The Balance of Power in College Football
Personally, I'm not so sure that these new trends will affect the balance of power in college football. A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick. The best offense is still a balance of rushing and passing no matter how you go about doing it. Steve Spurrier didn't exactly revoluntize college football 10 or 15 years ago when he first got his Fun N Gun rolling in Gainesville. Sure he won a lot of games, but that has a lot more to do with the talent that was in Gainesville than anything special with his offense. He racked up a grand total of zero undefeated seasons in his tenure, though he did pick up a nice national title with a 1 loss season (which is something Auburn fans are probably wondering about right now).
There are a lot of offensive philosophies around the country right now. There is the pro-style balanced offense favored by teams like USC, Miami, Michigan, and Georgia (amongst a bunch of others). There is the spread offense that still maintains a balance with the rush favored by Oklahoma. Teams like Northwestern and now Florida run a hybrid spread offense that moves the QB around a lot. There is still the old fashioned rush based attacks of Ohio State and Wisconsin. The spread passing attack is still seen with Purdue and Hawaii and now South Carolina with Spurrier in town. In other words, if you can think of an offense there is probably a college football team running something similar to it.
But this isn't something new. All these offenses have been in play for 10 or 20 years if not more. Has the balance of power in college football changed 1 bit? Not really. The biggest change of power in college football is still the 85 scholarship limit. Let's look at the last decade of national champions:
2004 - USC (3)
2003 - USC (3), LSU (10)
2002 - Ohio State (6)
2001 - Miami (14)
2000 - Oklahoma (5)
1999 - Florida State (26)
1998 - Tennessee (9)
1997 - Michigan (4), Nebraska (7)
1996 - Florida (24)
1995 - Nebraska (7)
The numbers in parentheses are each program's all-time ranking according to CollegeFootballDataWareHouse. Not exactly a lot of parity if you ask me. The only 3 teams outside the top 10 in the history of college football are the 3 big Florida schools who have obviously all made huge strides in the last 30 years to join the upper echelon of programs.
And let's look at the maybe 10 or 15 programs that are in the best shape to win national titles in the next 5 years (by conference):
ACC - Florida State, Miami
Big East - pardon me while I stop laughing at myself for including the BE as a football conference
Big Ten - Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State
Big Twelve - Oklahoma, Texas
Pac Ten - USC
SEC - Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee
Sure you could include some others like Virginia Tech, or big names hopefully on the rise like Notre Dame, Alabama, and Penn State. But in reality, it's the same cast of characters as it was 10 or 20 years ago. Is it going to change any time soon? No.