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Thursday, January 16, 2014
Pac-12 returning starters

By Ted Miller

With the NFL early-entry deadline passing Wednesday and 25 Pac-12 players jumping into the professional ranks before their eligibility is over, we can now take a look at what each conference team has coming back in 2014.

Yes, measuring returning starters is often an inexact and misleading science. These "unofficial" numbers -- the Pac-12 will publish the "official" returning starter numbers in the 2014 media guide -- are based on late-season depth charts. Further, many teams list more than 11 starters on both or either side of the ball. And, of course, there are guys who played a lot but weren't listed No. 1 on the depth chart or starters were hurt much or all of the season, such as Utah LB Brian Blechen, Arizona WR Austin Hill and practically the entire California defense, who are not noted in these numbers.

A superficial conclusion? Let's just say you should expect some points in 2014. Defenses lose a lot while offenses get a lot back.

There are an average of 7.3 starters per team coming back on offense and just 6.3 per team on defense. Last year, those numbers were 7.1 players coming back on offense and 7.3 on defense.

Last year, the Pac-12 averaged 15.6 starters returning per team, including specialists. According to our measure, that number will fall to 15.1 per team, though that number will boost up because eight teams have both specialists back.

The "*" next to "offense" means the quarterback is returning.

Arizona: 7 offense, 6 defense, punter Arizona State: 7* offense, 3 defense, 2 specialists California: 10* offense, 6 defense, punter Colorado: 7* offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists Oregon: 9* offense, 5 defense, 2 specialists Oregon State: 6* offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists Stanford: 5* offense, 7 defense, 2 specialists UCLA: 9* offense, 7 defense, 2 specialists USC: 7* offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists Utah: 6 offense, 5 defense, 2 specialists Washington: 7 offense, 7 defense, 0 specialists Washington State: 8* offense, 6 defense, 0 specialists