Ranking offenses can go a number of different ways. You can base teams off scoring offense or total offense, but it’s ultimately how many points you score that will make the difference. Would you rather have the most explosive offense or the most balanced offense? Doesn’t really matter as long as you win, right?
The offensive rankings are a simple algorithm based largely on projection and assumption. Scientific isn’t it?
1. Texas A&M
Texas A&M and Georgia will go toe-to-toe for the most explosive, highest scoring offenses in the SEC. Behind Johnny Manziel and Aaron Murray, these offenses will throw it all over the yard, but both have very deep backfields and great receiving corps. The Aggies scored 78 touchdowns last year, compared to Georgia’s 71. Don’t expect a drop off from either, assuming everyone stays healthy and eligible.
The Tide threw for 3,052 yards and ran for 3,185 yards in 2012, making for an unbelievably balanced offense. The epitome of the balance came against Notre Dame. Bama ran for 265 yards while throwing for 264 en route to back-to-back championships. AJ McCarron, TJ Yeldon and Amari Cooper lead the most balanced offensive attack in the country. Doug Nussmeier’s offense averaged of 38 points per game last season, the highest of the Nick Saban era. Would you rather be balanced or explosive?
A trio to watch
4. Ole Miss
6. South Carolina
Ole Miss finished 5th in the SEC in total offense, up from 11th in 2011. It was a remarkable turnaround, and Hugh Freeze’s hurry-up was difficult for coaches to prepare for and adjust to. Bo Wallace has returning starters all around him, including a deep backfield and big-play receivers…The Gus Bus is back on The Plains, and Auburn’s offense should turn around immediately. Nick Marshall flashed big-play ability in JUCO, and the Tigers have a talented and deep backfield with Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne. The running game could be great…Anytime Steve Spurrier is calling the plays, there’s a chance for a great offense. This should be Carolina’s best offensive line yet, and Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson have a cast of receivers, including Bruce Ellington, to throw to. Don’t forget the Gamecocks are 9-1 without Marcus Lattimore in the last two years, so the running game shouldn’t have a drop off. I like Carolina’s balance.
Next level trio
8. Mississippi State
Mizzou’s offense went from 12th in total offense in the country in 2011 to 11th in the SEC in 2012. With a healthy O-line, James Franklin and Henry Josey, the Tigers should be better. Don’t forget about one of the most talented receiving corps in the SEC, featuring Dorial Green-Beckham. They just need someone to get them the football…Dan Mullen has to get back to running the football with his talented backs. State went away from the ground game down the stretch of last season. The offensive line should be strong, along with Tyler Russell. However, replacing the top three receivers could be more difficult than anticipated, particularly early in the season. Nonetheless, State’s offense has a chance to be better than last year’s…The Commodores replace QB Jordan Rodgers with Austyn Carta-Samuels and return a good O-line, three versatile running backs and a solid receiving corps featuring Jordan Matthews. Vanderbilt’s offense surprised last year, but they’ll be without WR Chris Boyd.
LSU and Florida both play punishing run-heavy schemes. Don’t expect that to change too much. Both offenses stand to take a step forward depending largely on the development of LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Florida’s Jeff Driskel. LSU and Florida finished 10th and 12th respectively in total offense last season. But make no mistake about it — these two understand that winning starts on defense.
Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky are enduring scheme changes. The most significant is Tennessee, which is a historically pro-style offensive program. Butch Jones is installing the spread, and although Justin Worley got the nod for opening week, the bigger surprise will be who starts game two. Arkansas will have to lean on their good O-line, stable running backs and a ball-controlled offense. Kentucky switches to the Air Raid under Neal Brown. The evolution of all three offenses is a major storyline for 2013.
Photo Credit: Spruce Derden‚ÄìUSA TODAY Sports