Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Colleges [Print without images]

Friday, January 25, 2013
The Big Ten's returning starters in 2013

By Brian Bennett

When sizing up prospects for a new season, most people usually point first to one stat: the number of returning starters.

That doesn't always equate to success, but it's a pretty good gauge of experience and talent. Last season, Indiana had the most returning starters in the Big Ten with 19, and improved its win total from one to four. Ohio State was second with 18 returning starters and went 12-0. On the flip side, Purdue was tied for third with the most returning starters (16) and went 6-7, while Northwestern won 10 games despite returning just 12 starters from the previous season.

With all that in mind, football prognosticator extraordinaire Phil Steele has come out with his list of returning starters for every FBS team. Let's take a look at how the Big Ten stacks up:

1. Indiana (19 total returning starters)

Offense: 10 (QB included)
Defense: 9
National rank: T-1st

2. Minnesota (16)

Offense: 10 (QB included)
Defense: 6
National rank: T-17th

T-3. Michigan State (15)

Offense: 8 (QB included)
Defense: 7
National rank: T-24th

T-3. Northwestern (15)

Offense: 8 (QB included)
Defense: 7
National rank: T-24th

T-3. Wisconsin (15)

Offense: 8 (QB included)
Defense: 7
National rank: T-24th

6. Iowa (14)

Offense: 7
Defense: 7
National rank: T-41st

T-7. Nebraska (13)

Offense: 9 (QB included)
Defense: 4
National rank: T-58th

T-7. Ohio State (13)

Offense: 9 (QB included)
Defense: 4
National rank: T-58th

T-7. Penn State (13)

Offense: 8
Defense: 5
National rank: T-58th

T-7. Purdue (13)

Offense: 5
Defense: 8
National rank: T-58th

11. Illinois (12)

Offense: 9 (QB included)
Defense: 3
National rank: T-88th

12. Michigan (12)

Offense: 6 (QB included)
Defense: 6
National rank: T-88th

Some quick takeaways: