There are 128 major-college football teams in 2014. Oklahoma State ranks 128th in terms of percentage of returning lettermen.
According to Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, the Cowboys lose 32 of their 70 lettermen off the 2013 team. You can read the Phil Steele data here.
That’s one reason not to be optimistic about the Cowboys. On the other hand, there are other ways to gauge experience.
Forget percentage. If lettermen data is important, who cares how many you lost. Just rank teams by how many you have returning. The Cowboys’ 38 lettermen back rank 113th. Which is better than dead last.
In terms of percentage returning, the top five are: 1. South Carolina 85.29; 2. Texas-San Antonio 84.62; 3. Mississippi State 82.61; 4. Air Force 80.77; 5. Tulsa 80.3.
In the Big 12, West Virginia ranks 11th (78.33%), OU ranks 29th (73.85%), Texas ranks 30th (73.77%), TCU ranks 39th (72.31%), Texas Tech ranks 53rd (70.42%), Baylor ranks 61st (69.86%), Iowa State 116th (60.61%), Kansas State 119th (60.0%), Kansas 126th (56.14%).
Interestingly, Louisiana Tech ranks 127th, so OU is scheduled to play the three bottom teams in terms of percentage of lettermen returning.
As far raw lettermen returning, Air Force ranks first with 63, followed by Louisiana-Lafayette 61, Ole Miss 60, Marshall 59, Indiana 59, Army 59 and South Carolina 58.
In the Big 12, returning lettermen rankings are Baylor 51, Texas Tech 50, OU 48, West Virginia 47, TCU 47, Texas 45, Kansas State 42, Iowa State 40, OSU 38, Kansas 32.
Of course, much of this data is squishy. Not because of Phil Steele, but because of individual schools. What’s a letterman? OSU had 70 lettermen last season? That’s a lot of ballplayers.
Some players get letters with very little contribution. Each school is different.
But this much is true. OSU, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State face rebuilding jobs to some degree.