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Starts Lost To Injury

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 7 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 56 out of 67 occasions for an 83.5% 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 9 teams had 35 or more starts lost to injury in ‘09 and 8 of the 9 improved or had the same record (88%!). Here are the teams that suffered 32 or more starts lost to injury last year:

Most Amount of Starts Lost to Injury in 2010

Rank
Team
Starts Lost
1
North Carolina
89
2
San Jose St
78
3
UCLA
59
4
Louisiana
48
5
Navy
45
6
BYU
43
6
Utah St
43
8
UTEP
39
9
SMU
38
10
North Texas
37
11
Fresno St
36
12
Rice
35
12
Ohio
35
14
Virginia
34
14
South Carolina
34

As you can see North Carolina thanks to the NCAA suspensions led the country with 89 starts lost and it was one of the main reasons the Tar Heels did not meet my lofty expectations. San Jose St struggled big time with injuries last year and will benefit from better luck this year in MacIntyre’s 2nd season. UCLA also figures to be much improved after last years 59 starts lost to injury. Look for 13 or 14 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 7 years only 17 of the 56 teams (30.3%) that had this good fortune managed to improve their record the next year. Last year there were NINE teams on this list and ALL NINE had a weaker record with SIX of them bowl teams from 2009 that finished with a losing record in 2010!!! There were a lot of teams (16) that had this good fortune last year.

Least Amount of Starts Lost to Injury in 2010

Rank Team Starts Lost
1 Baylor 1
2 Oklahoma St 2
3 Texas Tech 3
4 Oklahoma 4
4 Texas A&M 4
4 Temple 4
7 Akron 5
7 Arizona 5
7 Arkansas St 5
10 Rutgers 6
10 Oregon 6

 

Baylor had the fewest starts lost to injury with only 1 all year and it was one of the main reasons the Bears went to their first bowl game since 1994.Expectations were low coming into 2010 for Oklahoma St as they had the least experienced team in the country but they only suffered two starts lost all year and surprised many by winning a school record 11 games. Oklahoma was #3 in most starts lost in 2009 with 42 but last year had much better luck with only 4 starts lost and went from 8 to 12 wins.

However the above teams will probably not be as fortunate this year and if the past trends hold up only 3 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.

Starts Lost to Injury 2010

Starts
Offensive
Defense
Total
Starts
Lost
Starts
Starts
Starts
Lost
Rank
Team
Lost
Lost
Lost
Percent
1
North Carolina
29
60
89
31.12%
2
San Jose St
30
48
78
27.27%
3
UCLA
39
20
59
22.35%
4
Louisiana
25
23
48
18.18%
5
Navy
35
10
45
15.73%
6
BYU
20
23
43
15.03%
6
Utah St
30
13
43
16.29%
8
UTEP
13
26
39
13.64%
9
SMU
30
8
38
12.34%
10
North Texas
21
16
37
14.02%
11
Fresno St
25
11
36
12.59%
12
Rice
8
27
35
13.26%
12
Ohio
17
18
35
12.24%
14
Virginia
17
17
34
12.88%
14
South Carolina
15
19
34
11.04%
14
Tennessee
9
25
34
11.89%
17
Purdue
30
2
32
12.12%
18
Missouri
14
17
31
10.84%
18
New Mexico St
31
0
31
11.74%
20
Notre Dame
22
8
30
10.49%
21
UAB
8
21
29
10.98%
22
Wisconsin
14
14
28
9.79%
22
Ball St
22
6
28
10.61%
24
New Mexico
16
11
27
10.23%
25
Boston College
15
11
26
9.09%
25
Nebraska
18
8
26
8.44%
25
Tulsa
8
18
26
9.09%
25
Kent St
15
11
26
9.85%
29
S Mississippi
11
14
25
8.74%
29
Air Force
14
11
25
8.74%
29
Idaho
9
16
25
8.74%
29
Nevada
18
7
25
8.12%
33
Indiana
17
7
24
9.09%
34
Bowling Green
15
8
23
8.71%
34
Troy
13
10
23
8.04%
36
Michigan
3
19
22
7.69%
36
Penn St
10
12
22
7.69%
36
Marshall
8
14
22
8.33%
36
Miami, Oh
16
6
22
7.69%
36
Colorado St
2
20
22
8.33%
41
Houston
15
6
21
7.95%
41
Army
5
16
21
8.68%
41
TCU
8
13
21
7.34%
41
Oregon St
16
5
21
7.95%
41
W Kentucky
12
9
21
7.95%
46
Virginia Tech
4
16
20
6.99%
46
Minnesota
3
17
20
7.58%
46
East Carolina
15
5
20
6.99%
46
Cent Michigan
13
7
20
7.58%
46
Washington St
7
13
20
7.58%
46
Middle Tenn
14
6
20
7.58%
52
Arkansas
6
13
19
6.64%
52
Vanderbilt
7
12
19
7.20%
54
Pittsburgh
1
17
18
6.29%
54
Iowa
7
11
18
6.29%
54
UCF
14
4
18
5.84%
57
Colorado
5
12
17
6.44%
57
Kansas
14
3
17
6.44%
57
Louisville
8
9
17
5.94%
57
Auburn
4
13
17
5.52%
57
Louisiana Tech
9
8
17
6.44%
62
Florida St
11
5
16
5.59%
62
E Michigan
5
11
16
6.06%
62
San Diego St
5
11
16
5.59%
62
UNLV
11
5
16
6.06%
62
LSU
4
12
16
5.59%
62
Mississippi
3
13
16
6.06%
68
Duke
13
2
15
5.68%
68
Memphis
8
7
15
5.68%
68
Buffalo
11
4
15
5.68%
68
Boise St
9
6
15
5.24%
72
South Florida
6
8
14
4.90%
72
Utah
7
7
14
4.90%
72
Mississippi St
9
5
14
4.90%
75
Georgia Tech
12
1
13
4.55%
75
Miami, Fl
4
9
13
4.55%
75
Arizona St
2
11
13
4.92%
75
Alabama
7
6
13
4.55%
75
Hawaii
6
7
13
4.22%
80
W Michigan
5
7
12
4.55%
80
Florida
6
6
12
4.20%
80
Georgia
11
1
12
4.20%
80
UL Monroe
8
4
12
4.55%
84
Clemson
8
3
11
3.85%
84
Wake Forest
5
6
11
4.17%
84
West Virginia
6
5
11
3.85%
84
Tulane
5
6
11
4.17%
84
Stanford
6
5
11
3.85%
89
Maryland
10
0
10
3.50%
89
Kansas St
8
2
10
3.50%
89
Cincinnati
8
2
10
3.79%
89
Illinois
3
7
10
3.50%
89
Wyoming
4
6
10
3.79%
89
USC
2
8
10
3.50%
89
Washington
3
7
10
3.50%
89
Kentucky
7
3
10
3.50%
97
Connecticut
5
4
9
3.15%
97
California
6
3
9
3.41%
97
Florida Intl
9
0
9
3.41%
100
Texas
5
3
8
3.03%
100
Syracuse
4
4
8
2.80%
100
N Illinois
1
7
8
2.60%
103
NC State
5
2
7
2.45%
103
Iowa St
2
5
7
2.65%
103
Michigan St
3
4
7
2.45%
103
Northwestern
5
2
7
2.45%
103
Ohio St
2
5
7
2.45%
103
Toledo
3
4
7
2.65%
103
Florida Atlantic
5
2
7
2.65%
110
Rutgers
3
3
6
2.27%
110
Oregon
3
3
6
2.10%
112
Akron
3
2
5
1.89%
112
Arizona
3
2
5
1.75%
112
Arkansas St
2
3
5
1.89%
115
Oklahoma
0
4
4
1.30%
115
Texas A&M
4
0
4
1.40%
115
Temple
1
3
4
1.52%
118
Texas Tech
2
1
3
1.05%
119
Oklahoma St
1
1
2
0.70%
120
Baylor
0
1
1
0.35%

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 2011 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!

Only 27 Days Until the First College Football Game!!!

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  • bosko

    louisiana?
    which one?
    thanks

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

    Louisiana would be the Rajun Cajuns.

  • Tim Sullivan

    WR Martavious Odoms (6) for Michigan?

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to see this by team by year to see how it impacted a team over time.