Can't Wait For Saturday | How is your favorite team going to perform in 2024? ESPN chart offers hints

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Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.


I certainly appreciate the loyalty of News-Gazette/IlliniHQ readers. You are the reason we do what we do.

But I understand if you want to check out other publications.

Of course, I have a News-Gazette subscription, Nothing better than reading the paper every morning while eating milk-less Cap'n Crunch and drinking grape juice. Yes, I am different.

So, my No. 1 source of information is The N-G.

But there are others. I subscribed to a handful of publications and Web sites, which leads to my point.

Monday morning on, staff writer Bill Connelly did a lot of work for everyone. He ranked all 134 FBS schools based on return of production.

As he explains, Connelly considered both regular returnees and transfers.

Virginia Tech tops the list with an 86 percent return, followed by Iowa State at 85.

The Big Ten has three teams in the Top 10, No. 3 Nebraska (77 percent), No. 6 Northwestern (76) and No. 8 Rutgers (74).

The author said the rankings don't guarantee a thing, but might point to the direction a program is going.

The rest of the Big Ten has Minnesota at No. 19 (71 percent) Wisconsin at No, 20 (71), Penn State No. 23 (70), Oregon No. 28 (69), Iowa No. 30 (69), Illinois No. 65 (62), Ohio State No. 70 (61), Michigan State No. 73 (61), Indiana No. 85 (56) UCLA No. 95 (51), Purdue No. 96 (51), Southern California No. 99 (50), Maryland No. 110 (45), Michigan No. 128 (36) and Washington No. 130 (36).

What team is last in the nation? Air Force at No. 134 with 25 percent return. But the Falcons have cool planes and a beautiful campus.

What does all of this mean? Right now, hard to know for sure. But it seems like Virginia Tech, a bowl team in 2023, is set for another trip to the postseason at least. The ACC has been warned.