Rutgers And South Florida Lead Big East In Returning Tackles, Temple And Pittsburgh Return The Fewest

Scott Vallone and the vast majority of his defensive teammates from a year ago are back to harass opposing quarterbacks for another year.

Defense hasn't been a problem for the Big East the past three seasons (offense, that's another story). In 2011, five Big East teams finished in the top 40 nationally in total defense and newcomer Temple finished #12 in the same category. 2012 shouldn't be a great deal different when considering the percentage of total tackles from last season's defenses that return this year.

Using the data provided by preseason magazine guru Phil Steele, five of the Big East's eight schools rank in the top half of the country in percentage of tackles returning in 2012. Half of the league returns 70% or more of its tackles and Rutgers returns a whopping 80.27% of the tackles from the Big East's best defense in 2011.

On the flip side, the table below provides another reason to suspect that Temple is on for a rough inaugural season in the Big East. You can find the returning tackle percentage for the all 124 FBS teams here. You can view the full table after the jump.

Big East Returning Tackles Percentage
National Rank Team Percentage
16 Rutgers 80.27%
22 South Florida 77.27%
27 Connecticut 75.95%
49 Louisville 70.67%
53 Syracuse 68.41%
86 Cincinnati 57.65%
111 Pittsburgh 47.67%
118 Temple 44.16%
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