Of course these numbers sometimes are a bit fudged. Arizona State, for example, doesn't include Kerry Taylor as a departed starter. He led the Sun Devils in receptions and receiving yards last season. And offseason injuries are not accounted for: Safety Adam Hall and linebacker Jake Fischer are included as returning starters for Arizona, but it's unclear how much they will play this fall after suffering knee injuries this spring.
For Cal, defensive end Ernest Owusu is considered a returning starter because he started nine games, while Trevor Guyton is not after starting just four (five is the threshold for a "returning starter"). But Guyton had 29 tackles with 8.5 coming for a loss and Owusu had 14 with 2.5 coming for a loss. For Colorado, center Mike Iltis is included, but he retired this offseason. Oregon -- fairly -- gives Darrion Weems credit for being a starter, even though that means the Ducks officially had six starting offensive linemen in 2010. Receiver James Rodgers is not listed as a returning starter for Oregon State, nor is UCLA center Kai Maiava or Stanford receiver Chris Owusu. All three were starters in 2009. Receiver is always a difficult position to rate a starter and nonstarter. Utah lists two returning starters at the position (Luke Matthews and DeVonte Christopher) as well as two departed starters (Jereme Brooks and Shaky Smithson).
As it is, the conference welcomes back 180 starters of a possible 288, and the per-team average of 15.0 is slightly above the 14.9 average over the past decade. The offensive numbers are better: An average of 7.2 offensive starters are back compared to 6.8 on defense. Most notable: Nine of 12 starting quarterbacks are back.
Eight punters are back, but just four kickers.
Of the 180 returning starters, 10 were first-team All-Pac-10 in 2010 and 12 were second team, including a pair of Heisman Trophy finalists: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon running back LaMichael James.