Preseason ranking the Top 10 Offenses in college football 2016
10). Tulsa Hurricanes
In its first season under former Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, Tulsa was 13th nationally in offensive yardage per game and made it to a bowl game. Montgomery was trained well by former Baylor head coach Art briles and for the fireworks to continue the Golden Hurricane must replace some key playmakers in Zack Langer and Keyarris Garrett, but quarterback Dane Evans has a chance to post ridiculous numbers during his second year in Montgomery’s system. It should be fun year in Tulsa and they could surprise some people.
Mason Rudolph threw for 3,770 yards last season, and he’ll have another year to fine-tune the partnership he has with big-play receiving threat James Washington. The rising junior averaged more than 20 yards per reception and scored 10 touchdowns for an Oklahoma State receiving corps that returns a handful of experienced weapons, including senior Marcell Ateman.
Maybe more important than all that is the fact that the Cowboys return their entire offensive line this year. The only question will be the running back position which hopefully for the Cowboys will be taken care of by transfer Barry Sanders Jr.
8). Boise State
Brett Rypien took over the starting quarterback job as a true freshman and threw for 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols also scored 20 touchdowns of his own on the ground and added six more as part of a passing game that returns its top two receivers.
The offensive line returns almost completely in tact, and all signs point to a bounce-back season for Boise State and a possible surge under a new-look staff of offensive assistants.
Oregon’s hyper-speed scheme will presumably have another FCS transfer leading the way at quarterback with Montana State pickup Dakota Prukop. The former Bobcat fits the dual-threat mold of past Duck signal-callers quite nicely, and he is already on campus preparing for the upcoming season.
The running game will be lead by star running back Royce Freeman, who probably had the quietest 1,800-yard season of any rusher in college football history. Oregon can spell Freeman with a number of young speedsters at running back, and they’ll have six of their top seven players in receiving yardage back for another year.
6). Western Michigan
Zach Terrell is coming off his second straight season of 3,000 or more passing yards and 26 touchdowns through the air. Star receiver Corey Davis, who has racked up at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last two years, will be back to climb the national leaderboards in 2016. the Broncos will have to find a couple receivers who can come up with big seasons, but if they do this team could have a huge breakout season.
They running game maybe even more impressive going two-deep with former MAC Freshman of the Year Jamauri Bogan and the additional versatile threat of LeVante Bellamy. Bogan was a huge surprise in 2015 for the Broncos, who still got solid production out of 2014 star Jarvion Franklin. Together, they make a fierce, three-headed rushing menace for the Broncos.
P.J.Fleck the Broncos head coach maybe a little crazy, but with him at the helm of this much talent, watch out for the Broncos!
5). Houston Cougars
It all starts for the Cougars with dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr. Ward had more than half of Houston’s 75 touchdowns last season by himself, and he nearly cracked the 4,000-yard mark in total offense despite missing time due to injury. His potential after another offseason of preparation with a coach like Tom Herman could be through the roof!
Most of the offensive line will return as will his number 2-5 receivers, so while they will have to fill a couple spots, my bet is Coach Herman is up to the challenge.
This team could be a national title contender, but the defense will probably keep them from pulling that off.
4). Clemson Tigers
If you thought Clemson was good last year wait until you see them this year. The Tigers return eight starters from the offense that pushed Alabama’s top-ranked defense to the brink in Glendale, Arizona. That crew, which averaged more than 500 yards and nearly five touchdowns per game, is led by early Heisman front-runner Deshaun Watson and underrated 1,500-yard rusher Wayne Gallman.
The Tigers lost No. 2 receiver Charone Peake, but they’ll pick up former No. 1 receiver Mike Williams, who missed almost all of 2015 due to a scary neck injury suffered during the season opener. Williams had more than 1,000 yards on just 57 catches in 2014, when Watson only played in eight games.
They do lose to starters on the offensive line, but should be okay with the depth they have. Don’t bet against them getting back to the final four this year.
3). Texas Tech
Mahomes is back for just his junior year of leading the Red Raiders offense. He’s thrown 52 touchdowns and just 19 interceptions in the last two years, and he completed 63.5 percent of his passes for a Texas Tech team that went bowling in 2015.
The Red Raiders did lose two of their best receivers last year, but the Red Raiders added a pair of tall, 4-star receivers, to a unit that already returns its No. 2, 3 and 4 targets from 2015.
The offensive line will need to improve quickly, but with the Red Raiders since the days of Mike Leach you know they will figure out a way to put points on the board.
2). North Carolina
Marquise Williams was an explosive talent at quarterback, backup Mitch Trubisky was nearly perfect in his work last season for the Tar Heels. He completed 85 percent of his 47 passes and didn’t throw a single interception.
What’s even better for Trubisky is that he’ll inherit star running back Elijah Hood and three of the top four receivers from North Carolina’s uptempo run to the ACC Championship Game last season. Trubisky should be able to sling the ball effectively all over the field behind an offensive line that returns four players with good starting experience.
It is difficult replacing a QB as good as Williams, but I believe Trubisky has the talent to get the job done. His job will be made much easier with RB Hood lined up behind him to relieve the pressure.
1). Oklahoma Sooners
Just when you thought maybe Coach Stoops days might be numbered at Oklahoma he completely reinvents his offense. The switch to Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid scheme was a resounding success in Norman last season, as Oklahoma rebounded from a frustrating 2014 campaign to a 2015 season that ended with a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth.
Baker Mayfield, an equally efficient and dangerous dual-threat quarterback who made a serious run at being a Heisman Trophy finalist. Mayfield had more than 4,000 yards and 43 touchdowns for the Sooners, and he’ll be able to lean on the breakout talents of Dede Westbrook and tight end Mark Andrews this fall.
Oklahoma has a quality deep offensive line, look for a return to the final four that may just end one game later this year.