How Fast Can The Defense Improve, Pt. V

Last time we looked at the last five years of (six) college football national champions to see how their rankings improved from the year before each team won the title.  This time we’ll look at returning starters, returning defensive coaches, and (Sagarin) strength of schedule to see how those factors might affect a defense’s improvement from one season to the next and if that might translate into a championship defense (going back to an earlier Blog post, part III in this series).

Team: # of returning starters, # of returning defensive coaches, and Sagarin strength of schedule change.

1. 2005 National Champions Texas Longhorns: nine (9) returning starters, two (2) defensive coaches, and SOS improved from #28 to #13

2. 2004 National Champions USC Trojans: six (6) returning starters, four (4) defensive coaches, and SOS improved from #19 to #7

3. 2003 Co-National Champions LSU Tigers: seven (7) returning starters, and SOS improved from #33 to #28

4. 2003 Co-National Champions USC Trojans: five (5) returning starters, and SOS fell from #1 to #19

Unfortunately, even with the Internet(s) it’s hard to find anything but the most recent information on some of these teams.  But the key here is the past four title winners/sharers had tough schedules, more than 3 returning starters, and half of the teams (with the info I could find) returned at least two defensive coaches.

What does that tell us about the Irish defense in 2006? Not much, probably. But combined with Part III in this series, it appears that the return of 9 starters and all of our defensive coaches should lead to improvement regardless of schedule woes. Enough for a championship? That might depend on the offense.

Go Irish Go

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