Phil Steele rankings: Comparing WSU to Pac-12 in returning experience, position rankings

PHIL STEELE always offers a ton of different metrics, stats and nuggets in his preseason magazine. Among them are returning experience and conference position rankings. How does Washington State fare in Steele’s view?

Rather than just listing the number of returning starters, Steele provides a “returning experience” chart.  It comprises senior starters in the two-deeps followed by the underclassmen, returning letterman percentage, percentage of yards returning, percentage of tackles returning and OL career starts, all thrown into a formula, Steele says. 

Overall, WSU has the second-most returning experience in the Pac-12 behind Colorado, says Steele.  The rest of the Pac-12 is as follows: USC, UW, UCLA, Arizona, OSU, Utah, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, ASU.

WSU ranks No. 1 in the conference and 14th nationally in returning 89.4 percent of its yards from last year (passing, receiving, rushing). The next closest in the Pac-12 is Colorado, at 75.8 percent.

STEELE’s UNIT RANKINGS are more of a mixed bag for Washington State. On one hand, the Cougars' QB, WR and DB groups get a lot of love.

Washington State’s QB position is rated No. 1 in the conference, and No. 7 nationally. 

The Cougs’ wide receivers are No. 3 in the conference, and No. 15 nationally.

The Wazzu defensive backs are rated No. 7 in the conference but also No. 28 nationally.

Steele’s not as high on the other WSU positions compared to the rest of the Pac-12.  The linebackers are No. 8, running backs No. 10, both the offensive line and the defensive line are 11th, and the special teams are also No. 11 in his rankings.

Steele rates WSU’s coaching as No. 5 in the Pac-12.

Phil Steele's College Football Preview this year checks in at a healthy 352 pages. To order, CLICK HERE.

RELATED STORY: Phil Steele tells CF.C defensive key in 2016 is WSU corners


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