Last summer, we pointed out that no Big 12 team was bringing back more of its offensive production than Oklahoma. Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield turned all those proven weapons into a College Football Playoff bid.
This year, the Big 12 team that lost the least amount of its offensive production happens to be ... Texas. Yep, the offense that finished dead last in the league in passing (only 146 yards per game!) and third-worst in scoring.
First-year offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert has a lot of work to do, that much is obvious, but he is working with a team that brings back two experienced quarterbacks and more than 80 percent of its rushing attack. Only two receivers graduated. The cupboard isn’t completely empty.
But how do the rest of the teams in the conference stack up? Here are the rest of the results from our breakdown of returning offensive production in the Big 12. Which teams get their playmakers back and which teams must discover new ones? Check out the data, sorted by percentages, of how much passing, rushing and receiving production (in yardage) each team brings back from 2015.
If you missed our breakdown on returning experience in the Big 12, check it out. We will also address defensive production this week. A few takeaways from the offensive side of the ball:
The stability at the quarterback position stands out. Four teams return 100 percent of their passing production from a year ago. Texas Tech and Oklahoma are close to 100 percent, too, even after losing their No. 2 passers to grad transfers. With the exception of Trevone Boykin, every Big 12 quarterback that graduated or transferred this offseason was a backup. Speaking of the Horned Frogs ...
TCU ranks last in the Big 12 in all three categories. This is the only team in the conference that must replace its starting quarterback. The Frogs also lost 73 percent of their run game production (goodbye, Boykin and Aaron Green) and 48 percent of their receiving production (farewell, Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee). The staff has faith in their scheme and in the guys who must step into major roles, like running back Kyle Hicks for example. They have a lot of talent. They just don’t have a ton of experience.
Baylor’s running backs combined for an FBS-best 3,455 rushing yards, scored 30 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2015. And every one of them will be back this season. The Bears return a Big 12-best 97 percent of their total rushing yardage. Oklahoma isn’t far behind, of course, with Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon coming back. But another year of experience for those prolific Baylor backs should be a serious advantage in this conference title race.
You will notice no Big 12 offense has a major advantage when it comes receiving production. West Virginia and Oklahoma State are the only ones bringing back more than 70 percent. James Washington should be one of the league’s best this season, and don’t sleep on that receiving corps out in Morgantown. For most Big 12 offenses, though, a simple question like, "Who’s going to be your No. 2 receiver?" isn’t too easy to answer at this point. Just as Washington did in 2015, new stars will emerge.