Let's take a look at the returning offensive statistics for SEC Offenses to see who will have the best chance to pick up where they left off and who will be re-tooling the most in 2012.
*RPY= Passing Yards from 2011 for players returning in 2012.
*TPY= 2011 total passing yards
Last year 6 of 12 teams returned 100% of their passing yardage. This year 4 of 14 return 100% but the QB position feels deeper in the SEC this year over last year. Aaron Murray (Georgia), Tyler Wilson (Arkansas), Tyler Bray (Tennessee), Jordan Rodgers (Vandy), James Franklin (Missouri), Connor Shaw (South Carolina) and AJ McCarron (Bama) are the names that most will know. Don't let Ole Miss and Kentucky fool you. They return a ton of their QB play from last year but in 2011 their play at that position was awful.
* RRY= Rushing Yards from 2011 for players returning in 2012
* TRY= 2011 Total Rushing Yards
Last season there were only two SEC teams that returned less than 50% of their rushing yardage. One of those turned out to have a fantastic year rushing the football (LSU) and the other couldn't buy a yard (Kentucky). This year 8 of 14 teams return over 50% of their yards and 7 of 14 return over 71%. LSU is in the best shape in terms of combination of talent and yardage. The teams to watch here are Florida and Mississippi State. Florida has really struggled on the ground in the last couple of years and now they have to go after it without Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. For Miss State, everything they do is based off the run and they return less than 30% of their production from last year. Another team to watch is Tennessee. They struggled mightily to run the football (finishing last in the SEC) and this year they lose their leading rusher. Can Tennessee's OL take the next step this year?
*RRY= Receiving yards from 2011 for players returning in 2012
*TRY= Total Receiving Yards from 2011
Six of the top ten leaders in receiving yards return for 2012. Da'Rick Rogers (Tennessee) is the leader followed by Jordan Matthews (Vandy), Tavarres King (UGA), Malcolm Mitchell (UGA) and Emory Blake (Auburn). A couple of teams to watch here are Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. They return a lot of production at this position but can they find a QB who can consistently get the ball to their receivers? Georgia, Tennessee and Vandy look the best off at this position because they return their starting QBs and are all top 6 in terms of receiving yardage returning. Those three teams should be able to quickly pick up where they left off last year with their passing games if their offensive lines cooperate.
RETURNING OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER RANKING:
I took into account not only the percentage of production returning for the three metrics above but I also took into account how much total yardage was returning at each position and how that ranked in the conference. This ranking shows who has the most production returning from last year. Does that mean they will be the best? Not necessarily. You also have to factor in new additions, players returning from injury, complementary positions (ex: if a teams OL play isn't as good as last year then they will have a tough time duplicating the same statistics) and guys that will step up possibly be better than the player that they replace as well as the coaching staffs and how well they will utilize the players based on their abilities. One thing to note is that LSU ranked 9th last year and Bama ranked 10th. Their superior talent, coaching and defense helped them overcome their returning offensive numbers. Last year, Auburn and Kentucky ranked dead last and they played like it. Here is the ranking (this year I am also including a point value so you can see how close the teams are from one to the next):
#1 Georgia- 73 points
#2 Vanderbilt- 61 points
#3 Missouri- 58 points
#4 Arkansas- 55 points
#5 Ole Miss- 53 points
#6 Kentucky- 46 points
#7 Tennessee- 45 points
#8 South Carolina- 43 points
#9 Auburn- 40 points
#10T Alabama- 37 points
#10T Texas A&M- 37 points
#12 Mississippi State- 34 points
#13 LSU- 33 points
#14 Florida- 21 points