Good things are said to come in threes. The basis of that maxim is the Latin phrase "omne trium perfectum," which means that everything that comes in threes is perfect.
The trios we will discuss today are, in the college football sense, close to perfection. We're looking at the best offensive "triplets," or, rather, which team has the best grouping of quarterback, tailback and wide receiver.
The best set of triplets last season was Oklahoma State's, with quarterback Brandon Weeden, tailback Joseph Randle and wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Cowboys went 12-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl, and Weeden and Blackmon were first-round picks.
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The best triplets this season? Read on.
10. Fresno State
The triplets: QB Derek Carr, TB Robbie Rouse, WR Rashad Evans Buzz: Carr, the younger brother of former NFL overall No. 1 pick David Carr, is coming off a solid season, his first as Fresno's starter. He threw for 3,544 yards with 26 TDs and nine interceptions. The diminutive Rouse (5 feet 7/185 pounds) has been one of the nation's most productive backs the past two seasons; he ran for 1,549 yards and 13 scores last season. He has 3,157 career yards, putting him fourth among active rushers. Evans needs to make the jump from No. 3 receiver to go-to guy; he had 44 receptions last season and was second on the team with three touchdown catches.
The triplets: QB Bryn Renner, WR Gio Bernard, WR Erik Hightower Buzz: Bernard is coming off a big redshirt freshman season; he ran for 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns and became the first Tar Heel to run for 1,000 yards since Jonathan Linton in 1997. Bernard also is a solid receiver. Renner had a good first season as a starter, throwing for 3,086 yards and 26 TDs. He has to cut down on his interceptions, though (13). Hightower is looking to make the jump from No. 2 receiver to featured receiver. He had 51 receptions for 726 yards and five touchdowns last season.
The triplets: QB Landry Jones, TB Dominique Whaley, WR Kenny Stills Buzz: Jones is the constant here. He is heading into his fourth season as the starter (he was pressed into starting duty in 2009 when Sam Bradford was hurt), and he has thrown for 9,181 yards and 67 touchdowns in the past two seasons. But he also has tossed 27 picks in that span (and has thrown 41 in his career) and obviously could become a better decision-maker. He stumbled badly down the stretch last season, throwing just one TD pass and six interceptions in the final four games. But he has a big arm and is a great fit for OU's offense. Whaley is a former walk-on who worked at a sub shop in 2010. But he added a spark last season, rushing for 627 yards and nine TDs in the first six games before suffering a broken ankle. OU could use a committee approach at tailback this fall; regardless, the Sooners should be more productive on the ground than they were last season. Stills has 122 catches in his first two seasons, but he also struggled at times last season and seemed uncomfortable when forced into the go-to receiver role after Ryan Broyles was hurt. Still, he has a ton of talent and has 80-ctach potential. If he struggles again, true freshman Trey Metoyer, who signed in February 2011 but had academic issues that kept him out of school, is a guy to watch. He had a big spring.
The triplets: QB Seth Doege, TB Eric Stephens, WR Darrin Moore Buzz: Another year, another prolific Red Raiders quarterback. Tech doesn't throw it around as it did in the Mike Leach days, but coordinator Neal Brown is a Leach disciple who is not averse to putting it up 50 times. Doege threw for 4,004 yards with 28 TDs and 10 interceptions last season, his first as the starter. He might have been even more productive had Stephens not been lost to an injury in Game 5; as it was, Stephens ran for 565 yards and eight TDs in those five games. He is an excellent receiver and a solid blocker, but it's his value as a runner that Tech really missed last season. Moore also suffered through an injury-marred campaign, missing three early-season games. He wasn't 100 percent when he returned, but still finished with 47 receptions for 571 yards and eight TDs. Moore, Eric Ward and Alex Torres could combine for 225 or so receptions this season; they had 181 last season.
The triplets: QB Denard Robinson, TB Fitzgerald Toussaint, WR Roy Roundtree Buzz: This is the final go-round for Robinson, who is one of the most electrifying players in the nation. He was the perfect fit for former coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense but still put up good numbers in more of a pro-style attack last season (1,176 rushing yards, 2,173 passing yards, a combined 36 touchdowns). He never will be an "elegant" passer, but he can be effective, though he is at his best when he has tucked the ball and started to run. Toussaint emerged from obscurity and proved to be an effective complement running the ball; he finished with 1,041 yards and nine TDs, and was especially good in the second half of the season. Roundtree is a puzzle of sorts. He had a huge sophomore season: 72 receptions, 935 yards, seven TDs. But he fell off the face of the earth last season, finishing with 19 catches for 355 yards and two scores. Coaches are confident he can rebound; he'd better, because the Wolverines are searching for a go-to receiver.
The triplets: QB Zach Maynard, TB Isi Sofele, WR Keenan Allen Buzz: There are times that the athletic Maynard looks like an all-conference quarterback. Alas, there also are times when he looks as if he should be benched – and never get off the bench. Last season was his first at Cal after transferring from Buffalo, and he appeared overmatched at times. Still, he threw for 2,990 yards with 17 TDs and 12 interceptions. He looked really good against Stanford, a narrow loss. But he looked awful against UCLA, a blowout loss. He has the weapons around him to succeed; he just needs more consistency. Cal's biggest weapon is Allen, who is Maynard's half-brother. Allen is coming off a huge season in which he had 98 catches for 1,343 yards. But all that production was good for just six TD passes. That number needs to be higher. Finally, there is Sofele, who continued Cal's tradition of 1,000-yard backs (nine of the past 10 seasons). Sofele ran for 1,322 yards and 10 touchdowns as a first-year starter. He had five 100-yard games and two more with at least 96 yards.
The triplets: QB Casey Pachall, TB Ed Wesley, WR Josh Boyce Buzz: Pachall performed beyond expectations last season, his first as the starter. He broke Andy Dalton's school single-season records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and passing yards (2,921); Pachall also tossed 25 TD passes. He threw for 473 yards and five touchdowns in guiding the Horned Frogs past Boise State 36-35. Boyce had 61 receptions for 998 yards and nine TDs; he barely missed becoming just the second 1,000-yard receiver in TCU history. Boyce (6-0/203) is a burner who also is physical receiver. Wesley heads a deep group of tailbacks; TCU is the only school in the nation that has three returnees who rushed for at least 700 yards last season. He missed three games and was second on the Horned Frogs with 726 yards; he scored six TDs. Waymon James and Matthew Tucker also rushed for at least 700 yards last season.
The triplets: QB Tyler Wilson, TB Knile Davis, WR Cobi Hamilton Buzz: Some folks thought the Hogs would miss QB Ryan Mallett last season; they didn't, thanks to Wilson. He threw for 3,638 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in his first season as the starter. He had four 300-yard games and three outings with three TD passes. Davis had a huge 2010 season (1,322 yards, 13 TDs) but missed last season with a broken ankle. If he is 100 percent, the passing attack will be that much more dangerous because the best defenses last season didn't really have to fear Arkansas' ground attack; that won't be the case if Davis is healthy. Hamilton was a complementary receiver last season, when he had 34 catches for 542 yards and four TDs. A good bet is that he at least doubles his totals in each of those categories this fall.
The triplets: QB Tajh Boyd, TB Andre Ellington, WR Sammy Watkins Buzz: Boyd is tailor-made for coordinator Chad Morris' version of the spread. Morris came aboard last season, which was Boyd's first as the starter; to say the pairing went well is an understatement. Clemson won the ACC title behind a powerful offenses guided by Boyd, who threw for 3,828 yards and 33 TDs; he also ran for 218 yards and five scores. Ellington had some injury issues but still ran for 1,178 yards and 11 TDs; he had five 100-yard games. Watkins was the nation's best freshman last season. Clemson needed someone to emerge as the go-to receiver, and Watkins was up to the task. He had 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also was effective on reverses and as a kick returner, including scoring against Maryland. He missed a game with an injury late in the season, but still had five 100-yard games and three with at least 150 yards.
The triplets: QB Matt Barkley, TB Curtis McNeal, WR Robert Woods Buzz: As soon as Barkley announced a few days before Christmas that he was returning for his senior season, USC became a legitimate national title contender. He will be a rare four-year starter at quarterback for the Trojans and will leave with most of the school's key passing records. He threw for 3,528 yards, 39 TDs and seven interceptions last season. He has thrown for 9,054 yards and 80 TDs in his career; he is second to Oklahoma's Landry Jones in each category among active players. Woods has been a receiving machine in his first two seasons with the Trojans; he caught 111 passes for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, and has 176 receptions for 2,084 yards and 21 TDs in his career. Still, he will have competition from sophomore Marqise Lee as the go-to guy this fall; Lee had 73 receptions for 1,143 yards and 11 scores last season. McNeal is a little guy (5-7/190) who runs hard. McNeal, a senior, had rushed for 33 yards in his career, then burst on the scene as a co-starter with the since-graduated Marc Tyler last season. McNeal led the Trojans with 1,038 yards and scored six touchdowns. While he isn't an elite back, he can get the tough yards and also has a burst around the edge.