Pac-12, SEC are top leagues for offensive stars

Mike Huguenin
Yahoo! Sports

If coaches in the Pac-12 and SEC could somehow work out some trades, there would be some epic offenses this fall.

The Pac-12 is loaded at the skill positions. The SEC is loaded along the offensive lines.

Here's a look at which league is the best at each offensive position; Wednesday, we'll do the same thing for each defensive position.


Top league: Pac-12
USC senior Matt Barkley is the Heisman front-runner and he heads a deep group of what should be extremely productive quarterbacks. Washington's Keith Price, Oregon State's Sean Mannion and California's Zach Maynard are looking to build on productive first seasons as starters. Washington State's quarterback, likely to be Jeff Tuel, should put up big numbers in Mike Leach's offense. New starters at Arizona and Oregon should be just fine in offenses designed for mobile quarterbacks. If Jordan Wynn can stay healthy at Utah, he will put up good numbers, too.

Running backs

Top league: Pac-12
Seven Pac-12 backs ran for 1,000 yards last season and five are back. But Oregon's Kenjon Barner, who didn't reach that plateau, is a good bet to lead the league in rushing. UCLA's Johnathan Franklin didn't quite reach 1,000 yards last season, but he did in 2010 and easily could do so again this fall. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey looks to be a good fit for the Wildcats' new spread offense. It's hard to see Oregon State again being inept on the ground, which means Washington State might be the only team in the league that won't have a back at least approach a 1,000-yard season.

[Dr. Saturday: Deposed coach Bobby Petrino donates Arkansas gear to Goodwill]

Wide receivers

Top league: Pac-12
It's a clean sweep for the Pac-12 at the offensive skill positions. A case can be made that the two best receivers in the nation play for USC; Marqise Lee and Robert Woods combined for 184 receptions, 2,435 yards and 26 TDs last season. That duo had more TD receptions than 86 teams. Cal's Keenan Allen, Washington State's Marquess Wilson and Oregon State's Markus Wheaton also are established weapons. Wilson, especially, bears watching this fall; what kind of numbers can he put up in Leach's offense? Then there's Oregon sophomore DeAnthony Thomas, who is listed as a wide receiver but will play everywhere in the Ducks' offense. Thomas might be the nation's most explosive player. Arizona State's Jamal Miles is another to watch. As with Thomas, he is listed as a wide receiver but will be used in a variety of roles. Miles looks to be a great fit for Todd Graham's offense. Stanford sophomore Ty Montgomery came on strong at the end of last season and should be the Cardinal's go-to guy this season. Washington has a nice group of receivers, with James Johnson and Kasen Williams potential 1,000-yard guys.

Tight ends

Top league: Big Ten
Jacob Pedersen is the latest in a long line of productive Wisconsin tight ends; he should be in line for a 40-plus catch season. Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner could have a big season in coach Urban Meyer's version of the spread, but off-field problems could curtail his production. He had just 14 catches last season but seven went for TDs. Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed are a nice 1-2 punch at the position for Nebraska. Illinois' Jon Davis is a solid receiving threat. Indiana's Ted Bolser had a big season as a redshirt freshman in 2010 but slumped badly last season; if he can rebound, that will be a huge plus for the Hoosiers.

[Mike Huguenin: Get to know the new coaches before they move on]


Top league: SEC
The SEC is absolutely loaded at this position. LSU (Chris Faulk and Alex Hurst) and Texas A&M (Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews) have two guys who will vie for all-league and even All-America honors. Alabama's D.J. Fluker has the look of an NFL first-rounder. That gives the SEC five of the nation's top eight or nine tackles.

Interior linemen

Top league: SEC
The SEC is almost as good in the interior as it is at tackle. Alabama's Barrett Jones is moving to center; he has been an all-league performer at tackle and guard, and now is looking for the trifecta. Arkansas' Travis Swanson and South Carolina's T.J. Johnson are other top centers. Alabama's Chance Warmack has All-America potential at guard, and Kentucky G Larry Warford is a big-timer even if he plays on a poor team. Arkansas' Alvin Bailey, LSU's Josh Dworaczyk and Josh Williford, South Carolina's A.J. Cann, Tennessee's Dallas Thomas and Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson are other guards who should contend for All-SEC honors.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Powerful Kings rattle L.A. sports scene as they close in on Stanley Cup
MLB draft's top surprise is Mark Appel's fall
Pat Forde: Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another tested in the hardest three weeks in sports
Y! News: An entire European town, made in China

What to Read Next