Look around college football and you’ll see lots of exciting offenses run by coaches who like to spread the field and crank up the tempo.
It’s been the trend for some time and it has invaded the ACC with coaches like Jimbo Fisher, Dabo Swinney, Bobby Petrino, and Larry Fedora joining the conference in recent years.
Now they’re joined by Dino Babers and Justin Fuente who have both introduced themselves with big results early in their new tenures.
The ACC currently has seven quarterbacks ranked in the top 26 in the nation in passing yards, with three of those in the top ten.
Eric Dungey (5th), Mitch Trubisky (6th), and Lamar Jackson (10th) are all off to fast starts, but so are plenty of others.
— OXVT (@OX_VT) October 4, 2016
Prefer the ground game? Four schools sit in the top 25 in rushing offense including Pittsburgh, a team we’ve yet to mention that has averaged 250 yards per game with a slew of talented tailbacks.
Six programs have averaged 40 points or more per contest to this point. Louisville is second in the nation with 58 PPG and Miami is fourth with 47 PPG.
Look at it this way, Clemson is currently ranked No. 3 in the country and yet the Tigers are seventh in the conference in total offense. That’s some pretty good depth.
Perhaps most impressive is the rapid shift to scoring points in upstate New York. The Orange are only 2-2 but gave Notre Dame plenty of trouble in a shootout last weekend and the Babers attack is the reason. Well, that and Eric Dungey.
The sophomore quarterback has thrown for 1,730 yards with 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His favorite target has been senior Amba Etta-Tawo who is absolutely lighting defenses up. He has 47 catches for 840 yards and six touchdowns in just five games.
To say those guys are off to a record-setting pace is an understatement.
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) October 3, 2016
The difference is clear in Blacksburg as well, where the fresh offensive ideas of Justin Fuente have clicked sooner than most expected.
JUCO transfer quarterback Jerod Evans is leading the ACC and is currently fourth in the nation in passing efficiency (185.8) thanks largely to his ratio of 13 touchdowns to just one interception.
With Tech’s thin, but top-heavy group of receivers featuring Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips, and Bucky Hodges, perhaps it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Fuente has gotten things jumpstarted so quickly on that side of the ball.
Ultimately, while these are all early numbers accrued against teams of all levels of competitiveness, we’re at the halfway point in the regular season and defenses still haven’t quite figured out to slow things down.
Is the ACC the new PAC-12? No of course not, ACC teams play defense. In fact, six teams are in the top 25 for total defense too. Still, the gap between the recent top of the conference — Florida State and Clemson — and everyone else is closing rapidly on the offensive side of the ball.
This bodes well for the strength and national profile of ACC Football, and lends credence to the argument that the ACC could get two teams into the college football playoff this year.
A rising offensive tide raises all boats I suppose you could say, and with friends like these, who needs enemies?