College Football Predictions 2011: The 25 Highest Scoring Teams

Michael Mill@@MikeMill23Senior Analyst IIIFebruary 11, 2011

College Football Predictions 2011: The 25 Highest Scoring Teams

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10: LaMichael James #21 and Darron Thomas #1 of the Oregon Ducks react to the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jona
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    One of the most exciting parts of college football is the wide-open offense.

    You see things in college football that you never see at the pro level. Spread and option offenses are just a couple of the many different schemes you will see at the college level—and they make for some high scoring games.

    Last season Oregon led the nation by averaging 47.0 points per game.

    Here are 25 teams that you should expect to have high-scoring offenses in 2011.

25. Michigan State

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans passes the ball during the Capitol One Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Last season the Michigan State offense was efficient, but not quite what you would consider explosive.

    Kirk Cousins is entering his senior season, and I expect a bit of a jump in performance from him. He threw for 20 touchdowns last season, and I think he has the capability of reaching 25-30 this year.

    Edwin Baker had a great season at running back last year. Despite splitting carries with Le'Veon Bell, he still had 1,201 yards at the end of the season.

    He also ran for 13 touchdowns. Bell ran for 8 more.

24. Penn State

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Silas Redd #25 of the Penn State Nittany Lions stiff arms Jermale Hines #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes  at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Penn State actually struggled a bit on offense last year. This wasn't due to lack of talent, but simply lack of experience.

    Matt McGloin or Rob Bolden could still be named starter, but personally, I like Paul Jones for the spot.

    All three have equal opportunity to succeed at this point but I expect Bolden to get the nod after a disappointing finish to the year for McGloin.

    Silas Redd is going to be the difference-maker on offense this year. On just 77 carries last season he ran for 437 yards. His 5.7 average was the best on the team for running backs.

    The addition of Redd's explosive plays will do wonders for Penn State this year.

    It should also help whoever ends up at quarterback.

23. Auburn

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  (C) Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates with teammates Brandon Mosley #75 and Kodi Burns #18 after he ran the ball for 16-yards and is called down at the one-yardline with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Barrett Trotter is no Cam Newton. Auburn is going to be a different looking offense this year without Newton's presence.

    The team will likely turn to running back Michael Dyer to carry the workload.

    Dyer had 1,093 rushing yards last season on 182 attempts—second on the team behind Cam Newton.

    Onterio McCalebb is a fantastic backup for Dyer. He ran for 810 yards himself, on only 95 attempts.

    Auburn will be more run heavy this season, but they will still put up points.

22. Arizona State

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    TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 02:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Arizona State Sun Devils scrambles with the football during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on December 2, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 30-29 in
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Arizona State has a quarterback controversy, but it's probably a good thing.

    Steven Threet had a pretty good season last year, with Arizona State prevailing as one of the better passing schools in the country with him at the helm.

    However, he went down with an injury against UCLA, which opened the door for Brock Osweiler to step in and work some magic.

    Osweiler had two games at quarterback—in those two games the Sun Devils scored 85 points, as he threw for five touchdowns and no interceptions.

    No matter who starts, the team will likely have a strong passing attack again this year.

21. Arkansas

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    AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Tyler Wilson #8 of the Arkansas Razorbacks takes a break during a timeout in the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  The Tigers beat the Razorbacks 65-43.  (P
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    With the departure of Ryan Mallett, Arkansas will likely take a slight drop-off in offense.

    It won't be too much though.

    When Mallett went down injured against Auburn, Tyler Wilson stepped in and proved he isn't afraid to let it rip.

    He threw for four touchdowns in the game and completed 73.5 percent of his passes. He did throw two interceptions. The team's 43 points in the game were still not enough for a win.

    Knile Davis quietly had a good season running the ball as well, gaining 13 touchdowns on 1,322 yards.

20. Florida

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Chris Rainey #3 of the Florida Gators rushes after a catch against Antonio Allen #26 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehr
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Will Muschamp's first big move at Florida was bringing in Charlie Weis to coach the offense.

    Weis may not be the greatest head coach in the history of the game, but he does know how to run an offense.

    Quarterback John Brantley will likely show improvement this year under Weis—and the Gators have playmakers all over the field.

    Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey and Deonte Thompson will all likely have much more success this year under Charlie Weis.

19. Nebraska

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers fumbles the ball under pressure from defensive back Demontre Hurst #19 of the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Sooners
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Taylor Martinez had an up-and-down season last year as a freshman. He played fantastic in some games and poorly in others.

    He should get a little more consistent now with a year under his belt.

    Rex Burkhead will be taking over at running back this year as well. His 951 rushing yards and seven touchdowns were overshadowed by the play of Roy Helu Jr. last season.

    The move to the Big Ten may be the deciding factor in this one. We'll have to just wait and see how it plays out.

18: Southern California

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans lines up against the Oregon Ducks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Just because USC isn't bowl-eligible doesn't mean that they don't play their games. In fact, they are looking to be a very competitive team this year.

    Matt Barkley took huge steps in becoming a better quarterback. He didn't improve much on his yards thrown or touchdowns thrown, but he was much more efficient with the ball.

    Expect to see him take another step forward this season.

    Marc Tyler and Allen Bradford split carries last year. Now that Bradford has graduated, Tyler will likely handle the majority of the carries.

17. Florida State

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback E.J. Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles calls out a play in the huddle against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl on January 1, 2010 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Ja
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Florida State looks like a team poised to be on their way back to the top.

    E.J. Manuel will be taking over for Christian Ponder this year. Manuel has a good bit of experience, due to an injury-riddled career for Ponder.

    Manuel brings a threat to run at quarterback that will add a lot to this offense. If he can perform all season like he did in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Florida State could be a dominant force on offense.

    The running game will likely be the primary source of success for the offense.

    Manuel will get his share of carries, and Chris Thompson emerged during the Chick-fil-A Bowl as a high-quality running back.

16. Nevada

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    LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02:  Vai Taua #34 of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack gets ahead of Ronnie Paulo #36 of the UNLV Rebels en route to scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of their game at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada Reno
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    I know Colin Kaepernick will likely be on an NFL roster next season, but I can't help but put Nevada on this list. Vai Taua is gone as well.

    Tyler Lantrip, who showed flashes of greatness last year, will likely take over at quarterback.

    Mark Lampford will be starting at running back.

    He was overshadowed greatly by Taua, but Lampford actually had a decent showing; he averaged 7.5 yards per carry on his 413 total rushing yards.

    If all else fails, the fact that they play in the WAC should be enough to keep them as a top offense.

15. Michigan

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines hands off to Michael Shaw #20 of the Michigan Wolverines against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Brady Hoke turned San Diego State and Ball State into winning programs, and I'm sure he didn't have Denard Robinson running the offense on those teams.

    Denard Robinson is just an absolute weapon. What more can be said? He threw for 2,570 yards and ran for 1,702 more last season.

    He accounted for 32 of the team's 58 offensive touchdowns.

    Not to mention he was only a sophomore.

14. Texas A&M

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 25:  Running back Cyrus Gray #32 of Texas A&M holds off University of Texas defensive end Sam Acho #81 during the second half at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/
    Darren Carroll/Getty Images

    Ryan Tannehill took over the starting quarterback role in week seven against Kansas, while Cyrus Gray took over the starting running back role.

    They finished the season 6-0 with Tannehill and Gray starting.

    In those six games Gray ran for nearly 1,000 yards. Tannehill threw for 1,638 and was more efficient with the ball than Jerrod Johnson was.

    Texas A&M could be a surprise team this year. They seemed to hit their stride with this new found talent toward the end of the year—expect it continue in 2011.

13. Troy

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 18:  Quarterback Corey Robinson #6 of the Troy University Trojans celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during the game against the Ohio University Bobcats during the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The Sun Belt conference isn't the most prestigious in college football. That may be one reason Troy puts up so many points.

    Troy finished last season 20th in scoring offense, and there is really only room for improvement.

    Corey Robinson led the pass-happy attack, throwing for 3,726 yards and 28 touchdowns to only 15 interceptions.

    He was also only a freshman.

    It seems like Troy has a few good years ahead of them on the offensive side of the ball.

12. Hawaii

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    HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Bryant Moniz #17 of the University of Hawaii Warriors carries the ball during first half action against the University of Southern California Trojans at Aloha Stadium September 2, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Kent Nishimura
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

    Is it me, or are Hawaii quarterbacks always throwing for a ridiculous amount of yards? Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan come to mind.

    Add Bryant Moniz to that list.

    Last season Moniz threw for 5,040 yards, and 39 touchdowns. He also ran for four touchdowns.

    That may be one reason Hawaii ranked 10th in offensive scoring. But, they also play in the WAC.

    Expect more of the same in 2011, as Moniz will look for another 5,000.

11. Texas Christian

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    LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 30:  Ed Wesley #34 of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs runs for yardage after getting away from Will Chandler #1 of the UNLV Rebels during the first quarter of their game at Sam Boyd Stadium October 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, Ne
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Andy Dalton is no longer with the team.

    The Horned Frogs are also moving to the Big East, so they will face slightly tougher opponents.

    It will be difficult for them to maintain the fantastic 41.6 points per game they averaged last season, but TCU will likely still be fine on offense.

    Dalton wasn't actually the primary reason for success, although he did help.

    Ed Wesley helped carry TCU to the 10th best rushing offense with his 1,078 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    Matthew Tucker and Waymon James provide just as much talent out of the backfield as well. Together they combined for 1,222 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Wesley and Tucker will return as juniors. James is only a sophomore.

10. Wisconsin

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 20:  James White #20 of the Wisconsin Badgers treies to get around the tackle of Jordan Kovacs #32 of the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wisconson won the game 48-28.  (Photo b
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Badgers aren't really known for their high-powered offense. The fact that they were fifth in the nation in scoring last year may take some by surprise.

    Scott Tolzien will no longer be at quarterback for Wisconsin, but he wasn't a huge factor in the offense. Wisconsin just needs someone who can be efficient and smart with the ball.

    John Clay announced he will be entering the 2011 NFL Draft. It doesn't really matter, Wisconsin doesn't need him.

    James White and Montee Ball will be a great one two punch this season.

    White ran for 1,052 yards on 156 carries and 14 touchdowns. Ball ran for 996 yards on 163 carries and 18 touchdowns.

    Take the 187 carries that Clay had last year and split them between White and Ball. That's a running game right there.

9. East Carolina

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    BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Dominique Davis #4 of the East Carolina Pirates runs with the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Blacksburg, Virginia.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    If East Carolina had a better defense they could surely win some games.

    Dominique Davis led the Pirates in one of the best passing offenses last season. He threw the ball for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns.

    ECU has one of the easiest schedules in the nation, playing in Conference USA.

    With Davis returning they should have another high-scoring season.

8. Houston

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Patrick Edwards #83 of the Houston Cougars goes up for the balll against cornerback Sheldon Price #22 of the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 31-13.  (Photo b
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Another Conference USA team that throws the ball with ease.

    Last season, Houston couldn't figure out who their starting quarterback was until week five. Then  freshman David Piland took over the role.

    Piland threw for 2,641 yards and 24 touchdowns, leading Houston to be named the fifth-ranked passing offense in the nation.

    Houston will probably have one of the stronger passing attacks again this season, which means a lot of points.

7. Oklahoma

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws the ball against the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Peters
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Oklahoma is on its way back to the top and Landry Jones is leading them there.

    In 2010, Landry threw for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns. It was one of the best performances by a quarterback in college football, and he was only a sophomore.

    Roy Finch is ready to take over the starting role at running back with DeMarco Murray graduating. Finch ran for 398 yards on 85 attempts last year and also scored two touchdowns.

    The best news for Oklahoma is the return of Ryan Broyles.

    Broyles has decided to return for his Senior season and is Landry's favorite target. Last year, he caught the ball 131 times for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns.

6. Stanford

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal calls a play in the huddle as Derek Hall #53, David DeCastro #52, Andrew Phillips #71 and Jonathan Martin #55 listen to the call against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Jim Harbaugh may be gone, but Andrew Luck decided to stay.

    Stanford was one of the more balanced offenses last year. They ranked 29th in passing and 17th in rushing, ultimately making them the ninth-best scoring team in the nation.

    Stanford did lose their two starting wide receivers to graduation, but if anybody can make it work it would be Andrew Luck.

    Stepfan Taylor looks to have another solid year running the ball after his 1,137-yard, 15-touchdown performance in 2010.

5. Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Nick Fairly #90 of the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Greg McElroy and Mark Ingram are gone. We all know that a Nick Saban team will always have quality players waiting to take over.

    The Tide have that in A.J. McCarron and Trent Richardson.

    There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not Richardson is actually better than 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

    In 2010, Richardson had a 6.3 yards per carry average on his 700 yards gained.

    I fully expect Alabama to take a step forward with McCarron and Richardson replacing McElroy and Ingram.

4. Ohio State

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to run against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Terrelle Pryor causes teams problems, especially in the Big Ten.

    Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas must sit out the first five games of the season.

    This may hurt the Ohio State offense quite a bit, but luckily none of their first five matchups present much difficulty.

    When Pryor, Herron, Posey and Adams return to the offense, this will be one of the most explosive teams to watch in college football.

3. Oklahoma State

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    WACO, TX - OCTOBER 24:  Justin Blackmon #81 and Cooper Nicholas #89 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate a touchdown in front of Jordan Lake #21 of the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium on October 24, 2009 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/G
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    In case you didn't know, Oklahoma State scores a lot of points.

    Justin Blackmon gets most of the offensive recognition, but it's not as if he has a bad quarterback feeding him the ball.

    Brandon Weeden—a name unknown to many—threw for 4,277 yards and 34 touchdowns last season.

    The Cowboys will be losing running back Kendall Hunter, who provided a spark out of the backfield. Luckily, they have a solid young player waiting in the helm.

    Joseph Randle had 82 attempts his freshman year, gaining 452 yards and two touchdowns. As a sophomore, he will take over the starting role.

2. Boise State

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    BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 19:  Titus Young #1 kisses and Brandyn Thompson #13 of the Boise State Broncos carries the Milk Can, which is the Boise State - Fresno State rivalry trophy, at Bronco Stadium on November 19, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsi
    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    Kellen Moore's final season at Boise State should be another big one.

    In his career, Moore has thrown for 10,867 yards and 99 touchdowns. Alongside Andrew Luck, he's in contention for the top quarterback in the country.

    You don't often think of Boise State's running game, but last year Doug Martin brought a lot to the table for the team. He ran for 1,260 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Boise State plays in an easy conference, and they know they need to put up a lot of points if they want to be considered for a National Championship bid.

1. Oregon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10: LaMichael James #21 and Darron Thomas #1 of the Oregon Ducks react to the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jona
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Is it possible that Oregon's offense could be even better than it was last year?

    Darron Thomas is a year improved, and he played exceptional last season. His 2,881 yards and 30 touchdowns may have actually been the best attribute to the offense.

    LaMichael James is obviously great. He led the nation in rushing yards at 1,731. He also had 21 rushing touchdowns. He will look to better that this season.

    Kenjon Barner became a great change-of-pace back. From fast to fast. Barber actually finished last season with a better rushing average (6.1) than James (5.9).

    The only downside is that Oregon will lose their two starting wide receivers, Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis. The good news is, they have so much depth at receiver it shouldn't be much of a problem.

    Can they improve off their 47.0 points per game last year? We'll see.


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