If you are growing tired of offenses dominating college football, you’re out of luck. Points are piling up at record rates again. The days of defenses ruling the day in the Southeastern Conference are done. It’s hard to tell the difference between the SEC and Pac-12 now.
Here are some things to know about the fourth weekend of the college football season and all that offense:
SCORE! Through four weeks, FBS teams are averaging 31.64 points per game. That would be a record, breaking the one set last season (29.53), which broke the record set the year before (29.48). Scoring has been steadily rising in college football for years, including every year since 2010. You can find high-scoring games everywhere, Thirty-two teams are averaging at least 40 points. Early season mismatches tend to inflate scoring, so it’s likely the numbers will come down as conference play picks up, but another record seems to be in the works.
BY GROUND OR AIR: No. 6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC) and Arkansas meet on Saturday in Arlington, Texas, in an intriguing matchup between two teams that gain a lot of yards and score a lot of points in drastically different ways.
The Aggies’ offense has had a smooth quarterback transition from Johnny Manziel to Kenny Hill and is averaging 405 yards passing per game, which ranks fourth nationally.
Arkansas (3-1, 0-1), much improved under second-year coach Bret Bielema, likes to run the ball. The Razorbacks rank seventh nationally with 324.5 yards rushing per game, and premier backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams have combined for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns.
RUNNING WILD: Arkansas is not the only team that has turned ground and pound into a way to light up the scoreboard. Twelve teams are averaging more than 300 yards per game. Wisconsin, Bielema’s old team, is No. 1 at 359.7 after going for almost 650 on the ground against Bowling Green last week. Last year, five teams averaged more than 300 yards rushing per game, with Auburn first at 328.3.
WALLACE ON TARGET: Mississippi’s Bo Wallace has been the nation’s most accurate passer so far this season, completing 75.5 percent (71 of 94) of his attempts through three games. That’s helped the No. 10 Rebels (3-0) to their highest national ranking since 2009, and they can improve to 4-0 for the first time since 1970 with a victory over Memphis on Saturday.
A win also would set up a mammoth matchup against No. 3 Alabama on Oct. 4 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Count Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze among those who think the gaudy offensive numbers are here to stay.
“I think it’s what football is right now,” Freeze said. “The fans like it. It’s exciting ... It’s just kind of where we are right now. I don’t know what else the defenses can do. Trust me; it’s a chore to try to figure it out.”
OLD-TIME RIVALRY: Yale plays Army for the first time since 1996, and 46th time overall. The teams played almost every year from 1893-1943. Yale dominated the series at first, but Army turned the tide in the 1930s. It’s the type of rivalry that has the feel of leather helmets, but don’t be surprised if it turns into a 21st-century shootout. Yale gained 683 yards in a 54-43 victory against Lehigh in its opening game last week.
AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Jackson, Miss., contributed.