Power Ranking the Top Offenses in College Football Heading Into Bowl Season
Power Ranking the Top Offenses in College Football Heading Into Bowl Season
Every year, it seems that offenses in college football find new and more inventive ways to move the football up and down the field to light up the scoreboard. The athletes on offense become more explosive and more dynamic with an incredible knack for putting highlight reel plays together each and every Saturday. The coaches who can utilize those explosive talents the best are usually the ones who get their teams to conference and BCS titles.
This year has been no different. Playmakers have stepped up across the country to create some of the most explosive stats in recent memory. Whether it was on the ground or through the air, offenses all across college football have created matchup nightmares for defensive coordinators on a weekly basis and pressed their advantage of speed and pace to light up the scoreboard.
The continuing offensive push in college football has brought us some of the current crop of college stars. Last season, Johnny Manziel exploded onto the scene, breaking all kinds of records as he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. This season, it has been Jameis Winston busting out and appears to be a walk to win the Heisman this season as the second straight freshman quarterback to win the award.
But it isn’t just quarterbacks who are enjoying opening up the offenses. Wide receivers and running backs have gotten in on the action, highlighted this season with Andre Williams crashing through the 2,000-yard rushing barrier in 2013 and Brandin Cooks averaging double-digit receptions all season long in one of the most explosive passing attacks in the country.
But which offenses have put together the best team efforts in 2013? Let’s count down the top 10 offenses in college football heading into the bowl season.
10. Clemson Tigers
2013 was supposed to be a huge season for the Clemson Tigers (10-2), culminating in a BCS National Championship. Most of those expectations stemmed from the offensive firepower returning this season led by quarterback Tajh Boyd. Boyd has had another strong season under center which has pushed the Tigers into the BCS as an at-large bid. They finished the regular season as the No. 12 total offense in the country, averaging 502.9 yards per game and were No. 11 in scoring offense with 40.2 points per game. Next up, Clemson will put their offense to the test in the Discover Orange Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
9. Auburn Tigers
A year ago, the Auburn Tigers (12-1) failed to win a single game in the SEC. This season, Gus Malzahn has taken over and turned things completely around, leading Auburn to the SEC title and a spot in the BCS National Championship. That turnaround has been in no small part to the offensive awakening on the Plains this season with the nation's No. 1 rushing attack. Auburn finished 2013 as the No. 11 total offense in the nation, piling up 505.3 yards per game, and No. 11 scoring offense, averaging 40.2 points per game. Malzahn's up-tempo option attack will be tested next against the Florida State Seminoles for the national title.
8. Marshall Thundering Herd
Despite playing on a smaller stage, the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4) have been one of the most dynamic offensive attacks in the country. Rakeem Cato has been one of the best quarterbacks that nobody talks about this season in leading the Herd to the Conference USA Championship game (where they fell to the Rice Owls). Marshall finished the regular season ranked No. 13 in total offense, compiling 502.3 yards per game, and No. 7 in scoring offense, averaging 43.0 points per contest. Marshall will try and bounce back from their C-USA title game disappointment against the Maryland Terrapins in the Military Bowl.
7. Northern Illinois Huskies
Heading into Championship Week, the Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1) were in line to bust the BCS for the second straight season but fell short in the MAC title game against the Bowling Green Falcons. While they didn't punch their ticket to the BCS, the only reason they were in position to get there at all was the elite production out of the offense, led by Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch who set a record for rushing yards from a quarterback in 2013. NIU heads into the bowl season ranked No. 5 in the country in total offense, averaging 535.5 yards per game, while scoring 41.6 points per game, ranking No. 8 in college football. Lynch will try and rally his Husky offense to face a tough Utah State Aggies defense in the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
6. Texas A&M Aggies
The exploits of Johnny Football are well known following his Heisman run of 2012 and the Texas A&M Aggies (8-4) only got better offensively in 2013. While the defense was a sever disappointment in College Station, Manziel took the offense to another level this season as he put up huge numbers, improving on his accuracy and passing ability from his record-setting freshman season. The Aggies finished the year ranked No. 4 in total offense, averaging 538.2 yards per game, and No. 6 in scoring offense, putting up 43.6 points per game. Next up for A&M is the Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in what could be Manziel's final game under center for the Aggies' offense.
5. Fresno State Bulldogs
Another near BCS buster before a late-season loss, the Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1) put together an excellent 2013 campaign. Fresno State led the nation in passing this year behind Derek Carr and his nation-leading 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns through the air this season. The Bulldogs bounced back from their late-season disappointment to win the Mountain West Conference Championship behind the No. 3 total offense in the country, averaging 570.6 yards per game, and No. 5 scoring offense, putting up 45.3 points per game. The Bulldogs' offense gets their next challenge in the Las Vegas Bowl against the USC Trojans.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
You can't win 24 straight games without some offensive firepower and Urban Meyer had plenty firepower with the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) this season. Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde provided a one-two punch for the Buckeyes that got them one step away from the BCS National Championship. While they came up short in the Big Ten title, the offensive production from 2013 can't be denied. Ohio State finished the season ranked No. 7 in total offense, putting up 518.5 yards per game, while ranking No. 4 in scoring offense, averaging 46.3 points per game this season. The Buckeyes will still play in the BCS this season as an at-large bid in the Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson.
3. Florida State Seminoles
Jameis Winston has returned the Florida State Seminoles (13-0) to the top of the college football world by leading one of the most explosive and balanced offensive attacks in the country. The Noles have dominated everyone on their schedule this season, winning games by an average of over 40 points as they have exploded on offense. On the year, FSU ranked No. 6 in total offense, putting up 529.4 yards per game, and No. 2 in scoring offense, putting a ridiculous 53.0 points per game on the scoreboard. Their dynamically unstoppable offensive attack has carried the Noles to the BCS National Championship where they will face off with Auburn for college football's top prize.
2. Oregon Ducks
Thanks to a pair of losses, including one major dud in the desert, the Oregon Ducks (10-2) failed to make it to a BCS bowl for the first time in five seasons. While their bowl destination isn't as impressive as they were hoping for, the offensive production this season in Eugene has been extremely impressive. Marcus Mariota seemed to be putting together a Heisman run together until injuries in the home stretch took away a major part of his game. As a whole, however, the Ducks' offense remained explosive and finished the year No. 2 in the nation in total offense at a clip of 573.0 yards per game and No. 3 in scoring offense, averaging 46.8 points per game. While that offensive output couldn't extend their BCS bowl streak for another season, they hope it will carry them to a win over the Texas Longhorns in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
1. Baylor Bears
When it comes to explosive offensive production, there is nobody who can match the Baylor Bears (11-1) in 2013. Art Briles has created an offensive factory in Waco in recent years and taken things to a whole new level this season. Quarterback Bryce Petty has been unstoppable in the vertical passing game while the Baylor backfield has gotten huge production out of a host of talented running backs. On the year, the Bears have scored 60 points or more six times and lead the nation in total offense and scoring offense, putting up 623.8 yards and 53.3 points per game. Their offensive outpouring carried Baylor to an outright Big 12 title and a date against the Central Florida Knights in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.