Bryce Petty, Jared Barber

College offenses keep pushing the envelope

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The Oregon Ducks are averaging an amazing 630 yards of total offense per game.

The Oregon Ducks are second in the nation in total offense…and it’s not close.

The previous two sentences should be incongruous, but they are not. They are merely a byproduct of the offensive revolution that has come to dominate college football of late.

Six weeks into the 2013 season, an astounding 19 teams averaging at least 500 yards of offense per game. The Baylor Bears lead the way with an absurd 780 yards per game. By comparison, just two teams finished the season averaging over 500 yards per game in 2009.

Granted, it is still in the early going so the numbers are partially a reflection of opponent strength (or lack thereof), but it’s worth noting that back in 2005 everyone went absolutely ga-ga over a USC offense that averaged 613 yards of offense through six games. The fact that the Trojans averaged 50 points per game that year was also supposed to be a big deal. Mind you, that was an offense loaded with arguably the best personnel ever on one unit — Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, a star-studded offensive line, two second-round receivers and so on. But that team’s production was primarily the result of USC out-talenting its opponents.

Baylor has a nice collection of players, with two legitimate Heisman candidates (Bryce Petty and Lache Seastrunk) and a budding Biletnikoff contender (Antwan Goodley), but it doesn’t have an NFL player at every position like that USC team did.  Its incredible offensive output — 71 points per game?? — can mostly be attributed to the schemes and machinations of head coach Art Briles. Without Briles, Baylor would be just another Big 12 doormat.

And it’s about time people recognize that. Football commentators like to say it’s all about the Jimmies and the Joes, but they’re wrong: The X’s and the O’s matter, too, especially in college football. It’s not like Clemson would be as proficient on offense if it ran out of a Power I formation, would it? Would Baylor be the only team without a three-and-out in college football if it utilized a pro-style attack? Would Oregon be what it is today if it had run the West Coast Offense all these years?

No way.

Scouring the top 20 teams in total offense, only three run what are usually referred to as ‘conventional’ offenses, meaning with the quarterback primarily taking snaps from under center and with the offense huddling before every play.

The evidence in favor of the effectiveness of spread-style systems is so compelling, it’s a wonder that more elite schools don’t go full bore in this direction (Florida was one that did and it won two titles). Imagine if the USC offense of 2005 — or even 2011 — had run the Briles scheme. Or if Alabama emulated what Oregon does on offense. Those two teams running those schemes with their talent level would rewrite the offensive record books and probably never lose.

Of course, we’ll never see that happen because programs like USC or Alabama want to win the way they’ve always won, even at the risk of not optimizing their production. In the meantime, college offenses keep improving to the point where teams that would normally be excluded from the national conversation — the Oregons, the Baylors, the Texas A&Ms, the Clemsons, etc. — are now dominating it.

Better get used to it.

Ex-Ohio State lineman to continue career at Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13:  Fans of the Cincinnati Bearcats cheer on their team at the start of the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Less than two weeks after leaving Ohio State, Grant Schmidt has a new college football home — and he won’t even have to leave the state to get there.

Citing university sources, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Schmidt will continue his collegiate playing career at Cincinnati.  The offensive lineman had indicated earlier this month that the Bearcats would be his landing spot.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Schmidt will be forced to sit out the 2016 season.  He would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

A three-star member of OSU’s 2015 recruiting class, 247Sports.com rated Schmidt as the No. 52 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of South Dakota.  Schmidt was the first player from that state to sign with the Buckeyes, but he failed to become the first to play in a game as he didn’t see the field during his brief stint in Columbus.

Schmidt’s mid-May move was believed to be related to a logjam along the offensive line and his failure to make a dent on the depth chart during spring practice.

Josh Rosen, on UCLA’s $280 million deal: ‘we’re still amateurs though … gotta love non-profits’

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins runs back to the bench after he threw a touchdown pass to Kenneth Walker III against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Here’s to guessing that, right or wrong, Jim Mora won’t be pleased with his young quarterback’s latest social media foray.

Late last week, the UCLA head coach used the public airwaves to help “guide” Josh Rosen down the straight and narrow.  Specifically, in regards to the Freshman All-American infamous “f**k Trump” cap flap this offseason, Mora stated that the rising sophomore was “heading towards Johnny Manziel” territory with stunts like that.

Hyperbole?  Yes.  But Rosen is seemingly hellbent on giving Mora further reason to continue down his odd “Money Manziel” path.

Shortly after it was reported that UCLA was set to sign a record-breaking $280 million apparel deal with Under Armour, Rosen took to social media to offer up some snark on the financial windfall that will line the pockets of the athletic department — and which the student-athletes won’t get a sniff.

We’re still amateurs though … Gotta love non-profits #NCAA

A photo posted by Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) on May 24, 2016 at 8:53am PDT

(The tweet above was retweeted on Rosen’s personal Twitter account)

Coming from a kid who had a hot tub in his dorm his freshman season and whose parents graduated from Ivy League schools — one’s a surgeon — it might not be the actual money but the principle that has Rosen feeling feisty.  Whether his head coach gets just as feisty on his own JFF moral high ground in return remains to be seen.

UCLA set to announce record-setting deal with Under Armour

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In July of last year, Michigan’s reported apparel deal with Nike set a then-record of $169 million over 15 years (the final figure came in at just shy of $174 million).

Four months after UM’s new deal was reported, news surfaced that Texas’ new contract with Nike would be worth $250 million over 15 years.  In January of this year, Ohio State announced its new deal with Nike, an agreement that will pay that school upwards of $252 million over 15 years.  Four months later?  There’s a new unofficial record-holder.

According to ESPN.com‘s Darren Rovell, “Under Armour and UCLA will announce a 15-year schoolwide shoe and apparel deal worth $280 million” later Tuesday.  Scout.com is also reporting the same financial parameters of an agreement between the two entities.

From the latter’s report:

UCLA’s agreement with Under Armour, too, will be unique in the details, providing UCLA a vast amount of benefits that are reportedly unequaled in other apparel agreements. For one, we’ve learned that the money is guaranteed, and doesn’t include royalties, which is a significant difference.

UCLA’s athletic program’s have been aligned with adidas since 1999.  A press conference to announce the switch to Under Armour is set for 3 p.m. ET.

OL Tyler Grimsley opts to transfer from Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: The Miami Hurricanes mascot, Sebastian the Ibis leads the players onto the field for their game against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on September 15, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Hurricanes defeated the Wildcats 38-10. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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The Miami Hurricanes had two late additions to its 2014 recruiting class: Joe Brown and Tyler Grimsley.

In January, Brown opted to transfer from the Hurricanes.  Four months later?  Lather, rinse, repeat for Grimsley.

In a press release, the Hurricanes announced that Grimsley has opted to transfer out of first-year head coach Mark Richt‘s football program.  No reason was given for the offensive lineman’s decision to move on to another, unspecified program.

“Tyler has decided to transfer away from our football program in the hopes of gaining more playing time,” Richt said in a statement. “I certainly respect his decision and I wish him nothing but the best in his future college football career.”

Grimsley took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The following season, the school described the lineman as a key member of the team’s practice squad in 2015.