20 Teams Where Lack of Returning Starters Could Affect their Success

Friday, July 31, 2015 5:54 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 31, 2015 5:54 PM UTC

This is the second article of my series where I analyze teams who have a combination of low percentage returning lettermen along with a low percentage of projected senior starters. Join me and find out where to find value this season.

Earlier this week, I authored an Article on Returning Starters for 2015 College Football.  This is PART II of a companion piece which may have even more meaning.  For, this article, along with Part I on the most veteran teams in 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 low percentage of returning letterman, along with a low percentage of projected senior starters.

Flash forward to late October or early November … you are watching a broadcast of one of these teams in action.  The announcers are trying to figure out why one of the teams on the list below is underperforming expectations.  Certainly, much was expected from this team.  It appeared they had a high percentage of returning starters and were coming off a solid season of last year that was an improvement over the previous season.  Then, one of the announcers astutely comments “but, you know, this is still a relatively young team. They made their move last season with a group of freshmen and sophomores.  And, although they do have a year of experience under their belt, they don’t seem to have that type of senior leadership that characterizes winning teams.”  He is exactly right!  Year after year, there are teams from whom much is expected, but who fall flat on their face in the face of those expectations.  A closer look inside the makeup of the team may just reveal that the reason for their lack of success is the missing continuity and chemistry that often comes from experienced senior leadership.

These teams dot the landscape of college football and basketball each season.  A team from whom much was expected fails to rise to the occasion, being considered one of the great underachievers of the current season.  Our challenge is how to isolate the group of teams for this 2015 CFB season that may become this year’s underachievers.  An examination of the number of senior starters, along with the percentage of returning lettermen may provide us clues to that answer.  Here is a list of (20) 2015 CFB teams who meet the following criterion:

·  These teams have 7 or less (less than 33%) projected senior starters

·  These teams have less than 70% returning lettermen


These teams include in alphabetical order:



Boston College



Florida St.


Kent St.


Miami, FLA

Mississippi St.

Old Dominion

Penn St.







Wake Forest

Some of these may correspond to your list of teams with few returning starters.  Others may seem to be obvious that they are headed for a downer this year.  But, when you tune into a mid-season broadcast of any of these teams, do not be surprised if they are mentioned as teams who have underachieved this CFB season.  Maybe some astute broadcaster will even mention the reason for their demise, such as outlined above!

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