Twenty-seven BCS teams must replace three or more offensive line starters in 2012, including Oklahoma State, which lost four of five starters from last year’s 12-1 team.
But the Cowboys—led by Joe Wickline, widely considered to be the best offensive line coach in the country—are expected to reload and should again have a strong unit.
The same might not be true for a few other projected top 25 teams, including Clemson and Virginia Tech, who must replace three and four starters, respectively.
Athlon Sports recently broke down the number of returning offensive line starters for every team in the country and outlined which teams’ units should be a considered a strength or a weakness.
Only three BCS teams—Arizona, Florida and Tennessee—will return their offensive lines entirely intact from a year ago. Not surprisingly, all three teams are expected to improve upon their 2011 win total.
We haven’t done the analysis to see if there’s a correlation between returning offensive line starters and on-field success, but it’s something we’ll try to look at before the season kicks off in late August.
Unfortunately, the number of other variables that must be taken into account might muddy the results, making it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.
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Note: Click here to view Athlon’s returning starters chart.