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Week 13, Statistically Speaking

Joey Iosefa, Tau Lotulelei

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.592 – Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (29-20) this season. The six teams ranked in last week’s Associated Press Top 25 (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and USC) have a combined overall road record of 23-6 (.793).

.815 — Ohio State’s winning percentage (97-22) in Big Ten play since 2000, the highest league winning percentage among all Power Five schools.  Oklahoma 99-24 is next at .805.

.933 — Career field-goal percentage for Florida State’s Robert Aguayo (42-45).  The all-time career mark, for at least 45 attempts per the 2014 FBS record book, was .900 (45-50) by Louisiana-Lafayette’s Brett Baer (2009-12). The career mark, for at least 55 attempts, is .895 (68-76) by Nebraska’s Alex Henery (2007-10).

0 — Touchbacks this season for Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal, the only player in the Top 25 in punting average who can make that claim.

1 — 400-yard passing games for Jake Waters in his career, the lone one coming in Kansas State’s win over West Virginia Thursday night (400 even).  Waters had only one previous 300-yard game, that coming in November of last year against Oklahoma (348).

Ohio State v Maryland

Brad Craddock

1 — Kickers at the FBS level who have yet to miss a field goal attempt (minimum eight attempts) this season: Maryland’s Brad Craddock (17-17).  Craddock has made 23 straight attempts dating back to 2013, the longest current streak at the FBS level and third-longest in Big Ten history.

1.2 — Yards per play Savannah State averaged in its 64-0 loss to BYU.  The Cougars limited the Tigers to 40 yards passing on 28 attempts and 23 yards rushing on the same number of attempts.

4 — FBS teams currently undefeated in conference play:

Florida State (ACC, 8-0)
Georgia Southern (Sun Belt, 7-0)
Marshall (Conference USA, 7-0)
Ohio State (Big Ten, 7-0)

5 — Consecutive games Auburn allowed 30 or more points prior to playing Samford, the first time that’s ever happened in the history of the football program.

5 — Number of undefeated home seasons in the history of Utah State football: 1968 (4-0), 1972 (5-0), 1982 (4-0), 2012 (6-0) and 2014 (6-0).

6 — Total touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving) for Colorado State’s Dee Hart in a win over New Mexico, the second-highest single-game total in Mountain West History.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 13 Rewind

Samaje Perine AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

HISTORIC REPEAT
As it turns out, while Samaje Perine made history, the timeframe in which he did it wasn’t historically unprecedented.

In Oklahoma’s win over Kansas, Perine set the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards.  That performance broke the record of 408 set a week ago by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.  Most assumed Perine’s breaking of a rushing record that was a week old had never happened before; Anthony Thompson would point out what the word “assume” makes out of all involved.

Back on Nov. 11, 1989, the Indiana running back’s 377 yards broke the previous mark of 357 yards.  That record was first set by Washington State’s Rueben Mayes in 1984 and tied by Cal State Fullerton’s Mike Pringle on Nov. 4, 1989, exactly one week before Thompson broke it.

Below is how the FBS rushing record has progressed over the past four-plus decades:

347 — Ron Johnson, Michigan, 1968
350 — Eric Allen, Michigan State, 1971
356 — Eddie Lee Ivery, Georgia Tech, 1978
357 — Rueben Mayes, Washington State, 1984
357 — Mike Pringle, Cal State Fullerton, 1989
377 — Anthony Thompson, Indiana, 1989
386 — Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, 1991
396 — Tony Sands, Kansas, 1991
406 — LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 1999
408 — Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, 2014
427 — Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 2014

Perine was also second to Thompson in something else — percentage increase of the previous record.  Thompson bested the old mark by 5.6 percent;  Perine, meanwhile, topped Gordon’s week-old record by 4.7 percent.

Some would say, though, the most impressive record belongs to Gordon.  The Badger back did his record-setting damage in three quarters of work and on just 25 carries; the only other players on that list with less than 30 carries were Ivery (26) and Allen (29).  Gordon’s 16.2 yards per carry is easily the best mark among the group, with only Ivery (13.7) within three yards.   Perine did average 12.6 ypc, the third-best among that group of 11 players.

At the opposite end of the yards-per-carry spectrum were Thompson and Sands, who averaged 7.25 yards on 52 carries and 6.8 yards on 58 carries, respectively.

Of course, Perine is the only true freshman to break the record… and he did it in three quarters plus two fourth-quarter plays after not starting a game played in the rain… and he is the only player to rush for 200-plus yards in both halves of a game, all of which makes his performance arguably the greatest of all-time regardless of how you attempt to parse out the numbers.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Unlike previous weeks, there was no upheaval around the top of the College Football Playoff Top 25 in Week 14.  The highest-ranked team to lose was No. 8 Ole Miss, and, with two losses, it’s unlikely the Rebels were a realistic playoff option to begin with.

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Nick Saban, The Seven Million Dollar Man, tops coaching salary list

Nick Saban AP

Not surprisingly, the man who has held the top spot for the last couple of years, and who received a new and improved contract thanks to Texas rumors, sits atop USA Today‘s annual coaching salary list once again.

According to the chart for 2014 released by the newspaper Wednesday, Alabama’s Nick Saban is far and away the top earning coach in college football, with total pay amounting to $7,160,187 in 2014. Saban’s salary increased more than $1.6 million over what he made in 2013. That $1.6 million increase, incidentally, is more than 63 coaches made for the entire 2014 season.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Saban is Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield, whose total pay in 2014 is $225,000.  To put that into perspective, what USA Today lists as “Other Pay” has the amount of $209,984 under it for Saban.

In what will likely come as a surprise to many, or even most, the SEC and, yes, Big Ten have the most coaches in the Top 10 in salaries with four apiece.  In what will likely come as another surprise to many, including me, the highest-paid B1G coach doesn’t call Columbus home… and only Saban will make more than him in 2014.  That coach?  Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio at $5.636 million, although $2 million was a retention bonus he received earlier this year as part of a new contract.

Below are the Top 10 coaching salaries, based on total pay:

1. Alabama’s Nick Saban, $7.16 million
2. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, $5.636 million
3. Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, $5.058 million
4. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, $5.006 million
5. Texas’ Charlie Strong, $5 million
6. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, $4.536 million
7. LSU’s Les Miles, $4.369 million
8. Penn State’s James Franklin, $4.3 million
9. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, $4.075 million
10. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, $4 million

The SEC, though, still reigns supreme when it comes to coaching salary as every one of its listed coaches are in the top 34.  The lowest-paid coach from that conference?  Kentucky’s Mark Stoops at $2,701,600, but that’s still more than 87 coaches made this year.

You have to go all the way down to No. 44 on USA Today‘s list to find the first head coach from a Group of Five school: Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville at $2.2 million.  SMU’s June Jones was the only other Group of Five coach above the $2 million mark ($2.019 million), although he resigned his position early on in the 2014 season.

There’s just one Power Five head coach who makes less than $1 million, and that’s Rutgers’ Kyle Flood at $987,000.  There are 13 Group of Five head coaches who make more than Flood.

Below are the highest- and lowest-paid head coaches for each of the 10 FBS conferences.

AAC
Highest: Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati, $2.2 million
Lowest: Bill Blankenship, Tulsa, $759,436
(No data for Temple’s Matt Rhule)

ACC
Highest: Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, $3,591,667
Lowest: Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh, $1,578,757
(No data: Boston College’s Steve Addazio, Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson, Syracuse’s Scott Shafer)

BIG 12
Highest: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, $5,058,333
Lowest: Paul Rhoads, Iowa State, $1,808,025

BIG TEN
Highest: Mark Dantonio, Michigan State, $5,611,845
Lowest: Kyle Flood, Rutgers, $987,000

CONFERENCE USA
Highest: Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State, $803,129
Lowest: Larry Coker, UT-San Antonio, $402,150

MAC
Highest: Frank Solich, Ohio, $554,500
Lowest: Dan Enos, Central Michigan, $360,000

MWC
Highest: Jim McElwain, Colorado State, $1,500,000
Lowest: Ron Caragher, San Jose State, $525,000

PAC-12
Highest: Chris Petersen, Washington, $3,681,720
Lowest: Mike Riley, Oregon State, $1,510,008
(No data: USC’s Steve Sarkisian)

SEC
Highest: Nick Saban, Alabama, $7,160,187
Lowest: Mark Stoops, Kentucky, $2,701,600
(No data: Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason)

SBC
Highest: Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette, $1,003,156
Lowest: Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State, $225,000

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Week 12, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

-12.8 — Negative pass efficiency rating for Cole Stoudt in Clemson’s 22-point loss to Georgia Tech.  Stoudt, playing in place of the injured Deshaun Watson, completed 3-of-11 passes for 19 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.  Two of those picks were returned for touchdowns by the Yellow Jackets.

.628 — Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (27-16) this season.

.869 — Nebraska’s winning percentage in home games since 1990 (146-22), the top mark in the country.  Florida State is next up at .856 (121-20-1).

0 — Number of both points and punts for San Jose State in its loss to Hawaii.  The Spartans’ 11 drives ended on downs three times; with missed field goals three times; with turnovers three times; and the end of the half/game twice.

1 — Number of touchdowns scored by USC seniors this season, which came Thursday night in the win over Cal on tight end Randall Telfer‘s 15-yard scoring catch.

4 — Receptions East Carolina’s Justin Hardy needs to surpass Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles‘ FBS record of 349 career catches.  Hardy, with 346 receptions, has three regular season games plus a bowl game to eclipse Broyles’ mark set from 2007-11.

4-26 — South Carolina’s record vs. Florida from 1911-2009.  Since then, the Gamecocks own a 4-1 mark against the Gators.

5 — Wins vs. teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for Alabama’s Nick Saban, breaking the tie for most all-time he had been in with Jimmy Johnson, Jack Mollenkopf, Joe Paterno and Lou Holtz.

13 — Consecutive road games won by Ohio State, the longest such streak in the country.  Missouri has won nine in a row on the road.

14 — Interceptions thrown this season by Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg on 373 attempts, one year after tossing 10 in 392 attempts.  Additionally, the true sophomore has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in three straight games.

17 — Consecutive road losses for Hawaii prior to the win over San Jose State Saturday night.  That streak had been the longest in the country.

17 — Consecutive SEC losses for Arkansas before the win over LSU.  Prior to that, the Razorbacks’ last conference win was Oct. 13, 2012, against Kentucky.

32.1 — Percentage of 28 passes completed by Dane Evans in Tulsa’s 31-7 loss to UCF Friday night, the lowest of his career.  Evans also tossed three interceptions and totaled just 69 passing yards in accumulating a career-low pass efficiency rating of 43.2.

34-0 — Oklahoma’s regular season record the game after a loss since 2004.  The last time the Sooners lost back-to-back regular season games was in 1999, Bob Stoops‘ first year in Norman.  Those losses were to Notre Dame by four and to Texas by 10.

42 — Days between Georgia’s fourth home game of the season at Sanford Stadium (Oct. 4 vs. Vanderbilt) and its fifth (Nov. 15 vs. Auburn).

50 — Career starts for Michigan State defensive end Marcus Rush, setting a school record for a player at any position.

53 — Consecutive games for Iowa without a missed or blocked extra point, the longest streak of any school in the nation.

92 — Consecutive games in which Stanford has scored at least 10 points, the longest current streak in the country.

190.9 — Rushing yards per game Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon is averaging this season, which is more than 82 FBS teams average per contest.

214 — Yards receiving for Nelson Agholor in USC’s win over Cal Thursday night.  That gives Agholor back-to-back 200-yard receiving games (220 vs. Washington State), the first time a Trojan has ever turned that trick.

+221.4 — The differential between rushing yards gained vs. rushing yards allowed by Wisconsin entering Week 12, the best mark in the country by far (Navy’s +174.3).  That differential will only increase exponentially as UW outgained Nebraska 581-118 on the ground.

277 — Rushing yards for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds in the win over Georgia Southern.  Incidentally, those two teams combined for 769 yards rushing and just 144 passing.

307 — Rushing yards for Indiana’s Tevin Coleman in the 45-23 loss to Rutgers.  In.  A.  Loss.

316.8 — Pass efficiency rating for Zach Terrell in Western Michigan’s 51-7 win over Eastern Michigan.  Terrell only misfired on two of his 19 passes, throwing for 357 yards and four touchdowns.

Leon Allen345 — Rushing yards for Western Kentucky’s Leon Allen, making him the third player to top the 300-yard mark in Week 12.  Prior to Week 12, no FBS player had rushed for more than 300 yards in a single game this year.

424 — Passing yards for Blake Frohnapfel in UMass’ 24-10 win over Ball State Wednesday night.  Frohnapfel, who didn’t throw a touchdown pass in the contest oddly enough, has now thrown for more than 400 yards three times this season, including a 589-yard effort in late September.  This was the first game, however, the Minutemen won during one of the senior’s 400-yard games.

436 — Career-high passing yards for Gunner Kiel as Cincinnati became bowl-eligible with a Thursday night win over East Carolina.

472 — Career-high passing yards for Pete Thomas in Louisiana-Monroe’s loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.  His previous career-high was 387 in 2011 when he was at Colorado State.

483 — Rushing yards for Pittsburgh’s James Connor the past two games, 220 in Week 12 and 263 in Week 10.  Oddly enough, the Panthers lost both games.

Marquise Williams628 — Rushing yards for North Carolina’s Marquise Williams, setting the school’s single-season record for a quarterback previously set by Jim Lalanne in 1940 (541).

670 — Rushing yards for Melvin Gordon on 34 carries spanning two career games against Nebraska, a ridiculous 19.7 yards per carry.

1941 — Last year Temple beat Penn State on the gridiron.  Since then, the Owls are 0-38-1, including Saturday’s setback to the Nittany Lions.

1950 — Last football meeting between Maryland and Michigan State prior to Saturday night’s encounter.

1960 — Prior to Saturday’s game against UTSA, Southern Miss’ last game in the city of San Antonio.  The Eagles, though, suffered their first loss in the city, dropping their all-time record there to 4-1.

1999 — Last year both Oklahoma and Texas were unranked in the Associated Press poll before Week 12 of the 2014 season.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 12 Rewind

Mississippi State v Alabama Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Thanks to fifth-ranked Alabama’s win over top-ranked Mississippi State and sixth-ranked Arizona State’s upset loss at Oregon State, there will certainly be a shakeup when the College Football Playoff committee releases its updated Top 25 rankings this Tuesday night.

Just how big of a shakeup?  That’s hard to say, if for nothing more than we have very little data on the the 13-person group’s thought process.

The Tide was leapfrogged by No. 4 TCU last week, seemingly because of the strength of the latter’s résumé.  Nothing, though, quite strengthens the ol’ résumé like a win over the No. 1 team in the country.  Mix in the Horned Frogs struggling on the road against lowly Kansas, and that Big 12 school will likely find itself on the outside of the Fine Four.  So will another from that conference, Baylor, thanks to its strength of schedule, or lack thereof.

Speaking of résumés, No. 3 Florida State’s took a significant shot this weekend.  FSU has what some would’ve consider three quality wins this season, Clemson, Notre Dame and Louisville; those first two teams suffered bad losses in Week 12, meaning the Seminoles, despite being undefeated, could find themselves at No. 4 when the rankings are released.  Some “experts” have even suggested they could be outside the Top Four entirely.  While the latter scenario seems far-fetched, the former certainly isn’t.  Remember, the committee moved one-loss Oregon ahead of FSU in the last set of rankings.

It would not be surprising at all to see the Tide, No. 2 Oregon and, yes, the Bulldogs ahead of the ‘Noles come Tuesday night.  MSU’s résumé is certainly much stronger than FSU’s, with wins over LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M surpassing anything the team from Tallahassee has done this season.  The Bulldogs, though, lost some luster aside from its first loss as each of those teams mentioned as quality wins lost in Week 12.

The other one-loss team in the Top Ten, No. 8 Ohio State, simply doesn’t have the strength of schedule to move up more than the one spot ASU’s loss hands them.  Plus, they have the albatross that is the still-inexplicable loss to Virginia Tech earlier in the year hanging around its neck, although some — some — of the stink of that loss came off as Tech upset No. 21 Duke earlier today.

Again, it’ll all come down to what the committee values more: overall résumé or overall record.  As we saw last week, it was decidedly the former, so I’m predicting the Top Four come Tuesday will look like this:

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Mississippi State
4. Florida State

I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not saying it’s what I would do — scroll down a little to see who would be in my Top Four — I’m just saying it’s how I think the committee will look at the current state of the top of its rankings.  Or not.  One of the two.

CONFERENCE CHASE CLARITY
Well, for the most part.

With 12 weeks in the books, and just two more remaining in the regular season (three if you’re the Big 12), more than half of the nine Power Five division/league races have either been claimed (ACC Atlantic,  Pac-12 North) or have a very clear front-runner (Big Ten East, SEC East, SEC West).

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Week 11, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

-9 — Rushing yards for Northwestern in the one-point loss to Michigan.  Quarterback Trevor Siemian totaled minus-37 yards rushing, while the Wildcats’ leading rusher, Justin Jackson, had plus-35.

.844 — Overall career winning percentage (54-10, fifth season) for Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, the best for any ACC head coach with three or more seasons.  His winning percentage of .842 in ACC games is best of all-time, ahead of the legend he replaced at FSU, Bobby Bowden (.814).

1.3 — Interceptions for Louisville’s Gerod Holliman after a three-pick performance against Boston College.  Holliman now has 12 interceptions with two regular season games and a bowl game remaining; the all-time FBS record for interceptions in a season is 14 by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968.  Incidentally, there are only 17 FBS teams with more interceptions this season than Holliman.

2 — FBS players and who have accounted for more than 9,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing in a career, and both played at Nevada: Cody Fajardo (9,084 and 3,025, 2011-present) and Colin Kaepernick (10,098 and 4,112, 2007-10). Kaepernick’s 14,210 yard of total offense is No. 1 in FBS history, while Fajardo’s (12,109) is currently 16th.

2 — Rushing touchdowns allowed by Alabama’s defense this season, the fewest in the FBS.  Next lowest?  Utah’s allowed five.

2-7 — Record of teams the game after playing Navy this season.  That includes Notre Dame’s second loss of the season, a 55-31 decision to Arizona State this weekend.

3 — Weeks in a row a player from Rutgers’ opponent has been named as the Big Ten’s Player of the Week.  That streak temporarily came to an end this week as the Scarlet Knights are on a bye, although Indiana — and the nation’s second-leading rusher Tevin Coleman — await next week and could easily extend the streak to four straight.

4-3 — Touchdowns vs. incompletions for Hutson Mason in Georgia’s blowout win over Kentucky.

5 — FBS players who have ever totaled 200-plus yards rushing and 100-plus yards receiving in a single game: Brian Hill, Wyoming vs. Fresno State, Nov. 1, 2014 (281 rushing, 106 receiving); Donald Buckram, UTEP vs. Tulane, Nov. 7, 2009 (234, 109); Steve Slaton, West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 16, 2006 (215, 130); Emmett White, Utah St. vs. New Mexico St., Nov. 4, 2000 (322, 134); and Thomas Jones, Virginia vs. Buffalo, Nov. 13, 1999 (221, 110).

10.1 — Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett leads the FBS in passing touchdown percentage (26 TDs on 233 attempts; 11.1 percent).

11 — Games in a row Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has thrown two or more touchdown passes, the longest such streak for an FBS quarterback.

13.1Nick Chubb‘s yards per carry average as he ran for 170 yards on just 13 rushes in Georgia’s blowout win over Kentucky.

14 — 300-yard passing games for Baylor’s Bryce Petty, breaking the school record of 13 previously held by Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 11 Rewind

Jeff Heuerman, Urban Meyer, Shelley Meyer AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

SEPARATION SATURDAY
Thanks to a handful of games, the divisional and conference races have become, for the most part, much clearer in Week 11 than they were in Week 10.

Three of the divisional races in four of the Power Five conferences have either officially been decided (Pac-12 North) or are all but officially decided (ACC Atlantic, Big Ten East).  At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Big Ten West and SEC West are only slightly clearer than a week ago.

Below we take a quick trip through each of the Power Five conference races and see exactly where things stand with three weeks left in the regular season (four for the title game-less Big 12).

ACC

Atlantic
With the win over Virginia, all Florida State (6-0) needs to do is beat either Miami (Fla.) next week or Boston College the week after to claim the division title and a spot in the conference championship.  Clemson (6-1), which lost to FSU earlier in the season, would need to win its last ACC game against Georgia Tech in Week 12 and have the Seminoles lose both of their remaining league games to win the Atlantic.  Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

Coastal
With three weekends left in their regular seasons, the Coastal race is essentially a three-team chase: Duke (4-1), Georgia Tech (5-2) and Miami of Florida (3-2).  If the Blue Devils win out — Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest, all at home — it’ll be a second consecutive Duke-FSU ACC title game.  Should the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets trip once and the Hurricanes win out — they still face FSU — it’d be The U in Charlotte based on the win over Duke earlier in the season.  The ‘Canes, though, don’t own the head-to-head over Tech, so they’ll need to finish ahead of the Yellow Jackets.

BIG TEN

East
This one is very straightforward: all Ohio State (5-0) has to do is avoid losing two of its last three games while Michigan State (4-1) wins all three of its in order to stake its claim to a spot in the Big Ten title game.  The remaining games on the slate are certainly manageable, with contests left against Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan.  The win over the Spartans gives the Buckeyes the head-to-head tiebreaker and affords them a cushion should they slip up once the rest of the way.  Maryland, at 3-2, is technically still alive but unofficially eliminated.

West
Three teams are tied at 4-1 — Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin — and one is at 3-2 — Iowa — in what’s easily the most muddled divisional race in the land.  The last three games for NU and UW are all against teams from that group of four, while the Gophers will face the two teams it’s currently tied with plus Ohio State.  The Hawkeyes, who lost to the Gophers in Week 11,  have Illinois remaining in addition to Nebraska and Wisconsin.  Given how the schedule is assembled, the B1G East very likely won’t be decided until the final weekend late this month.

BIG 12

Thanks to TCU’s win over Kansas State, and Baylor’s thumping of Oklahoma, the Big 12 now features a trio of one-loss teams.  TCU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over K-State, while BU holds the same over them.  The Bears and Wildcats meet in the regular season finale; the winner of that game and the Horned Frogs could very well finish in a tie if everything goes to form.  Based on the head-to-head, you can bet your behind that they’ll be rooting like mad for K-State.

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Week 10, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

A numerical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.850 — Duke’s winning percentage with Anthony Boone as a starter (17-3), the highest mark in the program’s history.  Worth Lutz‘s record of .846 has stood for 60 years (1951-54, 11-2).

0 — Number of intersectional foes that have played continuously longer than Notre Dame and Navy, meeting every year since 1927 (88 games).  The Irish’s 43 straight wins over the Midshipmen from 1964-2006 remains the longest winning streak by one team over another in FBS history.

1 — FBS quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts who have not thrown an interception this season, that one being Utah’s Travis Wilson (165 attempts).  Last season, Wilson’s 16 interceptions — in just 237 attempts — were the second-most in the nation. Ball State’s Jack Milas has not thrown a pick in 116 attempts.

1.1 — Number of interceptions Louisville’s Gerod Holliman has averaged per game this season.  His 10 interceptions in nine games are the most for an FBS player since North Carolina State’s David Amerson recorded 13 in 13 games in 2011.  The all-time FBS record for interceptions in a season is 14 by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968.  I should also add that Ole Miss’ Senquez Golson has nine picks in the same number of games.

1-34 — Kansas’ record in Big 12 play over the last 35 conference games, stretching back to early November of 2010. The Jayhawks haven’t won back-to-back league games since October of 2008.

3 — Players who have thrown for more than 3,000 yards through the first 10 weeks of the season, with Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty and Cal’s Jared Goff joining the group.  Entering this week’s slate of games, there was one — Washington State’s Connor Halliday, who sustained what turned out to be a season-ending injury Saturday.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind

Stanford v Oregon Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

CONFERENCE CHASES CLEARING UP
With some added clarity (in most cases) in Week 10, we’ll take a quick trip through each of the Power Five conference races and see exactly (again, in most cases) where things stand with five weeks left in the regular season.

ACC

Atlantic
This is one of the easiest one in the country to figure out.  All Florida State (5-0) has to do is avoid losing two of its last three games while Clemson (5-1) sweeps its last two — the Seminoles own the head-to-head tiebreaker on the Tigers — in order to get back to the ACC championship game in early December.

Coastal
This one could be just as easy as its Atlantic big sister.  If Duke (3-1) wins out, it’ll be a second consecutive Blue Devil-Seminole title tilt.  Should Duke stumble once in its last four conference games, and if Miami (3-2) wins out and Georgia Tech (4-2) loses one more, it’d be the Hurricanes headed to Charlotte based on the head-to-head win over the Blue Devils in late September.  Tech is the only remaining two-loss league team and is still in the mix as well.  The Yellow Jackets own the head-to-head over the Hurricanes, although the Blue Devils hold that edge over Tech.  Duke would win a three-way tiebreaker over those two teams if all three end up 6-2.

BIG TEN

East
Like the ACC Atlantic, this one is very simple: barring a complete collapse by the triumphant team, the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan State game next Saturday, which they will both enter at 4-0, will represent the division at the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.  Just one other squad in the seven-team division (Maryland) has as few as two losses.

West
In no way, shape or form is this division clear; in fact, it’s essentially a muddy mess of possibilities.  There are four teams currently with one B1G loss: Nebraska at 4-1, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin at 3-1.  All but two of the remaining games — Minnesota vs. Ohio State, Iowa vs. Illinois – will involve those four teams facing each other.  In other words, this division may very well not be decided until the clock strikes midnight on the 2014 regular season.  Here’s to guessing, though, that the conference would love for a one-loss Cornhuskers to meet up with a one-loss Spartans/Buckeyes in the league championship game.  That’s the only scenario in which the Big Ten could possibly elbow its way into the College Football Playoff.

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Week 9, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

0 — Lost fumbles for UNLV in eight games this season, the only FBS team that can make that claim.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is Eastern Michigan, which has lost 14 in 2014.

0 — Games UCF has lost in American Athletic Conference play, vs. 11 wins.  The Knights are the only AAC team to have never lost a game in that conference’s brief history.

2 — Times this season, in seven games, SMU has scored more than six points in a single game, including the 48-10 loss to Memphis.  The winless Mustangs are averaging exactly seven points per game,with a high-water mark of 24 in Week 6.

2-5 — Whatever it means, that’s the record of teams the next game after playing Navy this season.  Rutgers and Temple are the only ones to avoid “The Curse of the Middies” in 2014.

3.07 — Yards per play Maryland averaged in its ugly 52-7 loss to Wisconsin.

4 — 200-yard rushing games for Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah this season; no other back at the FBS level has more than two.  The running back also totaled a school-record 341 all-purpose yards (225 rushing, 26 receiving, 90 on kickoff returns) in NU’s 42-24 win over Rutgers (previous record: 321 for Roy Helu Jr. vs. Missouri in 2010).

4 — Quarterbacks Vanderbilt has started this season, the only school that has had to reach that deep into its depth chart at the position.  Utah State will hit that mark in Week 10 as the Aggies lost their third starter of the year to injury, while SMU could very well reach the same number the same week.

4.6 — Number of receptions per game East Carolina’s Justin Hardy needs to average over the next five contests to break the FBS record of 349 career receptions set by Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles.  Hardy is averaging 8.7 catches per game in 2014 and 7.6 for his career.

5 — First-quarter lost fumbles by Pittsburgh, tying the one-quarter FBS record set by East Carolina (1980) and San Diego State (1982).  Pitt finished with six lost fumbles — on seven total fumbles — in its 56-28 loss to Georgia Tech.

7 — Games in which Dak Prescott has thrown for 200-plus yards to start the season, the first Mississippi State player to accomplish that feat in the football program’s 115-year history.

10-0 — Stanford’s record under David Shaw coming off a loss.

11.2 — Yards per carry for true freshman Mike Boone as he rushed for a career-high 212 yards in Cincinnati’s 34-17 win over USF Friday night.

13 — Different players who caught passes in TCU’s 82-27 evisceration of Texas Tech.  No player caught more than four passes.

15.6 — Yards per completion Blake Frohnapfel averaged in throwing for 438 yards and five touchdowns in UMass’ 42-35 loss to Toledo.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 9 Rewind

Mississippi v LSU Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

CALM(ISH) BEFORE THE STORM
After a few weeks worth of utter tumult, we were due.

Entering Week 9, we were looking at a slate of games heavy on the mundane and light on intrigue.  Exiting it, the landscape is essentially the same as it began — with one very large exception.

No. 3 Ole Miss’ loss to No. 24 LSU was easily the most high-profile upset of the day, even as it probably shouldn’t be referred to as an upset.  Playing in Death Valley, at night no less, is no easy task for any squad regardless of how highly-ranked they are, especially facing a Tiger team riding an emotional roller coaster after the death of their head coach’s mother Friday night.

Certainly there were, in the weekend before Halloween, some scares for the Top 25.  No. 5 Auburn was able to survive an upset bid by South Carolina, exiting Jordan-Hare with a seven-point win.  No. 13 Ohio State and No. 25 UCLA were even more fortunate, getting taken to double-overtime by Penn State and Colorado, respectively, before scrambling back to Columbus and Los Angeles, respectively, with their closer-than-expected wins.  Even No. 1 Mississippi State had its “lemon-booty” moments in a 14-point win over Kentucky on the road.

That, though, was essentially the gist of the Week 9 tumult, as it were.

Of the 16 teams that played an unranked team this week, exactly none went down in defeat.  The average margin of victory in those games was 17.6.  A whopping 13 of the 16 were decided by at least 10 points, with five of them coming by 20 or more.  Of course, there was also that 55-point shellacking that we mention below.

The four remaining Top 25 teams that hit the field this weekend played each other, with the lower-ranked team winning one (the previously referenced Ole Miss-LSU game) and the higher-ranked team winning the other (No. 19 Utah over No. 20 USC).

In other words, expect very little change in the Top 25 when the polls are released Sunday afternoon, the last polls, incidentally, before the first release of the newly-minted College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday night.

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Week 8, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

A numerical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

0 — Rushing yards for Tennessee as it was tripped up by Ole Miss in Oxford.  Three different Vols had negative yards rushing, led by quarterback Justin Worley‘s minus-41.

0 — Through seven games, the number of interceptions Wyoming has, the only team in the country to not yet pick off a pass this season.

1 — True road games each played by Ohio State, Texas and Wisconsin through eight weeks, the lowest total at the FBS level. The Badgers don’t play on the road again until Nov. 1 (Rutgers), while the Buckeyes and Longhorns will travel to Penn State and Kansas State, respectively, next weekend.

1-2 — Oklahoma’s record since Katy Perry propositioned quarterback Trevor Knight on ESPN‘s GameDay show prior to the loss to TCU.  Knight has thrown a pick-six in both losses, including the “upset” at the hands of Kansas State.

2 — Number of wins shy Ohio State’s current 18-game Big Ten winning streak is from tying the Buckeyes’ conference record of 20 straight set in 2005-07.

2 — FBS quarterbacks who have attempted at least 100 passes without an interception this season, with both coming from the Pac-12: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (188) and Utah’s Travis Wilson (111).

4 — Non-offensive touchdowns (punt return, kick return, interception return, fumble return) in Missouri’s 42-13 pasting of Florida that could very well mark the end of the Will Muschamp error era.

4-3 — South Carolina’s record in 2014, its worst to start a season since 2005. That year also happened to be Steve Spurrier‘s first season with the Gamecocks.

5 — Since 1944, the number of times Duke has started a season 6-1 or better: 7-0 in 1994, 6-1 in 2014, 1960, 1953 and 1952.

7 — School-record touchdown passes Cody Kessler tossed in USC’s blowout win over Colorado.  Kessler threw those seven touchdowns in just 27 attempts.

8 — Consecutive games in which Clint Trickett has thrown for 300-plus yards, including 322 in West Virginia’s upset of Baylor in Morgantown in Week 8.  That extends Trickett’s school record he set earlier this season.

8.8 — Yards per carry average on 15 attempts by Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, the nation’s leading rusher, in the loss to Michigan State.  MSU came into the game giving up 2.8 yards per carry, good for ninth in the country.

9 — Boise State players who caught passes in Friday night’s win over Fresno State, none of whom totaled more than 43 yards receiving.

13 — Nation’s longest current home winning streak by Alabama, Auburn and Baylor. Marshall, at 11 in a row, has the longest of the Group of Five schools.

14 — Fewest number of 100-yard rushers allowed since 2005, by Alabama. Following the Tide are Ohio State (19) and Boston College (21).

29 — Unanswered points scored by Nevada to overcome a 28-13 halftime deficit in beating BYU 42-35.

30 — Number of consecutive opponents Stanford has held under 30 points, the longest such streak in the country. Louisville and Ole Miss are tied for second at 14 straight.

35 — Points in the second quarter of Alabama’s woodshedding of Texas A&M, the most in a quarter in program history (records dating from 1945 to present). The previous high was 34 at Ole Miss on Oct. 7, 1989. The 56-point win was the Tide’s largest margin of victory since downing Vanderbilt 66-3 on Sept. 29, 1979 and the largest shutout win since beating Tulane 62-0 on Oct. 12, 1991.

37.9Jeff Driskel‘s quarterback rating in Florida’s embarrassing loss to Missouri.  The NCAA’s official stats website lists 114 quarterbacks in its passing efficiency ratings; Driskel is dead last at 95.5.

38-3 — Record of Urban Meyer-coached teams coming off bye weeks, which Ohio State defines as “season openers, games after an ‘off’ or open week, and bowl games.” Meyer went 5-1 at Bowling Green, 7-0 at Utah, 19-1 at Florida and is 7-1 at Ohio State. The three losses were to Miami of Ohio while at BGSU in 2001; to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl following the 2007 season; and to Clemson in the Orange Bowl following the 2013 season.

39 — Total number of points SMU has scored this season in six games. There are 13 teams averaging more points per game than the Mustangs have put on the scoreboard in 2014.

39 — Marshall’s Rakeem Cato consecutive game streak of throwing a touchdown pass, breaking his tie of 38 straight he had held for a week along with Russell Wilson. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (33 straight) can surpass Wilson’s old mark this season as well. Mariota, incidentally, has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game in which he’s played the past two-plus seasons, while Cato didn’t throw one in three of the first seven games of his Herd career (2011) but has thrown one in every game since.

43 — Kansas State has won that many games in a row when leading at halftime, including Saturday’s road win against Oklahoma.  That’s the best current streak in the nation and three behind tying OU’s all-time record of 46 straight.

53 — Unranked opponents in a row beaten by Alabama, tops in the nation. The Tide’s last loss to a non-Top-25 team was in 2007 to Louisiana-Monroe. Clemson is a distant second with (23) in a row.

100 — Wins for Div. III Wisconsin Whitewater’s Larry Leipold in his first 106 games, making him the fastest head coach to reach the century mark in college football history.  Michigan’s Fielding Yost had held the all-division record at 108 for over a century, with Yost’s 100th win coming during the 1908 season.

150 — Receiving yards running back Jahad Thomas had on three receptions during Temple’s loss to Houston Friday night.  Two of Thomas’ receptions went for 74 and 72 yards, although neither resulted in a touchdown.  The sophomore came into the contest with 66 receiving yards in his career.

194 — David Cobb‘s rushing total in Minnesota’s 39-38 win over Purdue that pushed the Gophers to 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1990 and made them bowl-eligible for the third year in a row as well.

197 — Receiving yards for Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard, on 15 receptions, in the loss to Kansas State.  The junior’s topped 100 yards receiving in five of seven games this season, including efforts of 215 and 177.

202 — In his second game replacing Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb‘s rushing yards in Georgia’s easy win over Arkansas in Little Rock.  Along with Herschel Walker and Rodney Hampton, Chubb is one of three UGA freshmen to rush for 200-plus yards in a single game.

216 — Career-high receiving yards for Carlos Harris in North Texas’ loss to Southern Miss.  His previous career high was 120 set two weeks ago.

Josh Doctson

Josh Doctson

225 — Receiving yards for TCU’s Josh Doctson in the win over Oklahoma State, one shy of the school record 226 by Jimmy Young against Wyoming in October of 2008.

250 — Mississippi State and Ohio State are both averaging more than that number per game in both rushing and passing yards, the only two teams coming out of Week 8 that can make that claim.

287 — Combined rushing yards for Nick Hill and Jeremy Langford in Michigan State’s thumping of Indiana.  Hill, incidentally, averaged 11.1 yards on his 16 carries.

313 — Combined rushing yards for Drew Hare and Cameron Stingily in Northern Illinois’ win over Miami of Ohio.

314 — After 272 in Week 8, number of yards Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion needs to surpass USC’s Matt Barkley (12,327, 2009-12) as the Pac-12’s career leader in passing yards.  This week, Mannion passed another former USC quarterback, Carson Palmer (11,818, 1998-2202), for No. 2 on the conference’s all-time list.

 323 – Career victories by Carson-Newman coach Ken Sparks, tying him with Alabama legend Bear Bryant for sixth on the NCAA’s career list.

333-104 — Cumulative score of the USC-Colorado series, with the Trojans owning a 9-0 all-time advantage.

351 — Penalties yards for both teams in West Virginia’s win over Baylor.  The Bears had 213 of those yards, eclipsing the Big 12 record of 183 set by Texas Tech in 2007.  The FBS record for one team, incidentally, is 238 (Arizona State vs. UTEP 1961), while the Div. I record for two teams is 421 (Grambling vs. Texas Southern 1977).

360 — Career-high in passing yards for Colin Reardon in Kent State’s win over Army.

364 — Days between Texas Tech’s last Big 12 win (37-27 over West Virginia Oct. 19, 2013) and its most recent (34-21 over Kansas Oct. 18, 2014).

408 — Passing yards for BYU’s Christian Stewart in a losing effort to Nevada.

416 — Yards of total offense (321 passing, 95 rushing) for Tyrone Swoopes in Texas’ win over Iowa State.

424 — Yards of total offense (330 passing, 94 rushing) for Brett Hundley in UCLA’s win over Cal.

441 — Rushing yards for Appalachian State in its 53-14 blowout of Troy.  The Mountaineers averaged 8.2 yards on their 54 carries.

463 — Yards of total offense (390 passing, 73 rushing) for Marquise Williams in North Carolina’s win over Georgia Tech, the second-highest total in Tar Heels history.  Williams also set school records for completions in a game (38) and a half (23).

489 — Games, out of 490, in which BYU has scored in since 1975, the lone exception being a 3-0 loss to Utah in 2003.

551 — Yards in receptions for Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins the last three games, including 187 in the three-point win over Utah State.

563 — Yards Utah’s Devontae Booker has gained the last three games after rushing for just 179 the first three. 229 of those yards came in the double-overtime win over Oregon State Thursday night.

1,000 — With 1,024 yards this season, Ameer Abdullah becomes the first player in the storied history of Nebraska football to rush for 1,000-plus yards in three straight seasons.

1,065 — Days since Michael Dyer‘s last 100-yard rushing game.  The running back rushed for 173 yards in Louisville’s win over North Carolina State, his first 100-plus rushing effort since a 157-yard performance against Samford Nov. 19, 2011, when he was a member of the Auburn Tigers.

1940 — Until Saturday, the last year Notre Dame had lost its seventh game of the year after starting a season 6-0. The loss to Florida State snapped a 15-game winning streak in such contests.

1990 — Last year Minnesota had started its season 3-0 in Big Ten play before it moved to that mark with the one-point win over Purdue.

106,795 — Attendance at Ohio Stadium Saturday, the largest crowd to witness a Rutgers football game in its 145-year history

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 8 Rewind

Notre Dame at Florida State AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

FSU IN SEEDING DRIVER’S SEAT
Entering Week 8, seven weekends of the 2014 college football season were already in the books. Seven more after this weekend await. That means Week 8 served as the official midway point of the regular season… and again reminded us of the chaos awaiting us at season’s end.

Thanks to losses by Baylor and Notre Dame, there are just three undefeated teams left at the Power Five level: Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Florida State.  The first two will square off in what could be an epic Egg Bowl at season’s end, meaning there will be, at most, two undefeated teams at season’s end — and that’s provided either the Bulldogs and the Rebels make it through the SEC West meat grinder unscathed leading into the rivalry game.

At least on paper, however, FSU looks like a shoe-in to make it out of the regular season unblemished.  The five remaining teams on the Seminoles’ schedule — Louisville, Virginia, Miami, Boston College, Florida — are a combined 21-14. The road trips the remainder of the season consist of visits to the Cardinals and the Hurricanes.  Should FSU run that no-so-daunting gauntlet sans a loss, the defending BCS champions will cement a seat at the first College Football Playoff table, and likely either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

The chaos of the last couple of weeks, though, is ensuring that a gaggle of one-loss teams remain very much a significant part of the discussion — and that a two-loss team could be part of it as well.

Counting the three remaining undefeated teams, there are more than a baker’s dozen squads, with seven weeks left in the regular season, who could make a valid argument that they should be a serious part of the playoff discussion: Baylor, Kansas State, TCU, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn.  And that’s without even mentioning teams like 5-1 Arizona, 5-1 Arizona State, 6-1 Nebraska or 7-0 Marshall, the only Group of Five member still unbeaten.

And what of a team like a two-loss LSU?  Down the stretch, they have games remaining against No. 3 Ole Miss, No. 7 Alabama and No. 21 Texas A&M.  If they were to run the table, what kind of case could the Tigers make, especially if all hell continues to break loose at or near the top of the polls?

In that same vein, a number of those one-loss teams mentioned above could possible absorb one more loss and potentially remain in the mix.

Any way you slice it, we’re in for one hell of  stretch run in college football.  And for all of the doom and gloomers when it comes to the new system for determining a national champion?  We’ll let Dan “Death to the BCS” Wetzel handle that part of the equation.

As has been evidenced the past couple of weeks, what was always a straw man’s argument that “a playoff would devalue the regular season” has been further exposed for what it was: a scare tactic by those too narrow-minded to realize that the exact opposite would happen with a bigger postseason field.

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Week 7, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

A numerical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

-26 — Washington State’s rushing total against Stanford Friday night, the first time the Cardinal has allowed negative rushing yards in a game since Nov. 3, 2012, at Colorado (-21). It was Wazzu’s lowest rushing total since Oct. 10, 2009, at Arizona State (-54).

.676 — Winning percentage of both Urban Meyer (25-12) and Bob Stoops (50-24) in their head-coaching careers vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams, currently the best at the FBS level. Stoops’ wins all came at Oklahoma, while Meyer spread his out over tenures at Utah, Florida and Ohio State. Nick Saban, incidentally, is third in this category at .581 (50-36 during his time at Michigan State, LSU and Alabama).

0 — Times Georgia had shut out a ranked opponent in a true road-game victory prior to its 34-0 whitewashing of No. 23 Missouri in Columbia Saturday afternoon.

4 — Through six games, the combined number of interceptions (zero) and sacks (four) for which the Wyoming defense has been credited.  The Cowboys are the only team in the country without a pick, and their eight turnovers, all fumble recoveries, are tied for 83rd in the nation.

4 — Iowa’s offense and defense officially touched the ball that many times in a span of just under four minutes late in the first quarter against Illinois; the Hawkeyes scored a touchdown on all four of those touches — Jake Rudock 12-yard pass to Jake Duzey; Desmond King 35-yard interception return; Rudock 72-yard pass to Damond Powell; and a Jonathan Parker 60-yard run.

Shaq Thompson, Darius Allensworth

Shaq Thompson, Darius Allensworth

5 — Number of touchdowns Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson has scored this season.  Thompson has returned three fumbles for scores, including a school-record 99-yarder in the win over Cal, along with one interception return and one rushing touchdown.

5 — Number of touchdowns Justin Worley accounted for (three passing, two rushing) in Tennessee’s 45-10 win over Chattanooga.

7 — Number of teams that, through Week 6, had fewer passing yards for the entire season than Washington State’s Connor Halliday had in a single game in Week 6 (FBS-record 734). Those teams were Navy (595), Georgia Tech (663), Boston College (666), Air Force (683), UTEP (702), North Texas (705) and UCF (714). Halliday’s record-setting performance was very near the season total for USF (740), Georgia Southern (748) and Wisconsin (749) as well.  Speaking of Halliday, the senior was held to under 300 yards passing (292) in the loss to Stanford Friday night for the first time this season and the first time since the regular-season finale against Washington (282), a streak of seven straight games.

7 — Including this year, the number of times Kentucky has started a season 5-1 since 1950, with the others being 1950, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1984, 2007.

7.1 — Average yards per touch for Buck Allen in USC’s upset of previously-unbeaten Arizona Saturday night.  The running back carried the ball 26 times for 205 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and totaled four receptions for 28 yards (7.0 yards per catch) for good measure.

9 — Teams remaining that have either won all of its games or lost all of them.  There are still six of the former — Baylor, Florida State, Marshall, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss.  There were 10 entering Week 7, with Arizona, Auburn, Georgia Tech and TCU falling from the ranks of the unbeatens.  The three remaining winless teams are Idaho, Kent State and SMU.  UMass, against Kent State, picked up its first win of the year Saturday.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind

Auburn v Mississippi State Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

NO. 1 A MOVING, FLUID TARGET
There wasn’t the historic Week 6 shakeup in Week 7, but there’s certainly going to be some tweaking in the Top 10 of the new Top 25 polls.  And, perhaps, even at the very top.

Florida State came into the weekend ranked No. 1 by both the Associated Press and the coaches, although the Seminoles have seen their lead in the former poll decrease every week since the final preseason Top 25 and just reclaimed the top spot in the latter poll after Alabama’s Week 6 loss.  Depending on voter preference, there could be a seismic shift as Mississippi State has certainly proven its poll mettle over the past three games against ranked teams.

Then again, so has Ole Miss the past two weeks.  Either of the Mississippi Power Five teams could rightly stake their respective claims to the top spot over FSU — and in what kind of bizarro world are we living in when such a scenario involving that state is even possible in the game of college football?

Some in Big 12 country would point to Baylor as a potential No. 1, as would some Midwesterners when it comes to Notre Dame; neither of those teams has the résumé that the other three have, although both should sit comfortably in the Top Five Sunday afternoon.  Then again, FSU’s résumé, like BU’s and ND’s, contains only one win over a team that was ranked at the time the game was played, although the Seminoles can add Oklahoma State (unranked in the opener, No.16 after Week 6) to its portfolio to justify a spot ahead of those two.

Adding to the upper-echelon murkiness?  Florida State plays Notre Dame next weekend, while Mississippi State and Ole Miss will square off in the regular-season finale, further guaranteeing additional upheaval in and around the top of the rankings moving forward.

Yes, it’s virtually meaningless which team is No. 1 at what’s almost the midway point of the 2014 regular season; hell, the first meaningful rankings won’t be released for another 16 days.  The positioning for seeding in the first-ever College Football Playoff — and a potentially favorable locale for a semifinal game —  has begun in earnest, however, and that’s something that will shape the storyline in the sport for the remaining eight weekends left on the regular-season calendar.

SATURDAY RESET
Below is a list of links out to a handful of the gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

  • For the third-straight game, Mississippi State dropped a Top-10-ranked SEC West team to remain unbeaten and firmly stated its case for the top spot in the rankings.  Auburn, meanwhile, suffered its first loss of the season and will likely fall into the bottom half of the Top 10.
  • Wait a minute… or did Ole Miss stake its claim as the top team in the country with a dominating win over Texas A&M?
  • Bonkers on the Brazos indeed: Baylor overcame a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun TCU 61-58 in what was the dictionary definition of an old WAC shootout.
  • If there were ever a case of a team letting another off the hook, it was Arkansas’ loss to a suddenly bumbling, stumbling and disorganized Alabama.  Or, to paraphrase an old tongue-twister, how much throat could a Sabanchuck choke if a Sabanchuck could choke throat.
  • Oklahoma lagged behind Texas in nearly every major statistical category except the one that matters most: the scoreboard.
  • Oregon’s time out of the national spotlight lasted all of one week as the Ducks’ scored a bounce-back win over UCLA.
  • Arizona was a missed 36-yard field goal away from improving to 6-0; instead, UA kicked away a 28-26 decision to USC that dropped the Wildcats to a half-game behind the Trojans and into a tie with Arizona State in the Pac-12 South.
  • Georgia’s shutout of Missouri shows once again why it is the Beast of the SEC East.
  • Previously unbeaten Georgia Tech’s loss to Duke ensures that the ACC Coastal is still literally anyones for the taking.
  • The ACC Atlantic, meanwhile, continues to be Florida State’s personal playground as the Seminoles extended its winning streak to a nation’s best 22 straight after dropping overmatched Syracuse.
  • Driskel is as Driskel does: Florida quarterback coughs up late pick, game to LSU.
  • Clemson’s six-point win over Louisville could’ve come with a very significant personnel loss.
  • The ugly win over Penn State may have lowered the hot seat temperature for Michigan’s Brady Hoke a bit — a very, very, very wee bit.

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