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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Oklahoma Sooners recover like no one else


THE NICKEL PACKAGE
1. The Oklahoma Sooners were stunned by the Texas Tech Red Raiders last week, and now must face an unbeaten Kansas State Wildcats team on the road. But that shouldn't bother the Sooners, who have won a nearly incredible 16 straight games after a loss in a single season.

In fact, the last time they lost consecutive games in the same season was in 2003. How impressive is that? The next longest such streaks only go back to 2007 (Boise State, Oregon, TCU).

More perspective? Of the 120 FBS teams, 81 have had at least a two-game losing streak THIS SEASON (68 pct), and 23 more have streaks that only go back to last season.

2. Penn State Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno is going for his 409th career win this week, which would pass Eddie Robinson for the most in Division I history and the second most in NCAA history (all divisions). In his 46-year career, Paterno has beaten 80 different opponents, including 14 of them at least 10 times. Among the other 119 current FBS coaches, 90 of them don’t even have 80 career wins (minimum five years as FBS coach).

How do JoePa’s wins against 80 different opponents stack up? Consider that Frank Beamer has the second-most wins among current FBS coaches (247), and he’s beaten 60 different teams.

3. On the other side of the age spectrum, of the six youngest coaches in the country, the Pac-12 has three of them – Lane Kiffin (36 years old) of the USC Trojans, Steve Sarkisian (37) of the Washington Huskies and David Shaw (39) of the Stanford Cardinal.

Two of them, Kiffin and Shaw, will meet Saturday at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. At 75 combined years, it will be the youngest head coaching matchup of the season. But only for a short time, until Kiffin and Sarkisian meet in two weeks (73 combined years). Still, Shaw and Kiffin together are nine years younger than 84-year-old Joe Paterno. Young or old, they’re all doing pretty well – Shaw and Kiffin are a combined 13-1 this season and Paterno is 7-1.

4. The Oregon Ducks have scored 30 or more points in each of their past 25 home games. That is the longest streak in the AP Poll era (since 1936) and one of two active streaks longer than 20 games (TCU, 24 straight). No other team in the AP Poll era has had a streak of at least 20 such games. Good news for Oregon: This week’s opponent, the Washington State Cougars, are allowing 30.4 PPG this season. The next longest such streak after Oregon & TCU? Oklahoma (19 games from 2006-09).

5. The Clemson Tigers look to start 9-0 on Saturday, harkening back to memories of 30 years ago when the Tigers won their only national championship to cap the 1981 season. If Clemson's magical ride ends in a national championship in 2011, it would hardly be unique when it comes to 30-year anniversaries.

Clemson is bidding to become the sixth team to win a national championship exactly 30 years from a previous title in the poll era. But, the Tigers would become the first to accomplish that feat with those being the only two national titles in school history. By the way, it’s also the 20th anniversary of Clemson’s last ACC title in 1991.