Home > Offseason Notes > Starts Lost To Injury

Starts Lost To Injury

 

As you can tell by going through the magazine there is very little advertising and there are several pages that are left out due to space constraints. One article I wanted to expand on was starters lost during the year. (see Football 365 Days A Year Pg 17, 314)

Remember when Oklahoma won the National Title in 2000? Not a single OU starter lost a single start due to injury! My research has shown that teams that benefited from very few injuries, in this case 6 or less, usually have a weaker season the next year.

The bottom line is, teams that have suffered a lot of injuries the previous year will generally have a better year the next season. A lot of backups were forced to play during the injury-riddled year, gaining valuable experience and the team figures to not be so injury-prone the next year.

In a study over the last 6 years, my research shows that if a team had 32 or more starts lost to injury the prior season, they improved or had the same record the next year on 48 out of 58 occasions for an 82.8% success rate. How about teams that are really banged up? Well from 2001-2005 12 teams went through seasons of having 40 or more combined starts lost and ALL 12 had the same or better record the next season. It surprises me that 17 teams met that criteria in 2006-’07 but only 7 had a stronger record the next year and 9 had a weaker record.

In 2008, Utah was at the top of the chart with 51 starts lost to injury and they went from 9-4 to 13-0 and #2 in the country! Last year was another solid year as 11 teams had 40 or more starts lost to injury in ‘08 and 8 of the 11 improved their records (72.7%!). Here are the teams that suffered 32 or more starts lost to injury last year:

Rank Team #
1 Washington St 67
2 Tennessee 44
3 Vanderbilt 42
3 Oklahoma 42
5 Syracuse 41
6 Oklahoma St 40
7 Colorado St 38
8 Arkansas St 37
9 San Jose St 35
10 E Michigan 34
10 Kentucky 34
12 Hawaii 33
13 Boston College 32

As you can see Washington St led the country with 67 starts lost and it was one of the main reasons the Cougars finished 1-11. Oklahoma played for the National Title in 2008 but last year suffered some major injuries. TE Jermaine Gresham was OFY in August and QB Sam Bradford was injured at the end of the 1H in the opener vs BYU. Bradford was able to return for Baylor game but then was KO’d for the year the following week against Texas. Overall the Sooners lost 42 starts to injury, which was tied for 3rd most in the country and was a major factor in the Sooners going just 8-5 last year. With QB Landry Jones and some of the other backups gaining valuable experience last year I think the Sooners will bounce back in a big way this year and naturally not get hit with the injury bug for the 2nd year in a row.

Colorado St was another team coming off a solid season in 08’ (7-6) and actually started 3-0 last year. However the Rams suffered several injuries and dropped their last nine games of the season. They shockingly became the first MWC team to lose eight conference games and they had zero conference wins for the first time since 1981! Look for 10 or 11 of these teams to rebound this year and improve their record.

Now let’s look at the teams that had great fortune with very few injuries. With teams playing a 12 game schedule, I went for the magic number of 6 lost, figuring that is less than one half of one starter lost to injury during the year. Over the past 6 years only 17 of the 47 teams (36.2%) that had this good fortune managed to improve their record the next year (one did have same record LY)! In 2008, Illinois (2 sts lost) went from the Rose Bowl to a losing season and Purdue (4 sts lost) went from 8-5 to 4-8. Last year Tulsa (5 sts lost 2008) went from 11-3 to 5-7.  There were a lot of teams (16) that had this good fortune last year.

Rank Team #
1 Oregon St 2
1 Kansas 2
3 Purdue 3
3 Nebraska 3
3 Army 3
6 Rutgers 4
6 New Mexico St 4
6 Idaho 4
6 East Carolina 4
6 Duke 4
11 UNLV 5
11 Clemson 5
13 Wyoming 6
13 Virginia 6
13 Troy 6
13 Temple 6

Oregon St had the fewest starts lost to injury with only 2 all year (tied with Kansas) and had the Beavers won their final game against rival Oregon (lost 37-33) they would have made their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1965!

Idaho was a team that came out of nowhere last year. After going just 3-21 the previous two years the Vandals went 8-5 last year and had their best season in a decade. One of the key factors to the success of their season was that they only lost four starts to injury.

Idaho was not the only team to have a banner season. Temple suffered only six starts to injury and won a school record nine games in a row last year! Wyoming was supposed to have a rebuilding year under 1st year HC Dave Christensen but ended up going 7-6 and one of the main reasons for their success was that they had only six starts lost to injury.

However the above teams will probably not be as fortunate this year and if the past trends hold up only five or six of them will improve their record this year.

Here is the complete list broken down by total starts lost and also by starts lost on offense and defense which can be indicators of one unit underachieving or overachieving last year.

2009 Starts Lost To Injury

 

Overall   Total Starts Starts Off Starts Def Sts
Sts Lost   Starts Lost Lost % Starts Lost Starts Lost
Rank 2009 Lost % Rank Lost % Lost %
1 Washington St 67 25.38% 120 40 30.30% 27 20.45%
2 Tennessee 44 15.38% 117 27 18.88% 17 11.89%
3 Vanderbilt 42 15.91% 119 22 16.67% 20 15.15%
3 Oklahoma 42 14.69% 116 36 25.17% 6 4.20%
5 Syracuse 41 15.53% 118 23 17.42% 18 13.64%
6 Oklahoma St 40 13.99% 113 21 14.69% 19 13.29%
7 Colorado St 38 14.39% 115 11 8.33% 27 20.45%
8 Arkansas St 37 14.02% 114 23 17.42% 14 10.61%
9 San Jose St 35 13.26% 112 11 8.33% 24 18.18%
10 E Michigan 34 12.88% 111 15 11.36% 19 14.39%
10 Kentucky 34 11.89% 109 14 9.79% 20 13.99%
12 Hawaii 33 11.54% 107 26 18.18% 7 4.90%
13 Boston College 32 12.12% 110 10 7.58% 22 16.67%
14 Buffalo 31 11.74% 108 23 17.42% 8 6.06%
15 Minnesota 29 10.14% 103 20 13.99% 9 6.29%
15 Alabama 29 9.42% 99 3 1.95% 26 16.88%
15 Navy 29 9.42% 99 13 8.44% 16 10.39%
18 Miami, Oh 28 10.61% 104 15 11.36% 13 9.85%
18 Florida Intl 28 10.61% 104 2 1.52% 26 19.70%
20 Ohio 27 8.77% 97 4 2.60% 23 14.94%
21 Florida St 26 9.85% 101 17 12.88% 9 6.82%
21 South Florida 26 9.85% 101 18 13.64% 8 6.06%
23 Arkansas 25 8.74% 95 8 5.59% 17 11.89%
23 Stanford 25 8.74% 95 7 4.90% 18 12.59%
25 Washington 24 9.09% 98 7 5.30% 17 12.88%
25 Houston 24 7.79% 86 10 6.49% 14 9.09%
27 Ball St 23 8.71% 92 22 16.67% 1 0.76%
27 Akron 23 8.71% 92 16 12.12% 7 5.30%
27 W Kentucky 23 8.71% 92 21 15.91% 2 1.52%
30 Arizona St 22 8.33% 91 9 6.82% 13 9.85%
30 Arizona 22 7.69% 83 16 11.19% 6 4.20%
30 South Carolina 22 7.69% 83 9 6.29% 13 9.09%
30 Oregon 22 7.69% 83 8 5.59% 14 9.79%
34 NC State 21 7.95% 87 9 6.82% 12 9.09%
34 UAB 21 7.95% 87 15 11.36% 6 4.55%
34 Tulsa 21 7.95% 87 10 7.58% 11 8.33%
34 Louisiana 21 7.95% 87 12 9.09% 9 6.82%
34 Georgia Tech 21 7.34% 79 9 6.29% 12 8.39%
34 Air Force 21 7.34% 79 7 4.90% 14 9.79%
40 Louisville 20 7.58% 81 14 10.61% 6 4.55%
40 Maryland 20 7.58% 81 10 7.58% 20 7.58%
40 Ohio St 20 6.99% 71 13 9.09% 7 4.90%
43 Illinois 19 7.20% 72 3 2.27% 16 12.12%
43 Michigan 19 7.20% 72 16 12.12% 3 2.27%
43 Connecticut 19 7.20% 72 6 4.55% 13 9.85%
43 Virginia Tech 19 7.20% 72 14 10.61% 5 3.79%
43 North Carolina 19 7.20% 72 19 14.39% 0 0.00%
43 Florida Atlantic 19 7.20% 72 11 8.33% 8 6.06%
43 San Diego St 19 7.20% 72 17 12.88% 2 1.52%
43 Auburn 19 6.64% 67 2 1.40% 17 11.89%
51 SMU 18 6.82% 68 10 7.58% 8 6.06%
51 Kent St 18 6.82% 68 17 12.88% 1 0.76%
51 Baylor 18 6.82% 68 11 8.33% 7 5.30%
51 USC 18 6.29% 60 12 8.39% 6 4.20%
51 BYU 18 6.29% 60 7 4.90% 11 7.69%
56 Colorado 17 6.44% 62 14 10.61% 3 2.27%
56 S Mississippi 17 6.44% 62 10 7.58% 7 5.30%
56 UTEP 17 6.44% 62 5 3.79% 12 9.09%
56 Memphis 17 6.44% 62 9 6.82% 8 6.06%
56 Utah St 17 6.44% 62 12 9.09% 5 3.79%
56 Iowa 17 5.94% 55 16 11.19% 1 0.70%
56 California 17 5.94% 55 11 7.69% 6 4.20%
56 Middle Tenn 17 5.94% 55 17 11.89% 0 0.00%
64 W Michigan 16 6.06% 58 10 7.58% 6 4.55%
64 North Texas 16 6.06% 58 7 5.30% 9 6.82%
64 N Illinois 16 5.59% 52 8 5.59% 8 5.59%
64 Marshall 16 5.59% 52 12 8.39% 4 2.80%
68 New Mexico 15 5.68% 54 3 2.27% 12 9.09%
68 Northwestern 15 5.24% 47 3 2.10% 12 8.39%
70 Rice 14 5.30% 48 6 4.55% 8 6.06%
70 Tulane 14 5.30% 48 2 1.52% 12 9.09%
70 Wake Forest 14 5.30% 48 8 6.06% 6 4.55%
70 Louisiana Tech 14 5.30% 48 10 7.58% 4 3.03%
70 Iowa St 14 4.90% 42 4 2.80% 10 6.99%
70 UCLA 14 4.90% 42 9 6.29% 5 3.50%
70 Georgia 14 4.90% 42 6 4.20% 8 5.59%
70 Utah 14 4.90% 42 5 3.50% 9 6.29%
78 Notre Dame 13 4.92% 46 13 9.85% 0 0.00%
78 Nevada 13 4.55% 39 11 7.69% 2 1.40%
78 LSU 13 4.55% 39 10 6.99% 3 2.10%
81 UCF 12 4.55% 39 7 5.30% 5 3.79%
81 Wisconsin 12 4.20% 36 8 5.59% 4 2.80%
81 Fresno St 12 4.20% 36 6 4.20% 6 4.20%
81 TCU 12 4.20% 36 2 1.40% 10 6.99%
85 Miami, Fl 11 4.17% 35 3 2.27% 8 6.06%
85 Penn St 11 3.85% 33 5 3.50% 6 4.20%
85 Bowling Green 11 3.85% 33 5 3.50% 6 4.20%
85 Florida 11 3.57% 30 0 0.00% 11 7.14%
89 West Virginia 10 3.79% 31 0 0.00% 10 7.58%
89 Kansas St 10 3.79% 31 8 6.06% 2 1.52%
89 Michigan St 10 3.50% 28 7 4.90% 3 2.10%
89 Mississippi 10 3.50% 28 8 5.59% 2 1.40%
89 Cent Michigan 10 3.25% 24 8 5.19% 2 1.30%
94 Indiana 9 3.41% 25 5 3.79% 4 3.03%
94 Toledo 9 3.41% 25 5 3.79% 4 3.03%
94 Cincinnati 9 3.41% 25 5 3.79% 4 3.03%
94 Missouri 9 3.15% 23 2 1.40% 7 4.90%
98 Texas A&M 8 2.80% 21 6 4.20% 2 1.40%
98 Texas Tech 8 2.80% 21 3 2.10% 5 3.50%
98 Texas 8 2.60% 17 6 3.90% 2 1.30%
98 Boise St 8 2.60% 17 6 3.90% 2 1.30%
102 UL Monroe 7 2.65% 19 5 3.79% 2 1.52%
102 Mississippi St 7 2.65% 19 1 0.76% 6 4.55%
102 Pittsburgh 7 2.45% 16 0 0.00% 7 4.90%
105 Virginia 6 2.27% 15 3 2.27% 3 2.27%
105 Temple 6 2.10% 12 2 1.40% 4 2.80%
105 Troy 6 2.10% 12 3 2.10% 3 2.10%
105 Wyoming 6 2.10% 12 2 1.40% 4 2.80%
109 UNLV 5 1.89% 11 3 2.27% 2 1.52%
109 Clemson 5 1.75% 10 3 2.10% 2 1.40%
111 East Carolina 4 1.52% 8 1 0.65% 3 1.95%
111 Duke 4 1.52% 8 0 0.00% 4 3.03%
111 Rutgers 4 1.52% 8 2 1.52% 2 1.52%
111 New Mexico St 4 1.40% 6 3 2.10% 1 0.70%
111 Idaho 4 1.40% 6 3 2.10% 1 0.70%
116 Purdue 3 1.14% 4 1 0.76% 2 1.52%
116 Army 3 1.14% 4 0 0.00% 3 2.27%
116 Nebraska 3 0.97% 3 3 1.95% 0 0.00%
119 Kansas 2 0.76% 2 2 1.52% 0 0.00%
119 Oregon St 2 0.70% 1 0 0.00% 2 1.40%

PhilSteele.com will have a page updated weekly dedicated to starts lost again this year. We will track each team’s starts lost for the 2010 season so you can see which teams are really banged up and those that have remained very healthy. We even include start charts for each of the teams and also update them weekly!

I will be back tomorrow with a look at the Top Game Performances of 2009!!

Only 76 Days until the First College Football Game!!!

Be Sociable, Share!



  • uahal

    Phil, Did you count Rob Gronkowski for Arizona? That was a huge loss for us…

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    Yes we did include Gronkowski's starts lost. Players that are lost before the season even without playing a down are always counted as long as they were projected to be the starter. We count how many starts they had the previous year and add them to the total. There is no doubt he was the biggest loss for Arizona last year. Thanks, Phil

  • Jah05r

    Washington State had over 50% more starts lost than the next-closest team and nearly 3 times as many as the nearest Pac-10 team. No wonder they went 0-9 and 1-11 last season.

  • Personalfitnessguide

    Where did the “Starts Lost to Injury” occur? For example, in a game or during practice? This could be useful information for head coaches with a high number of starts lost.

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    The “starts lost to injury” can occur anytime before the season, during the season and does not depend whether the injury occurs in a game or in practice. The main component is if a returning starter like Oklahoma's TE Jermaine Gresham is hurt during the offseason we would count the number of starts he had the year before and add that to the total. If a player who has started all 9 games on the season and goes out in week 10 for the year we would count the remaining games left on the schedule as starts lost. Thanks, Phil

  • ICEICETHATGUY13

    Were Michael Mauti's SLDTI's included for PSU?

  • ICEICETHATGUY13

    Were Michael Mauti's SLDTI's included for PSU?

  • mephisto1111

    Where do you get past years’ starts lost? For example, 2008 starts lost, 2007? I wanted to look into a theory that teams that play softer schedules tend to have less injuries.

  • http://www.philsteele.com Phil Steele

    Do you have any copies of my past issues of the magazine? If you do they are always located on page 314 in the magazine. Thanks, Phil