Football is one of the most popular and well-known college sports, with big stadiums and fans who care about the game.
But behind all the glitz and glamour of college football is a lot of hard work in the trenches. Playing an offense in football is one of the hardest spots to play in college football.
Are you interested in the best offenses in college football? Then this article is for you. We also have what it takes to play at an offense in college football. This way, you would appreciate these players more. Keep reading.
What are the Most Important Rules in Best Offenses in College Football?
The five most important rules are-
#1. The quarterback as a possible runner
Simple math shows that this is true. In a traditional offense, where the QB is never (or rarely) used as a runner on purpose. The defense already has a number advantage.
For example, when a quarterback takes the snap from the under center and hands it off to a running back, the defense has 11 players who could make the tackle, but the offense only has nine players who can block.
The quarterback doing a bootleg fake to distract a backside defender for a moment can immediately fix this. Once the defender realizes it’s not a pass play, he can run to the ball.
The quarterback is generally seen as a threat when he runs. As such, the defense has to plan for him whether he keeps the ball or not.
That gives the defense a one-man advantage instead of two. Just letting the QB carry the ball and showing that he can get four or five yards per carrying should be enough to force the defense to plan for him as a runner on every play.
The benefit of QB reads in the run game fits well with the general idea of building “optionality” into offensive plays and schemes.
All options have value. This is true in both the theory of finance and the real world of business. Even in football, this is true.
Optionality on offense includes reading a defender in the run game. It may also include option routes in the passing game or using pre-snap hot reads based on tags. They may use RPOs, or just let the QB change the play at the line of scrimmage.
Each of these is different in style, complexity, and how they do it. However, they all have one thing in common. They are to punish a defense for the choices it has made by attacking it where it is weak.
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#3. Ease of use
Simple is good because it makes it easier and faster for players to learn schemes. Research on mastery shows that the less mental energy someone needs to do a basic task, the better they can do it.
Most of the time, players who are thinking about what they should be doing do their jobs slower. They do it less well than those who don’t have to think about too much. They also mess up more often.
If a college football playbook looks like the Houston phone book (remember those?) then it’s likely that the offense is hurting the team in some way. When college football plays are so hard to understand that it takes younger players a long time to learn them, that hurts the team’s depth. It can also cost you something else.
Lastly, and most importantly, offenses that are too complicated put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
The idea of making the defense spread out horizontally and vertically is a core part of offensive strategy.
It has been around since the beginning of time. After all, eleven defenders can only cover so much space. And there have always been only three ways to get past a defender with the ball: go around, over, or through them.
But as football strategies have changed over the years, “spread” offenses like the flexbone look very tight by today’s standards.
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The last principle, pace, might need another trigger warning for football fans. Playing faster can sometimes help all teams in terms of tactics and can help some programs in terms of strategy. Also, all teams can benefit from practicing with pace from a strategic point of view.
By changing the speed of the game, the offense can force the defense to do what it wants. This is not by letting the defense make personnel changes when they get caught off guard by the offense.
By following up successful plays quickly with another play before the defense can react and get back together.
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What are the Basic Principles of the Best Offenses in College Football?
To decide which team gets the ball first at the start of the game, a coin gets flipped. The offense is the team with the ball, and the defense is the other team. A football game lasts an hour, but it usually takes about three hours to play because the clock is often stopped.
The game has quarters that last 15 minutes each. After 30 minutes, there is a big break called half time. The players just switch sides at the end of the first and third quarters.
The ball then moves to the same spot on the other side of the field, and the game goes on. This evens out any advantage the sun or wind might give to one side or the other.
During the 20-minute break between halves, the players leave the field. The game does not pick up where it left off after halftime. Instead, after another kickoff, the team that lost the first coin toss gets the ball first.
At the beginning of each half and after each touchdown or field goal, the defending team puts the ball on a tee at their 35-yard line and kicks it toward the other team. This is the start.
The other team tries to get the ball and run as far as they can with it. If the player who catches the ball can’t run it back, he raises his hand to ask for a “fair catch.” In a fair catch, the defending team can’t tackle him, and he can’t run with the ball.
The offense has four chances, or plays, to move at least 10 yards. When the player with the ball gets stopped, goes out of bounds, or throws the ball and misses, the play is over.
When a player’s knees touch the ground, either because he fell or because he got tackled by an opposing player, the game is over.
The goal of the game is to get more points than the other player. Six points are usually given for a touchdown. After a touchdown, the team tries to get an extra point by kicking the ball through the goal posts.
Most people think that a touchdown is worth 7 points, minus 1 point if the extra point kick gets missed.
Instead of kicking for the extra point, the team that scored the touchdown can try to get the ball back into the other team’s end zone in just one run or pass play.
If this conversion of two points works, they will get two points instead of one. This is more than twice as hard as making an extra point, though.
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Top 15 Best Offenses in College Football
#1. Army Black Knights, 1945
Army was unbeatable for most of three seasons with Glenn “Mr. Outside” Davis and Doc “Mr. Inside” Blanchard (1944-46). They scored 97 touchdowns together. This was a record until Reggie Bush and LenDale White broke it 60 years later. Army Black Knights are one of the best offenses in college football.
The Heisman got to Blanchard in 1945. After coming in second place twice, Davis won the Heisman in 1946. The Cadets scored 56 points per game in 1944, 46 points in 1945, and “only” 26 points per game in 1946.
They did this against the best teams in the country. In 1944, they scored 59 points against No. 5 Notre Dame and 23 points against No. 2 Navy. Then, they stepped it up a notch.
#2. Auburn Tigers, 2010
Cam Newton was Auburn’s biggest problem in 2010. His total offense of 4,327 yards (2,854 passing yards and 1,473 rushing yards) was an SEC single-season record. Newton’s team set a new school record for points, and he was the second-best passer in the country (180.52).
Tim Tebow was the only other player in SEC history with more touchdowns than him, with 51. Tim Tebow was also second with 20 touchdowns on the ground. Michael Dyer ran for 1,000 yards and Ontario McCalebb ran for 800 yards. Lee Ziemba, the best blocker in the SEC, led a great, veteran offensive line.
Newton had a lot of talented receivers to throw to, like Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery. Emory Blake and Philip Lutzenkirchen, who were both younger were also there.
Cam Newton was one of the few players on this list who could not get stopped when the Tigers needed a big play with the game on the line. Auburn Tigers is one of the best offenses in college football.
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#3. Oklahoma. State Cowboys 1988
OSU was doing pretty well in the middle of the 1980s. The Cowboys would have to pay for that with penalties that would ruin their program in the early 1990s. In 1984, 1987, and 1988, they went 10-2.
1988 was not the same. While the ‘Pokes scored 26 points per game in 1984. In 1987, when Thurman Thomas did most of the running, they averaged 34 points per game. In 1988, they got better because they got rid of Thomas. He was going to be in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Colorado and Missouri both lost by 90-42 points. Nebraska beat the Cowboys in Lincoln, but in the middle of the game, OSU scored 42 points. All three teams, Kansas State, Kansas, and Iowa State, lost by a total of 157-79. Texas Tech turned over 45. In the Holiday Bowl, Wyoming gave up 62 points. This is one of the best offenses in college football.
#4. Oregon Ducks, 2010
One of the most powerful, explosive, and fast-paced offenses in league history led the country in scoring and total offense. The Oregon Ducks of 2010 are one of the best offenses in college football.
It was the school’s team with the most points (611), and it played in the school’s first BCS National Championship game.
The offense was then led by first-year quarterback Darron Thomas. He had 2,881 yards, 30 touchdowns, 486 yards rushing, and 5 touchdowns. It also had LaMichael James, who led the country in both rushing and scoring.
James won the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in the country. Jeff Maehl, who had 77 catches for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Kenjon Barner, who was a star back-up, completed the talented offensive duo (1,040 all-purpose yards, 9 total TDs).
The only bad thing about the 2010 Oregon Ducks was that they lost the BCS title game to Auburn by only 19 points. They ran for 75 yards and scored 19 points.
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#5. Oklahoma Sooners, 2008
This Oklahoma team had the most points in NCAA history (716). They are one of the best offenses in college football. They scored at least 35 points before the BCS National Championship game against Florida. On his way to winning the Heisman Trophy, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford broke a lot of records.
Bradford was number one in the country for pass efficiency (180.84). He was number four for the total offense (340.5 ypg). He set school records for yards (4,270) and touchdown passes in a single season (50).
This offense had the fewest turnovers in the country, with only 11. Both DeMarco Murray (1,397 yards from scrimmage and 18 total touchdowns) and Chris Brown (1,000 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns) were 1,000-yard backs (1,329 yards from scrimmage and 21 total TDs). They didn’t play well against Florida in the championship game.
#6. Florida. State Seminoles, 1999
State Seminoles Florida is one of the best offenses in college football. Peter Warrick and Sebastian Janikowski, picked in the first round of the draft, were on this Seminoles team.
After 220 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns, and the MVP trophy for Warrick in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, the winner and undefeated national championship team that beat the dynamic Michael Vick.
Few teams will ever have as many good receivers as Warrick, Ron Dugans, Marvin Minnis, Laveranues Coles, and Anquan Boldin did together. Add Travis Minor, the best kicker in the country, and the NFL eventually picked the fact that three up, and you have one of the top 10 offenses of all time.
#7. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 1983
Turner Gill and Mike Rozier’s feats on offense for Nebraska in 1983 are legendary. If Nebraska hadn’t lost the Orange Bowl, they might be at the top of this list.
Turner Gill and running back Mike Rozier did a great job of running the option play.
When Husker great Irving Fryar played wide receiver, the passing game was off the charts. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are one of the top offenses in college football.
#8. Florida Gators, 2008
Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007. He also won the national championship in 2006. However, his 2008 Gators offense was the best and most successful.
The Gators beat Arkansas, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State, and Alabama by an average of 31.8 points per game after that.
Florida led the SEC in rushing, total offense, and points scored. Percy Harvin, a playmaker, led the SEC in points scored (8.5 ppg). At 172.37, Tebow led the league in how well he passed the ball.
The Chosen One kept his promise by throwing for 231 yards and two touchdowns and running for 109 yards on 22 carries. This helped his team win the BCS Championship game 24-14 over Oklahoma.
The Florida Gators had one of the top offenses in college football.
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#9. Longhorns from Texas, 2005
Vince Young is one of the most exciting college football players we’ve ever seen, and the stats back that up. Texas blew away the competition to get to Pasadena. They averaged more than 50 points per game and scored 60 or more points four times.
In the second week of the season, Texas beat Ohio State in Columbus. They were the first non-conference team to do so in 15 years. About a month later, they beat Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. In the Big 12 Championship, the Longhorns beat Colorado 70–3 to set up the matchup with No. 1 USC. The Rose Bowl title game lived up to all of its hype.
Vince Young had the best BCS National Championship performance ever. Accounting for 84% of Texas’ total offense (467 of 556 yards). They scored the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left to give the Longhorns their fourth national championship. The Horns scored 50.2 points per game, which was a school record. It is one of the top offenses in college football.
#10. Penn State Nittany Lions, 1994
It was a quick-strike offense that no one at PSU or in college football had ever seen before. They ended up scoring an average of 47 points per game, and each scoring drive took about two minutes.
When Ki-Jana Carter, Mike Archie, and Brian Milne weren’t running the ball all over the field, QB Kerry Collins was throwing it all over the field to Bobby Engram, Freddie Scott, and Kyle Brady, among others.
A strong offensive line led by players like Marco Rivera and Jeff Hartings helped the running backs get through and gave Collins time to find an open receiver. The Ohio State Buckeyes, by a score of 62-14, was the most well-known win. It is one of the top offenses in college football.
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#11. Penn State Football- Oklahoma Sooners, 1971
A year after switching to the wishbone, which was by rival Texas, Oklahoma broke all kinds of records with it. When they lost to Nebraska in one of the best games ever, the Sooners were 11-1 and second in the AP poll.
They averaged 472.4 rushing yards per game and 6.8 yards per carrying. They also had an average of 566.5 yards of offense, 44.9 points per game, and 56 touchdowns on the ground. One of the top offenses in college football was theirs.
Greg Pruitt ran 1,760 yards in the Heisman race and came in third. Jack Mildren, the quarterback, ran for 1,279 yards and came in sixth. Leon Crosswhite ran for 744 days. Roy Bell got 625 votes. The Sooners still have the most rushing yards in a season per game.
#12. USC Trojans, 2005
Reggie Bush, a tailback who does everything, led the country in all-purpose yards with 222.3 yards per game. He won the Heisman Trophy for USC for the second year in a row (Leinart, 2004).
The dynamic running back probably won the Heisman trophy after he ran for 513 yards. He also scored a touchdown in a shootout win over a ranked Fresno State team.
After beating their rival UCLA, the Trojans never fell out of the top spot in the polls for the rest of the 2005 season.
They had won 34 straight games when they played Texas in the BCS National Championship game. It was the first time that two Heisman winners played in the same backfield.
In what many people think is the best game ever played, Leinart threw for a title game record 365 yards. However, the Trojan’s defense couldn’t stop Vince Young. This offense had so many good players.
There were three quarterbacks, seven offensive linemen, four running backs, three wide receivers, and two tight ends. In the end, this team was 19 seconds short of being the best college team ever. They are, however, still one of the top offenses in college football.
#13. LSU Tigers, 2019
The LSU Tigers were once one of the top offenses in college football. Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 while he was in the Navy. He had thrown for 1,702 yards and seven touchdowns. Joe Burrow, the quarterback for the Tigers, threw for 1,984 yards and 22 touchdowns in his last five games.
This was part of one of the best individual college football seasons ever. LSU beat seven teams ranked in the top 10, including Big 12 champion Oklahoma. The winners of the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Citrus, Alamo, and Texas bowls, over the year.
The Tigers’ offense won them the National Championship. Even though the defense sometimes had trouble, Joe Burrow was a machine in every game in 2019. They are one of the top offenses in college football.
#14. Miami Hurricanes, 2001
The Miami Hurricanes are one of the top offenses in college football. Even though their offensive numbers aren’t as big as, say, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t the most talented offense ever put together. Ken Dorsey became co-Big East Player of the Year.
He did this despite playing behind an offensive line with five NFL draft picks. There was a backfield with Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee, and Najeh Davenport. There was also a receiving group led by Andre Johnson and Jeremy Shockey. They started by going to Happy Valley and beating Penn State 33-7. They tied the record for the Nittany Lions’ worst home loss under Joe Paterno.
Later, the Canes beat No. 14 Syracuse and No. 12 Washington at the Orange Bowl in back-to-back weeks by a combined score of 124-7. This set an NCAA record for the largest margin of victory over two ranked teams.
They finished the season by beating the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers 37-14 in the Rose Bowl. In the first half, they led 34-0. In 2001, Miami won most of its games by an average of 33.2 points. It is one of the top offenses in college football.
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#15. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 1995
The 1995 Huskers are just one of the top offenses in college football. On their schedule, they played seven teams that finished in the top three. 500, and four of them won at least 10 games. They scored 53 points on average in each game.
In September, they beat Michigan State and Arizona State by a combined score of 127-38. Their perfect regular season ended with a 37-0 win over Oklahoma. This could have been a lot worse. NU scored 49 points on average against those four 10-win teams, while Haplessly Overmatched Foe scored 18.
When you add in the 62 points they scored against an undermanned Florida team in the National Championship game, you have the best offenses in college football history.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Ole Miss has the fastest offense in the country right now. However, Tennessee has had that title more than once this year. In their first five games, the Rebels have run a crazy 2.89 plays per minute.
The offense for Georgia (No. 1 in the SEC East): The Bulldogs might have the best running game in the country. It’s not just Nick Chubb; there are at least four other backs on the team. And as a whole, that offensive line is great at making holes.
In the last few years, no team had a better offense than Alabama. Since 2019, the Crimson Tide has made a huge 0.31 expected points added (EPA) per play. It is by a large margin the most in the Power Five.
Alabama is fifth in the country in scoring offense. Quarterback Bryce Young and his team score an impressive 42.7 points per game, which puts them in fifth place.
On October 7, 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222–0. This was the most points scored by a single team and the biggest win in college football history.
As you can see below, half of the list came from the SEC, including the four fastest players:
Anthony Schwartz, WR for Auburn
LSU cornerback Kary Vincent.
Auburn cornerback Javaris Davis.
Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.
LSU cornerback Derek Stingley.
The top offenses in college football had a lot of skills and trick up their sleeves. With it comes an ancient look at where the experts think the best teams will start the season.
Some teams got left out of this ranking, which made people scratch their heads. Some others may have got too much credit.
- theringer.com– Best college offense
- ncaa.com– top college offense all-time
- si.com– top college offense all-time
- sportingnews.com– college offense all-time
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