Friday, 16 November 2012

Stanford will challenge Oregon's fast strikes

The Oregon Ducks average more points in the first half than 87 FBS teams do in an entire game. The Ducks have not trailed past the first quarter, and their average halftime lead is 25.8 points, 7.4 points better than any other FBS team.

If Oregon continued its first-half pace in the second half, the Ducks would average 69.6 points and 712.8 yards per game. Those numbers would crush the FBS records for points (56.0 by Army in 1944) and yards (624.9 by Houston in 1989) per game in a season. However, the Ducks will get challenged this week. Stanford is one of five teams that has not allowed a touchdown in less than a minute against an FBS opponent, and the only team that has not allowed a touchdown in three plays or fewer.

Speaking of Stanford, Urban Meyer and Ohio State are trying do something that Stanford and one other team have done: go undefeated the season after losing at least seven games. With two games remaining, Ohio State is 10-0 after going 6-7 in 2011. In the AP Poll era (since 1936), only two teams have had a perfect season after losing at least seven games the previous year. In 1943, Purdue went 9-0 after going 1-8 in 1942. The 1940 Stanford team was 10-0 after going 1-7-1 in 1939. Neither of those teams would claim the national championship in their perfect seasons.

Kansas State moved to the top of the BCS Standings this week, but that spot hasn't been kind to Big 12 teams over the years. This is the eighth time since the final BCS Standings in 2003 that a Big 12 team has held the top spot. However, the other seven teams are just 2-5 in their next games, and only one of those seven teams maintained the top spot the following week (Texas in 2008). Oklahoma went on to lose in the national championship game in 2003 and 2008.

From Kansas State to the Kent State Flashes, who are one win shy of the first 10-win season in school history. But the Golden Flashes, who began playing football in 1920, are far from having the longest tenure without a 10-win season. That distinction belongs to Indiana, which began playing football in 1887. In fact, the Hoosiers have had just two nine-win seasons in their history. Of the current 120 FBS teams that have been playing football for at least 50 years, nine have never had a 10-win season (Buffalo, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Utah State, Western Michigan and Vanderbilt).

As for Vanderbilt, with a win against the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, the Commodores will clinch their first winning season in the SEC since 1982, when they went 4-2 in the conference. That's a long time, but it's not the longest active streak among current FBS teams. In fact, you don't even need to look beyond the SEC East to find a longer streak. The Kentucky Wildcats have the longest current streak of consecutive non-winning seasons in conference games. The Wildcats haven't had a winning SEC record since 1977 when they went 6-0, but were ineligible for the SEC championship and a bowl game due to NCAA probation.

Amanda Doherty Pete Travis

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