Pokes returning second most production in nation in ’21
LARAMIE -- Wyoming is returning the second most production in the nation out of 127 Division-I teams, according to to a study compiled by ESPN's Bill Connelly.
The Cowboys are returning 95% of their 2020 roster. Only Toledo -- 97% -- is bringing back more.
This, of course, is all a result of the NCAA allowing players an extra season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Craig Bohl's team is returning all 11 defensive starters and will see the return of Solomon Byrd, Claude Cole and Rome Weber, who opted out last season because of the virus. On offense, Wyoming is returning 10 of its regular starters from a year ago. They will also have a healthy Sean Chambers under center when Montana State comes to town Sept. 4 for the season opener.
But what about the Pokes' 2021 opponents? Let's see what they are returning:
* Montana State - FCS
* Northern Illinois - 75% (79th overall)
* Ball State - 85% (30th overall)
* UConn - Didn't play last year
* Air Force - 63% (113th overall)
* Fresno State - 86% (29th overall)
* New Mexico - 79% (56th overall)
* San Jose State - 86% (27th overall)
* Colorado State - 83% (40th overall)
* Boise State - 84% (34th overall)
* Utah State - 83% (37th overall)
* Hawaii - 92% (8th overall)
What sticks out in all of that?
The Mountain West is returning a bunch of talent. Even teams the Cowboys aren't playing this fall will be loaded with veteran players like Nevada (93% - 6th overall). UNLV (77% - 64th overall) and San Diego State (70% - 102nd) also have plenty of returners.
As far as who the Cowboys are playing, you can't look past San Jose State's 86%. The Spartans ran through the conference schedule, finishing 6-0 before knocking off Boise State in the Mountain West championship game. Their lone blemish came in an Arizona Bowl loss to Ball State.
Wyoming travels to San Jose Oct. 30.
On a side note, see that team in the graph that is coming in dead last?
That's too bad.