Phil Steele always has some interesting statistical compilations in his annual preview magazine. These are the things I enjoy most about his publication compared to any of the other publications.

As to how much impact they have related to onfield performance, that is debatable. Yet being that we are in the midst of the silly season, anything football related is like manna from heaven.

In this item, Steele ranks each of the 124 FBS teams via their percentage of offensive yards returning. If you lost your quarterback, four top receivers and a key running back, chances are you will not fare well in these rankings.

That’s the exact scenario for the Big Ten’s lowest rated team in this Steele composite, the Michigan State Spartans.

Here is how Steele’s rankings flesh out related to Big Ten teams. The first number represents their national ranking out of 124 teams.

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10. Nebraska (91.98%)
25. Purdue
38. Michigan
43. Penn State
48. Indiana

56. Ohio State
64. Minnesota
73. Illinois
80. Iowa (59.94%)
92. Wisconsin
103. Northwestern
123. Michigan State (20.96%)

29. Iowa State

The teams listed in bold are on Iowa’s schedule this year. As you can see, the Hawkeyes will be facing several offenses which return a lot of firepower from last year, which isn’t a good thing considering the retooling Iowa will be dealing with on defense this year.

Also from Steele:

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Returning OL Starts: Iowa is 92nd, Nebraska 94th, Ohio State 99, Minnesota 101, PSU 121
Returning Lettermen/Lost %: Iowa is 101st

It’s a very good thing the games are played on the field and not in spreadsheets, because the spreadsheets are not big fans of Iowa’s upcoming season.