Restless college football guru Phil Steele has a ranking of teams broken down by how many returning starters they have. Does this experience always equal success the following year? No. But remember that Connecticut and West Virginia had the most returning starters in 2010, and they finished as the top two teams in the league.
Here is how the Big East shakes out in returning experience:
T-1. Cincinnati: 17 starters back (5 offense, 11 defense, 1 specialist)
T-1. Connecticut: 17 starters (6 offense, 9 defense, 2 specialists)
Top returners: DL Kendall Reyes, DL Jesse Joseph, LB Sio Moore
T-3. Pittsburgh: 16 starters (8 offense, 8 defense, 0 specialists)
T-3. Rutgers: 16 starters (10 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist)
T-5. Syracuse: 13 starters (5 offense, 6 defense, 2 specialists)
T-5. West Virginia: 13 starters (8 offense, 4 defense, 1 specialist)
7. South Florida: 12 starters (4 offense, 6 defense, 2 specialists)
Top returners: QB B.J. Daniels, LB Sam Barrington
8. Louisville: 11 starters (3 offense, 6 defense, 2 specialist)
Top returners: RB Jeremy Wright, SS Hakeem Smith
According to Steele, only four teams return fewer starters than Louisville, and only seven teams have fewer returners than USF. Does this list make you reconsider your projections for the 2011 season?