Football has undergone an offensive revolution. But lost in the mystifying offensive explosion football has been experiencing over the past few seasons has been what happens to second-tier offensive powerhouses.
Defying all football logic, the University of California football team is averaging 515 yards of total offense per game but has yet to defeat an FBS opponent. That stat, which as recently as 2009 would have qualified as the second best offense by yardage in football, is practically unheard of, but is made possible by a weak California defense and a strength of schedule which would make even SEC teams tremble.
Cal’s defense is yielding 45 points per game, a stat which is inflated due to the team’s recent matchups with Northwestern, Ohio St., Oregon and a Mike Leach-helmed Washington St. And as easy as it would be for California to expect the worst to be behind them, the Golden Bears still have to travel to UCLA, Washington and Stanford.
The matchup against UCLA this Saturday may be the most troublesome for Cal. The California defense, ranked third to last in the nation at 524 yards allowed per game, must enter a hostile environment in Los Angeles to face the FBS’ fourth best offensive attack.
But Cal’s conundrum isn’t just their own. As ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook catalogs weekly, a deluge of teams across the collegiate ans high school ranks each week plays offense at near perfect levels and cannot win because of their porous defenses. Two weeks ago, FCS school Stephen F. Austin even gained 827 yards of total offense and lost to Prairie View A&M 56-48.
So is this the trend? Will more and more schools abandon defense in the hopes that their offenses will become proficient enough to play at an Oregonian level? Only time can tell that, but there is one prediction that is almost a lock: expect a shootout between Cal and UCLA.