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Okay, Who Should Have the Most Explosive Offense in College Football for 2020?

We took a semi-scientific look at a list that came out and applied the answers we thought fit to see who should have the most explosive offense in college football this upcoming season.

STILLWATER -- This time of year there is always speculation and projections for the upcoming college football season. The days following the Fourth of July are always filled with the drooling anticipation of the start of fall camp and the lead up to the opening weekend of college football. Unfortunately, this summer that lead-up is tangled with the negative aspects of America dealing with the pandemic of COVID-19 and how the spiking numbers, particularly in football states through the southeast to the southwest have every fan of teams from the Gators to the Tide to the Cowboys, Sun Devils, and right on through the Trojans and up the Pacific coast to the Ducks and Huskies wondering if there will be any football at all. We all know the Pac-12 and Big Ten have opted for conference games only. 

Still, there is anticipation and discussion and this morning (July 18) somebody text me this Twitter entry from a source I'd never heard of, but in this day and age there are all kinds of sources, everybody a blogger. 

I found it interesting, at least the premise. As the suggestion at the bottom of "Agree? Disagree? Retweet and Reply!" suggests, it is open for interpretation and opinion. Pokes Report provided both.

So, here is how I attacked this. This week kicked off "watch list" week with some of the major college football awards announcing their 2020 preseason watch lists. Among those were the Davey O'Brien (quarterback), Doak Walker (running back), Biletnikoff (receiver), and just the day before, the John Mackey (tight end). 

I thought, let's see which teams have players listed on the watch lists for all four of those major offensive awards. Surely, teams with that kind of anticipated firepower would belong on the list for college football's most exciting offenses for this season. While not scientific, it does rely on numbers that have actually happened on the field. 

There are six schools, four on the proposed list above, that have a candidate on the watch list for all four of those offensive skill position awards. Here are those schools and their candidates.

School Davey O'Brien (QB) candidateDoak Walker (RB) candidateBiletnikoff (Rec.) candidateJohn Mackey (TE) candidate


Mac Jones

Najee Harris

DeVonta Smith/Jaylon Waddle

Carl Tucker

Boise State

Hank Bachmeier

George Holani

Khalil Shakir

John Bates


Jamie Newman

James Cook/Zamir White

George Pickens

Tre McKitty

Iowa State

Brock Purdy

Breece Hall

Charlie Kolar

Charlie Kolar

Oklahoma State

Spencer Sanders

Chuba Hubbard

Tylan Wallace

Jelani Woods

Penn State

Sean Clifford

Journey Brown/Noah Cain

Pat Freiermuth

Pat Freiermuth

Okay, now injuries and other facets come into the next step on our process. We added up all the yards that each of the players were responsible for and some of those are duplicate numbers where quarterbacks teamed up in the passing game for yards and touchdowns. The only fair way, especially with Jamie Newman being a transfer that racked up huge numbers at Wake Forest last season, is to count everybody independently.  

Some of the factors at play. For Alabama, Mac Jones only played quarterback primarily after Tua Tagovailoa was injured. At Oklahoma State, both quarterback Spencer Sanders and wide receiver Tylan Wallace missed chucks of the season with injuries. A few guys didn't play much and were put on the watch lists based more on potential. 

Anyway, here are those returning yards and touchdowns. The numbers are interesting as we ranked them in order. 

SchoolReturning Yards (from Award candidates)Returning Touchdowns (from Award candidates)



56 touchdowns

Iowa State


51 touchdowns

Oklahoma State


58 touchdowns

Penn State


55 touchdowns



48 touchdowns

Boise State


31 touchdowns

Based on our numbers Georgia might have the edge, although Oklahoma State does have the most returning touchdowns and Spencer Sanders and Tylan Wallace playing a full season would rack up a lot more yards. Sanders' development is a key for Oklahoma State. 

Oklahoma is not on our list because they did not have a Davey O'Brien Award watch list candidate, but that should come the first time that list is added to during the season and the Sooners have plenty of firepower with Kennedy Brooks (Walker), Charleston Rambo (Biletnikoff), and Austin Stogner (Mackey) already on the other lists. 

Let's just hope that a season gets played, so we will know the real answer to the most explosive offense at the end of the season.