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Phil Steele's fuzzy math

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It's only a month away from the release of Phil Steele's college football preview and he's started to release tidbits of information on  his blog, like he does every year.  The first one he's doing is % of yards returning and here's how he calculates the numbers:

Today I want to look at the % of yards returning for the offenses. I took all of the yards each QB threw for as well as all of the individual rushing yards and receiving yards for each team. I then took all of the returning yards from ‘09 for the percentage.

For some reason, NIU's percentage is disturbingly low for the amount of talent that we are returning back on offense for 2010

104 N Illinois MAC 39.46%

Let's try and do the math ourselves: 2,537 rushing + 1,950 passing + 1,950 receiving + 224 punt returns + 1,160 kickoff returns = 7,821 net all-purpose yards.

Now let's take a look at All Purpose Yards Not Returning:

  • RB Me'co Brown, 726 yds (9.3%)
  • WR Marcus Lewis, 299 yds (3.8%)
  • RB Justin Anderson, 151 yds (1.9%)
  • TE Reed Cunningham, 70 yds (0.9%)
  • TE Bryan Beckner, 64 yds (0.8%)
  • KR John Tranchitella, 63 yds (0.8%)
  • WR Preston Williams, 14 yds (0.2%)
  • KR Jason Onyebuagu, 7 yds (0.1%)
  • PR John Kremer, -1 yds (-0.01%)
  • QB Ryan Morris, -22 yds (-0.3%)

The total is 1,371

1,371 divided by 7,821 = 17.53% yds lost.

Or 6,450 (82.47%) of NIU's total yards will be returning in 2010

Could he have not counted on Chandler Harnish returning in the fall because of his injury?  How much does he count for in the scheme of things?

QB Chandler Harnish, 1,670 yds passing + 229 yds rushing = 1,899 all purpose yardage (24.28%)

Even if you don't factor in Harnish, that still puts the Huskies at 58.19% returning yardage.

As you can see, the correct total would put us at 4th in the MAC and 39th in the nation:

Nat’l Rank Team % Total Yds Ret
18 Temple 90.77%
19 Kent St 90.54%
27 Ball St 87.76%
48 Miami Oh 77.75%
54 E Michigan 74.81%
80 Akron 58.15%
98 Toledo 45.48%
101 Ohio University 41.33%
104 W Michigan 39.46%
104 N Illinois 39.46%
114 C Michigan 31.35%
116 Buffalo 27.52%
120 Bowling Green 21.90%


Somehow, over 3,000 yds got lost in the shuffle when he was calculating this out.  I sent an e-mail to Phil about his miscalculations, but he still hasn't gotten back to me.

Now, with everyone returning, how much better will this version of the Huskie offense be than last years?