For this article, I'll focus on college football teams who have a combination of a high percentage of returning lettermen, along with a high percentage of senior experience. Follow along and see how you can apply this system to your picks.
Earlier this week, I authored an article on Returning Starters for 2015 College Football. This is a companion piece which may have even more meaning. For this article, along with the one to follow on the Least Veteran Teams of 2015 CFB, is a bit of a Hidden Gem. This is the type of thinking that is less used by both the public, and to some extent the linemaker, when making year-to-year adjustments in the power ratings of college football teams. The focus of this article is on teams, who have a combination of a high percentage of returning letterman, along with a high percentage of senior experience.
Flash back to your senior year in high school … think about your high school football team (or maybe it was your team’s greatest rival). This was the team from whom little was expected. They had struggled the previous two seasons. It appeared much would be the same in your senior season. Yet, as the season was winding down, your team was on the verge of an overachieving season with a solid chance to make the playoffs. There were even rumblings they could advance to the Title game as an underdog to a perennial champion. As you leafed through the school newspaper, you saw an article about the big Friday night game. One of your fellow classmates who wrote for the school newspaper authored the article in which he noted that the team’s rise to glory was a function of their senior leadership and the comradery that had been built, resulting in great team chemistry. As you reflected back on your high school career, it flashed through your mind that these guys had been playing together since they were in middle school. Maybe, it is no surprise they are going out with a bang in your senior season! Though you rarely attended a football game, you had the idea that you and your friends would definitely be in the stands Friday night routing on your classmates to victory.
This story is played out season after season in college sports. A team from whom little was expected rises to an overachieving season because their continuity has resulted in great chemistry through the leadership of experienced players. The question becomes: how can we isolate the group of teams for this 2015 CFB season that have a chance to become this year’s surprise teams? An examination of the number of senior starters, along with the percentage of returning lettermen, may provide us clues to that answer. Forthwith is a list of (18) 2015 CFB teams, who meet the following criteria.
· These teams have 11 or more (50%) projected senior starters
· These teams have 75% or more returning lettermen
These teams include, in alphabetical order:
Some of these teams will correspond with your list of Returning Starters. Others will seem rather obvious that they are headed for an improved season. But, don’t be surprised if ANY of these teams are mentioned as teams who are playing with great senior leadership and chemistry, when you tune-in to a mid-season broadcast of their games.