Oregon and USC Prove that Offense Comes First

By Kris Hughes

In today’s college football there are two divergent theories about how to build a team: recruit strong defensive players and patch in with the offensive talent you can find, or, secure the best skill players possible and put defense on the back-burner.

The first theory is what you see with SEC teams– in large part, with the Texas A&M Aggies being the apparent exception to the rule– while the latter is what has become common in the PAC-12 and Big 12– and the BCS and AP standings both show that they may be on to something.

Following last night’s 62-51 win by the Oregon Ducks over the USC Trojans in Los Angeles, college football fans that consider themselves purists had one of two reactions:

“Wow. That was the most exciting game I’ve seen in a long time.”


“That was pathetic. Can’t anyone play defense anymore?”

I know where I fell.

The 120 combined points scored by the Ducks and the Trojans proved to me that offense comes first. The Kansas State Wildcats and Oklahoma State Cowboys also torched the scoreboard last evening — scoring 74 points between them in the 44-30 Kansas State victory as yet another example that Big 12 coaches are focused on offense.

When the BCS standings come out later this evening, we’ll see some combination of some of the nation’s most electrifying offenses holding several of the top positions.

Sure, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will also be in the mix– the team that arguably has the nation’s best defense– but there’s little doubt left in my mind that if offense-first teams continue to have the success they have had in 2012, in 2013, the landscape of college football will shift towards building teams that can score points in bunches and worrying about defense as an after-thought.

The aforementioned Texas A&M Aggies are a great example of how this shift could occur in the country’s most traditional defense-first conference, the SEC. A&M has been a nightmare all season long with their wide-open fast-paced offense which has continued to leave defensive units once thought to be formidable, in the dust.

Sure, SEC defensive coordinators will have a full year’s tape on the Aggies come 2013, and given this, game-planning should be much easier, but it doesn’t mean they will be slowed all that much. If A&M has continued success on the offensive side of the ball, SEC teams will be forced to find some skill players– accordingly– that can help them stay afloat should the culture shift.

Regardless, PAC 12 and Big 12 teams will continue to bring us exciting football week-in and week-out and the game will be all the better for it.

Would you rather watch a 9-6 defensive battle or a 62-51 shootout?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page. Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.

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