Projecting College Football's Most Entertaining Offenses in 2016
Too often, we spend unreasonable amounts of time worrying about the greatest or the best for this and that. But college football is supposed to be fun. In today's era, uptempo and high-scoring offenses provide weekly entertainment in the fall.
"Yeah, but can these teams play defense?" Doesn't matter!
If you love points, be sure to include one of the following programs on your Saturday schedule this fall. Each offense listed is going to light up the box score on a weekly basis. The teams might not win, but they'll certainly be enjoyable to watch.
The combination of wide-open philosophies, talented (and often dual-threat) quarterbacks, versatile running backs and standout receivers highlight 2016's most entertaining attacks.
Each program listed here either boasted a dynamic attack last season or has that potential in 2016.
Coaching changes, graduations and early NFL exits kept some out of the top 10, while returning players or new coaches could dramatically improve an offense—yet not quite high enough.
Don't be surprised when these offenses are frustrating matchups for opposing coaches and defenses.
- Georgia Southern
- Middle Tennessee
- North Carolina
- Oklahoma State
- South Florida
- Southern Miss
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia
- Western Kentucky
- Western Michigan
Laquon Treadwell's departure leaves a glaring void at receiver, but Ole Miss is well prepared to address the issue.
And it certainly helps to have Chad Kelly behind center. Last year, the dual-threat quarterback tallied 4,042 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, scampering for 500 yards and 10 scores.
In addition to Quincy Adeboyejo, Damore'ea Stringfellow, Evan Engram and Markell Pack returning, the Rebels add talented youngsters Van Jefferson and DaMarkus Lodge to the pass-catching mix.
Though Ole Miss will have five new offensive linemen, previous injuries and suspensions led to playing time for many of the new starters anyway. Kelly and Co. are going to wreck some defenses.
Whether Baylor had reason to make more coaching changes is an important story. As it stands, however, most of the staff remains intact—including offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
The team's power-spread philosophy creates space in the middle of the field by sending receivers as wide as possible. It's the quarterback's job, essentially, to count defenders and choose a run or pass.
Seth Russell did that at a Heisman-caliber level last year. Before a season-ending neck injury, Russell averaged 300.6 passing and 57.4 rushing yards, totaling 35 touchdowns in seven outings.
As long as the Bears can settle the offensive line, the skill positions are in good shape. Shock Linwood, Johnny Jefferson and Terence Williams form an outstanding trio in the backfield, while KD Cannon leads a high-upside receiving corps.
With all the (often deserved) attention dedicated to Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb, it seems Royce Freeman is becoming a forgotten superstar.
Plus, Oregon didn't create many positive headlines last year. Vernon Adams Jr.'s injury woes limited the Ducks, who mustered a 9-4 record.
Likely surprising to some, though, head coach Mark Helfrich's team still finished as the fifth-ranked squad in both scoring and total offense. Freeman rushed for 1,836 yards, the nation's fourth-highest mark.
Montana State transfer and dual-threat quarterback Dakota Prukop should guide an offense stacked at running back and receiver, including Darren Carrington, Dwayne Stanford and Charles Nelson.
Head coach Philip Montgomery inherited a promising roster to fit the power-spread offense. Once Dane Evans settled into the system, it showed.
Evans entered the 2015 campaign with 27 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in his career. However, the junior tallied a 62.9 completion percentage, 4,332 yards, 25 scores and just eight picks. Evans will almost certainly rank among the country's best in each major category.
Keevan Lucas (101 receptions, 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014), Josh Atkinson (76/1,071/5 last season) and Justin Hobbs (32/551/2) all return. Leading rusher D'Angelo Brewer is back.
Tulsa only managed a 6-7 record in 2015 because of a dreadful defense, and 2016 might not be much different. But the Golden Hurricane will absolutely be a terror to slow offensively.
Although Oklahoma must replace Sterling Shepard, the second year of offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's tenure could be special.
Dual-threat gunslinger Baker Mayfield is a perfect fit in Riley's uptempo spread. Last year, Mayfield totaled 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air, running for 405 and seven, respectively.
Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon are the Sooners' primary assets and complement each other wonderfully. The running backs combined for 2,565 yards from scrimmage and 28 scores.
As long as Oklahoma can find a couple reliable options out of Dede Westbrook, Geno Lewis, Mark Andrews, Jarvis Baxter and Michiah Quick, Mayfield's playmaking ability will carry the offense.
Considering Boise State's prolonged stretch of success, the 2015 campaign was a relatively quiet year for the program.
Ryan Finley initially earned the starting job, but he quickly lost the role to Brett Rypien. Largely due to that change, Boise State finished September with the 52nd-ranked offense. But in both October and November, the Broncos were a top-15 unit.
Heading into 2016, Rypien is the unquestioned No. 1 with a couple top-notch weapons surrounding him.
Versatile running back Jeremy McNichols headlines the attack. He piled up 1,337 rushing yards and 20 scores, reeling in 51 passes for 460 yards and six touchdowns last season. Meanwhile, Thomas Sperbeck had 88 receptions, 1,412 yards and eight trips to the end zone.
Expect the Broncos to start making nationally heard noise this season. The attention will be warranted.
As the offensive coordinator at Ohio State, Tom Herman proved his genius. Cardale Jones—then an inexperienced third-string quarterback—led the Buckeyes to a national title.
Herman's debut as head coach with Houston was a riveting success.
Greg Ward Jr. recorded 2,828 yards, 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions, racing to 1,108 yards and 21 more scores. Now, it's imperative the dual-threat quarterback cuts down on taking unnecessary hits, but Ward is a dynamic college quarterback.
Texas transfer Duke Catalon will replace leading rusher Kenneth Farrow, while Chance Allen, Steven Dunbar, Ra'Shaad Samples and Isaiah Johnson highlight the receiving corps.
Washington State runs the preeminent Air Raid attack in college football. That's a good thing, considering head coach Mike Leach popularized the offense when he coached Texas Tech.
Luke Falk attempted a Football Bowl Subdivision-high 644 passes despite missing one game. He tallied a 69.4 completion percentage with 4,561 yards, 38 scores and only eight interceptions.
Plus, the Cougars have a top-five receiver in Gabe Marks. Last season, he snagged 104 passes for 1,192 yards and 15 touchdowns. River Cracraft, Robert Lewis, Tavares Martin, Ky Priester and Isaiah Johnson are a few other key wideouts to remember.
Gerard Wicks, Jamal Morrow and Keith Harrington are decent runners, but they're regular contributors as receivers, too.
Wazzu is going to destroy opposing secondaries. If the defense catches up, Leach's team will be a legitimate Pac-12 threat.
Do you miss playing backyard football? Texas Tech offers the chance to live vicariously through Patrick Mahomes II.
Against TCU, Mahomes could hardly run after tweaking his ankle. Yet he still racked up 428 total yards while guiding the Red Raiders to 52 points and the brink of a massive upset. Mahomes amassed 5,109 yards of total offense and 46 touchdowns.
The departure of shifty speedster Jakeem Grant stings, but essentially every other receiver is back—plus Texas Tech added touted 4-star JUCO product Derrick Willies.
If you ever need a Saturday afternoon pick-me-up, Mahomes and the Red Raiders can provide that cure.
Just don't watch Texas Tech's defense.
Clemson's offense is loaded. Like, unfair levels of stacked.
Deshaun Watson collected 4,104 passing yards, 1,105 rushing yards and 47 total touchdowns last season. Wayne Gallman rushed for a school-record 1,527 yards, scoring 13 times on the ground.
Mike Williams—a 1,000-yard receiver two years ago—is back after missing almost all of 2015. Artavis Scott has posted consecutive 900-yard campaigns. Hunter Renfrow and Deon Cain each notched 30-plus catches, while Jordan Leggett had eight touchdowns.
The question for the Tigers isn't if they'll excel. Rather, it's if the 2016 Clemson attack will be remembered as a legendary offense.
All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from cfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.