Iowa Hawkeyes top ESPN’s Big Ten returning production ranks

ESPN’s Bill Connelly puts together his SP+ rankings every single season. Fans have gotten several different versions over the course of this offseason, and on Sunday he unveiled his final preseason SP+ rankings.

For those wondering what SP+ is, here’s a quick description from Connelly.

SP+ is a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a résumé ranking, and, along those same lines, these projections aren’t intended to be a guess at what the AP Top 25 will look like at the end of the year. These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date. – Connelly, ESPN.

The Iowa Hawkeyes ranked No. 27 nationally in the final preseason SP+ rankings, which was good for sixth among Big Ten teams. In order to put his SP+ projections together, ESPN’s Connelly uses three primary factors: returning production, recent recruiting and recent history.

Hawkeyes Wire already touched on where Iowa and the rest of the Hawkeyes’ opponents rank in the final preseason SP+ rankings. In terms of where each college football conference ranked, the Big Ten checked in as the nation’s No. 2 conference on average in the SP+ rankings.

Now, let’s take a look at one of the individual components that helped Connelly put these rankings together. Here’s where Iowa and each of the Big Ten teams ranked in terms of returning production.

Indiana Hoosiers

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 107

Overall returning production percentage: 54%

Offensive percentage rank: 49% (No. 110)

Defensive percentage rank: 59% (No. 88)

Illinois Fighting Illini

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

National rank: No. 103

Overall returning production: 55%

Offensive percentage rank: 59% (No. 72)

Defensive percentage rank: 50% (No. 113)

Wisconsin Badgers

Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 99

Overall returning production: 55%

Offensive percentage rank: 57% (No. 84)

Defensive percentage rank: 54% (No. 105)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

National rank: No. 95

Overall returning production: 56%

Offensive percentage rank: 55% (No. 89)

Defensive percentage rank: 56% (No. 99)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 76

Overall returning production: 61%

Offensive percentage rank: 68% (No. 44)

Defensive percentage rank: 55% (No. 102)

Michigan Wolverines

Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK

National rank: No. 74

Overall returning production: 61%

Offensive percentage rank: 78% (No. 18)

Defensive percentage rank: 45% (No. 118)

Penn State Nittany Lions

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 69

Overall returning production: 63%

Offensive percentage rank: 69% (No. 38)

Defensive percentage rank: 57% (No. 98)

Northwestern Wildcats

Brendan Moran-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 64

Overall returning production: 64%

Offensive percentage rank: 66% (No. 48)

Defensive percentage rank: 61% (No. 82)

Purdue Boilermakers

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 56

Overall returning production: 65%

Offensive percentage rank: 66% (No. 49)

Defensive percentage rank: 63% (No. 69)

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 54

Overall returning production: 65%

Offensive percentage rank: 74% (No. 29)

Defensive percentage rank: 57% (No. 97)

Maryland Terrapins

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

National rank: No. 41

Overall returning production: 68%

Offensive percentage rank: 81% (No. 12)

Defensive percentage rank: 55% (No. 101)

Michigan State Spartans


National rank: No. 33

Overall returning production: 70%

Offensive percentage rank: 65% (No. 55)

Defensive percentage rank: 75% (No. 31)

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud throws a pass during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl against the Utah Utes in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2022.
Syndication The Columbus Dispatch

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

National rank: No. 29

Overall returning production: 71%

Offensive percentage rank: 66% (No. 53)

Defensive percentage rank: 76% (No. 28)

Iowa Hawkeyes

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

National rank: No. 27

Overall returning production: 71%

Offensive percentage rank: 75% (No. 24)

Defensive percentage rank: 68% (No. 53)

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire