Gerry Broome/Associated Press
The following schools made an outside hire to come in and run the offense this season. Even though there will be minor differences from one system to another, the new coach's projected scheme is not different enough from that of the previous regime to make this list.
Lane Kiffin is a little more intrepid than Doug Nussmeier, but the general mood of their offenses are similar. Especially working under Nick Saban, who knows the importance of controlling the clock and keeping his defense rested, Kiffin should not deviate far from the pro-style, run-first attack Alabama has enjoyed so much success with.
Chris Petersen is gone, so obviously things are going to change. He was (and is) one of the most pioneering minds in college football, and his offense cannot be perfectly replicated. If anyone can come close, though, it is new head coach Bryan Harsin, who served as the Broncos' offensive coordinator under Petersen from 2006 to 2010.
Offensive coordinator Seth Littrell comes over from Indiana, where he helped Kevin Wilson turn the Hoosiers into a surprising offensive juggernaut. Before that, he had plied his trade under Mike Leach at Texas Tech. Littrell's air raid offense is promising but not altogether different from the spread favored by departed coordinator Blake Anderson and head coach Larry Fedora.
James Franklin has brought a renewed energy to State College, but his pro-style offense is not a drastic departure from that of Bill O'Brien. Even with a little Wildcat thrown in here and there, the schemes are—in the words of quarterback Christian Hackenberg, per Mark Dent of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette—"pretty similar" to one another.
Despite a coaching overhaul this offseason, Rutgers does not want to change what it does; it just wants to do those things at a higher level. Former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen is an experienced molder of the pro-style offense—something Rutgers has run some variation of for the past decade—and appears like a savvy choice to lead this offense into the Big Ten.
With all of the cooks in the kitchen—namely former Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and former Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline—and all of the questions under center, it is hard to say with confidence what Texas' offense will look like next season. My hunch is that it will look a lot like last year's, although this, to be honest, could go in any number of directions.
Steve Sarkisian will bring a new wrinkle to the USC offense—although he vows, per Rahshaun Haylock of FoxSports.com, that it will not be a spread. Still, the decision to retain offensive coordinator Clay Helton, plus Sarkisian's own ties to former head coach Kiffin (both were assistants under Pete Carroll) should ensure some offensive stability
Utah has been running a strain of the spread offense ever since the Urban Meyer era. Every spread offense is different—Meyer's, perhaps, more so than any other—but the Utes will continue that tradition with former Wyoming head coach and Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen.