, Sam Eguavoen, Jackson Richards, and V.J. Fehoko. Pretty amazing that this is the total number of players that aren't returning.

I've commented this week that we, as Texas Tech fans, are about to see exactly if head coach Kliff Kingsbury can develop players and make them better.  He's got as veteran a group of players, two returning quarterbacks, a terrific offense and a new defensive coordinator.