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2011 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings, Offenses
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 16, 2011


CFN 2011 Preview Unit Rankings from top to bottom - Offenses


Preview 2011 - Unit Rankings

Offenses


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2011 CFN Preseason Rankings
 
1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50
51 to 60 | 61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 120

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CFN 2011 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries  | Special Teams  
- Preview 2011 | 2010 Unit Rankings

Note: This is based on talent, returning starters, and skill. It’s not necessarily based on what the final total offense statistics will be.

1. Oklahoma State
Can the offense continue to blow up without Dana Holgorsen? The former offensive coordinator took over the head coaching job at West Virginia, and new coordinator Todd Monken has all the pressure on his shoulders to keep the nation’s No. 3 offense, No. 3 scoring offense, and No. 2 passing attack rolling. There’s no excuse for the offense to not be unstoppable, with Justin Blackmon back to lead a devastating receiving corps that might be the best in the nation. Veteran quarterback Brandon Weeden knows what he’s doing and has the arm to keep the passing game bombing away, and he’ll get more time to work with all five starters returning up front. The only question mark is at running back where Kendall Hunter is gone, but Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith have terrific upside.

2. Oklahoma
Offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell have a loaded group of veterans to deal with, and it all starts with QB Landry Jones and a passing game that should finish among the five best in America. Ryan Broyles is an all-timer of a wide receiver talent who’ll be flanked by Kenny Stills and a slew of extremely talented targets. The backfield loses do-it-all runner DeMarco Murray, but there should be more of a running back-by-committee approach with several good sophomores and a top recruit in Brandon Williams who could be another Murray as a receiver as well as a runner. The line gets back four starters, but doesn’t have any sure-thing all-stars to work everything around. Consistency will be the key for an attack that should be able to blow up for 500 yards game in and game out on the passing game along. Watch out for Jones to go from very good to Heisman-worthy.

3. Oregon
Chip Kelly’s spread offense reached a new level of potency and proficiency in 2010 … with a first-year starting quarterback calling the signals. Now that Darron Thomas is seasoned and All-American RB LaMichael James opted to return for another year, expectations are high for the Quack Attack to approach last season’s 47 points and 530 yards a game. However, unbridled success won’t come without a few new hurdles in 2011. Departed WR Jeff Maehl is an irreplaceable cog in the passing game and three starters are gone from the O-line, including an all-league center and left tackle. There could be a few early hiccups, especially in the opener with LSU, but there’s still enough talent on the field and on the sidelines for Oregon to again be among the country’s highest-scoring teams.

4. Texas A&M
Only in the Big 12 could an offense averaged 442 yards and 32 points per game and still be mediocre. No, the attack wasn’t a disappointment last year, but it was inconsistent and it had to rely on some major in-season changes. There was a quarterback switch, star RB Christine Michael got hurt, and the line needed about half the season before it all came together. Now the numbers should be off the charts as Ryan Tannehill has the quarterback job all to himself and gets a loaded receiving corps to throw to. Jeff Fuller, Ryan Swope, and Uzoma Nwachukwu form a tremendous pass catching trio, while the combination of a healthy Michael and 1,133-yard rusher Cyrus Gray forms a potentially devastating tandem in the backfield. The question will be the line, which is full of veterans, size, and options, but needs the young tackles need to keep improving. The pass protection has to be night-and-day better than it was in 2010.

5. Wisconsin
Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst had an awful Rose Bowl – KEEP RUNNING THE BALL! – but he and the Badger offense had a special season highlighted by the 83-point explosion against Indiana and the 70 hung up on Northwestern to finish fifth in the nation in scoring with the ground game dominating and the passing game the Big Ten’s most efficient. QB Scott Tolzien is gone, but getting Russell Wilson from NC State might turn out to be an upgrade who brings more mobility to the attack to go along with his bombing skills. Of course, as always, the Badgers will pound away with the running game. John Clay might be done, but Montee Ball and James White form a devastating 1-2 rushing attack. Outland winner Gabe Carimi and all-star guard John Moffitt will be missed, but the Badgers offensive line is big, strong, and should be dominant again with three unsung starters back and more big blockers ready to fill in the gaps. Tight end Lance Kendricks is off to the NFL, but WR Nick Toon is expected to do even more if he can stay healthy. The key, though, is Wilson, who makes the Badgers instant Big Ten title contenders again.

6. Missouri
The offense loses a first round NFL-caliber quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, and it could be even better. Even with Gabbert, it’s not like the offense was an unstoppable machine finishing sixth in the Big 12 in yards and eighth in scoring. Gabbert was a special talent, but Mizzou still finished 64th in the nation and ninth in the league in passing efficiency. As long as James Franklin is merely above-average as the new starting quarterback, and he will be, the Tigers could go ballistic. All four starters return on the line, all the targets are back in the receiving corps, including the devastating 1-2 punch of T.J. Moe and tight end Michael Egnew, and backs Kendial Lawrence and De’Vion Moore are a dangerously quick tandem. Consistency has been a problem for the attack over the last few seasons, but there’s too much experience returning to not be terrific.

7. Arkansas
The offense was devastating last season finishing ninth in the nation in total yards, fourth in passing and 17th in scoring. Even with the early departure of Ryan Mallett to the NFL, the offense could be even stronger if the line can come together right away. The Hogs had the same starting five up front for all 13 games, and now they have to replace three players and have to deal with some major position battles to find the right combination. Tyler Wilson is more than ready to be the star of the passing show, and he should be brilliant if he gets time. An argument could be made that the stable of running backs, even with star back Knile Davis out , is the deepest (and possibly the biggest) in America, and if the receiving corps isn’t college football’s best, it’s in the team photo.

8. Stanford
Stanford is in the midst of its best two-year offensive run in school history. When QB Andrew Luck opted to return for his junior year, it increased the likelihood that that trend will continue in 2011. The Cardinal has been unstoppable of late and almost perfectly balanced, getting production from the passing of Luck and a power running game, most recently from Stepfan Taylor. The objective will be to keep the locomotive on the tracks in a year that the staff has turned over and there’s a need for help at wide receiver and along the offensive line. The fact that new head coach David Shaw was the program’s offensive coordinator for the last four seasons is a huge plus in the area of continuity. The tight ends, led by Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz, and Levine Toilolo, are among the deepest in America, but the passing game still needs gamebreaker Chris Owusu to be healthy for an entire year.

9. Alabama
Last year the big concerns revolved around the defense and replacing all the key stars. Now the spotlight will be on an offense that loses the three top skill players and has to reload in a hurry. While averaging 444 yards and 36 points per game is hardly anything to be upside about, the offense should’ve done more considering the experience and with the talent returning up front, but there are plenty of things to get excited about. The line was mediocre, but now it should be better with four returning starters and a good group of backups to count on. The running game might miss Mark Ingram, but Trent Richardson is more than ready to grow into a Heisman-caliber superstar if he can stay healthy. The loss of Julio Jones from the receiving corps means Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks have to become special to help out new starting quarterback. While A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims might have more talent than Greg McElroy, the new options have to prove they can be as heady and as efficient.

10. South Carolina
Some key pieces to the offensive line are gone, and it’s going to take a while before the right combination is found up front, but the pieces are in place for the Gamecocks to have one of the nation’s deadliest attacks. QB Stephen Garcia is a heady veteran who has been through all the wars, and while he has to cut down on his interceptions and his mistakes, he’s a tremendous leader who knows what he’s doing. It’s easier to be a great quarterback with a back like Marcus Lattimore to hand off to and a receiver in Alshon Jeffery, along with a huge receiving corps, to throw to. It’s not a stretch to call Lattimore and Jeffery the two best players in the SEC, and as long as they’re healthy the offense should shine. The key will be a line that hasn’t protected the quarterback in several years and needs to quickly develop a few quality young prospects to figure out what the best starting five is.

COULD EASILY BE IN TOP TEN

Auburn SEC
Baylor Big 12
Florida SEC
Florida State ACC 
LSU SEC
Michigan Big Ten
Notre Dame Ind
Ohio State Big Ten
Ole Miss SEC
Tennessee SEC
USC Pac-12 
Virginia Tech ACC 


SOLID, WILL BE A POSITIVE

Arizona Pac-12 
Arizona State Pac-12
Boise State M-West
BYU Ind
California Pac-12 
Clemson ACC
Georgia SEC
Houston C-USAW
Iowa Big Ten
Miami   ACC 
Michigan State Big Ten
Mississippi State SEC
Nebraska Big Ten 
Northern Illinois MAC
TCU M-West
Texas Big 12
Texas Tech Big 12
Utah   Pac-12 
Washington   Pac-12
West Virginia   Big East

AVERAGE

Air Force M-West
Boston College ACC
Cincinnati Big East
Colorado   Pac-12 
Connecticut Big East
East Carolina C-USAE
Fresno State WAC
Georgia Tech ACC
Illinois Big Ten
Kansas State Big 12
Kentucky SEC
Maryland  ACC
Minnesota Big Ten
NC State ACC
Nevada WAC
North Carolina ACC
Northwestern Big Ten
Oregon State Pac-12 
Penn State Big Ten
Pitt Big East
Purdue Big Ten
San Diego State M-West
SMU C-USA
South Florida Big East
Syracuse Big East
UCLA  Pac-12 
Vanderbilt SEC
Virginia   ACC
Wake Forest ACC
West Virginia Big East


NEEDS WORK

Arkansas State Sun Belt
Army Ind
Central Michigan MAC
FIU Sun Belt
Hawaii WAC
Idaho WAC
Indiana  Big Ten
Iowa State Big 12
Kansas Big 12
Louisiana Tech WAC
Louisville  Big East
Miami Univ. MAC
Navy ind
Rutgers  Big East
Southern Miss C-USA
Temple MAC
Toledo MAC
Troy Sun Belt
Tulsa C-USA
UAB C-USA
UCF C-USA
Utah State WAC
Washington State Pac-12
Western Kentucky Sun Belt
Western Michigan MAC
 
A PROBLEM

Ball State MAC
Bowling Green MAC
Colorado State M-West
Florida Atlantic Sun Belt
Kent State MAC
Middle Tennessee Sun Belt
New Mexico   M-West
North Texas Sun Belt
Ohio   MAC
Rice C-USA
Tulane C-USA
UL Lafayette Sun Belt
UL Monroe Sun Belt

THE BOTTOM TEN

Akron MAC
Buffalo MAC
Eastern Michigan MAC
Marshall C-USA
Memphis C-USA
New Mexico State WAC
San Jose State WAC
UNLV M-West
UTEP C-USA
Wyoming M-West

CFN 2011 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries  | Special Teams  
- Preview 2011 | 2010 Unit Rankings