- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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It might sound like a simplistic way to judge these Big 12 squads on paper, but it is worth taking stock of which teams lost their playmakers and which ones get 'em all back.
Below is the breakdown, in percentages, of how much passing, rushing and receiving production each team brings back from the 2013 season.
Iowa State fared best in this study. The Cyclones bring back 82 percent of their total offensive production and have the only offense in the Big 12 that ranks above the league average in returning production in passing, rushing and receiving.
These aren't perfect numbers, of course, as we're not considering what these players did in 2012 or what transfers might have contributed at other programs. We're not using career stats, just 2013 numbers. So the impact of experienced players such as David Ash, Matt Joeckel, Tyreek Hill, Rushel Shell and any injured players from last fall aren't captured in these percentages.
But these numbers do provide an intriguing snapshot, both of experience and of which teams will need young or unproven players to step up in 2014. A few takeaways:
Only two units bring back 100 percent of their production: Baylor's passing and Texas' rushing. Iowa State and Oklahoma both came very close in the pass game. TCU brings back more than 80 percent of its rushing production, and no Big 12 squad brings 80 percent back among its receiving production.
The conference averages for these categories is about 60 percent. Only one program fell below average in all three categories: Oklahoma State. The Pokes must find a way to replace the production of Clint Chelf, Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore, Jeremy Smith and several other role players.
The units that took the biggest hits aren't necessarily a big surprise. The largest drop in production? Kansas State lost 85 percent of its 2013 rushing yards when John Hubert, Daniel Sams and Robert Rose departed this offseason. Three other groups lost at least 70 percent of last year's production: Kansas' pass game, Texas' pass game and Oklahoma's run game.
The fact that Baylor brings back 79 percent of its total offensive production should be scary for everyone else. In addition to having 100 percent of its passing back, the Bears get 78 percent of their receiving production back and, despite losing Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, return more than 50 percent of their rushing production.
Another way to break down returning offensive production: by the skill players. Consider this chart, which combines the returning rushing-plus-receiving production against each team's 2013 total offense.
By this measurement, Texas and TCU are in the best shape when it comes to their returning backs, receivers and tight ends. Preseason Big 12 favorite Oklahoma, on the other hand, lost its top three running backs and three of its top four receivers and brings back 31 percent of its skill-player production. They'll have to find new players to help Trevor Knight keep the Sooners offense rolling.
And in fairness, Texas and TCU being atop this chart won't mean a thing if they don't find better solutions for their quarterback issues. As we said, these are just small pieces of the grander offseason puzzle.
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