With college football media days in full swing, it's definitely not too early to look ahead to the coming season.
Using data that we have found indicative of future performance, ESPN Stats & Information projected the offensive efficiency ranking of every Football Bowl Subdivision team next season. Factored into the ratings are prior years' efficiency using ESPN's Football Power Index, the average of four recruiting rankings (Scouts, Rivals, Phil Steele, ESPN) during a three-year span, coaching tenure and information on returning starters (according to ESPN Insider Phil Steele).
Here's a look at the top 10 offenses based purely on statistical projections. The numbers in parentheses refer to efficiency in terms of expected points added per game that each team's offense is projected to contribute to its scoring margin. Because the ratings are scaled against the FBS baseline, an average offense would contribute zero net points per game against an average defense.
For a full list of offensive, defensive and overall preseason rankings heading into the 2014 season, click here.
1. Oregon Ducks (offensive efficiency: plus-17.9)
Returning starters: 8 (including QB)
2013 offensive efficiency rank: Third
Three-year recruiting class average rank: 20.5
When QB Marcus Mariota announced his intention to return to school for his junior season, Oregon instantly became a national title contender again. In the two seasons with Mariota at quarterback, Oregon has scored the most touchdowns, averaged the second-most points and had the third-highest offensive efficiency rating in the nation.
In addition to Mariota, the Ducks return their top rusher, Byron Marshall, and all five of their starting linemen to an offense that averaged the fifth-most yards per rush (6.3) in the nation in 2013.