Everyone who does college football betting even a little bit knows which high profile offenses are going to be potent. Boise State won’t sneak up on anyone this year, and teams like Texas, Florida, and Ohio State never do. Most people probably know that teams like Houston are going to pile up the points, too. For bettors, knowing about those offenses and what they are capable of isn’t going to provide much of an edge. What is potentially far more powerful, though, is being aware of the potentially potent offenses that aren’t on the public radar. If you know that an offense if far more capable than most people seem to think then you can be in good shape whether you are betting sides or totals on the college football over under line. Here are four teams that have potentially potent offenses this year:
Utah State – Gary Andersen is in his second year of coaching Utah State, and he’s building a very solid program. Andersen was the defensive coordinator for the undefeated Utah team in 2008, so he clearly knows his football. The defense is still a work in progress for the Aggies, but Andersen inherited some nice pieces on offense, and he has added to them well, so he has the potential to make some magic this year. The centerpiece of that potential is senior QB Diondre Borel. Borel doesn’t get much attention because he plays for an anonymous WAC team and Kellen Moore gets all the attention in the conference, but he has some serious game. He has started two years already, and he has shown real improvement. He can throw the ball well, he avoids errors, his accuracy is solid and improving, and he’s a real danger to tuck the ball and run. In a bigger program he’d be a well known name. He has a promising group of receivers to throw to this year, including three junior college transfers. The running game should be good as well, and the offensive line should be much improved from last year. The team averaged better than 29 points per game last year, and there is every indication that they will improve significantly on that this year.
UTEP – The Miners have had a brutal defense and that has caused them some woes recently. What people don’t always notice, though, is that that defense is paired with a brilliant offense. The defense should be solidly improved this year as well, so this is a team to keep an eye on. Two guys are at the heart of this offense. Senior QB Trevor Vittatoe is a very good QB who, like Borel, is in a conference where another pivot – Case Keenum in this case – captures all of the attention. Vittatoe has NFL potential, and he can throw it around like crazy. He’s a pocket passer who has an uncanny ability to stand up to any rush and wait until the last possible second to find a receiver. The yin to Vittatoe’s yang is senior running back Donald Buckram. He rushed for 1600 yards and 18 TDs last year, and has worked hard at getting stronger this year, so big things could be in store. Add in a strong offensive line and a deep receiving corps and you have an offense ready for some serious success in a conference that is typically vulnerable to strong offenses.
Purdue – The season for the Boilermakers last year wasn’t nearly as their 5-7 record suggests – it was the first year under coach Danny Hope, they lost a lot of close games, and they upset Ohio State. This year they still won’t be a factor in the Big Ten, but they should be able to score some points which could make them a popular college football sports picks for gamblers. The most obvious reason for optimism is at QB where Miami transfer Robert Marve takes over. He has had a year to learn the system and he can play. It’s also important to note that Joey Elliott put up some nice numbers at QB last year – 3000 yards and 22 TDs – in his first and only year as a starter, so Hope clearly can get a quarterback comfortable and effective quickly. Marve will have some nice options at receiver – most notably senior Keith Smith, a guy who will play on Sundays. The running game is going to be decent as well.
Stanford – Stanford will be less of a surprise than the rest of the teams on this list obviously, but I still think they are worth including. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how difficult it will be to replace Toby Gerhart. I think Gerhart should have won the Heisman, so he will obviously be missed. I actually think his departure comes at a good time, though. First, the team is left with some good talent at running back, so the running threat won’t just disappear. More significantly, when Gerhart was there he was so good that you had to give him a lot of carries, but now that he is gone it opens up the opportunities to pass more. I like Jake Locker at Washington, but in my eyes Stanford’s Andrew Luck is the best quarterback in this conference and it’s not close. In his first year last year Luck was shockingly good, and he’s only going to get better with experience – and with the influence of Jim Harbaugh. He has his three top receivers back from last year as well, so he can just pick up where he finished off last year. Luck is going to have a huge year in a vulnerable Pac-10. I am not at all convinced that people know how good this offense could be, or what the team is capable of in a conference that is as wide open as a conference can be.