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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Alabama tries to keep state flag flying

By ESPN Stats & Information

(Five great stats to get you ready for the college football weekend.)

1. The Alabama Crimson Tide are one win away from playing for another national championship and keeping a streak alive for the state of Alabama. If the Tide can win another BCS title, it will be the fourth straight for the state. In the four major sports plus college football and men's college basketball, only twice has a state/province won four consecutive championships with multiple teams. From 1949-56, New York won eight straight World Series titles with the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers. And from 1987-90, the province of Alberta won four straight Stanley Cup championships with Edmonton and Calgary (since 1927 when NHL assumed control of Stanley Cup).

2. The UCLA Bruins and Stanford Cardinal meet Friday for the Pac-12 championship just six days after the Cardinal beat the Bruins by 18 points, and that could spell trouble for UCLA. In the history of conference championship game rematches, teams that won the regular season meeting by double digits are 10-2 in the championship game. The only two teams to buck the trend were Colorado in 2001 (lost to Texas by 34 in regular season) and Marshall in 2000 (lost to Western Michigan by 20 in regular season). And history says not to expect a close game. The average margin of victory in the championship games for the other 10 teams is 21.8.

3. With UCLA and Stanford playing twice within a week, this will be the first time in FBS that two teams are playing consecutive games against the same opponent since the NCAA started classification in 1937, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It nearly happened in 1994 and 1996 with Florida and Florida State, but the Gators played Alabama in the SEC Championship Game both years sandwiched between regular season and bowl matchups with the Seminoles. It also nearly happened this season as well with Tulsa meeting UCF this weekend for the second time in three weeks.

4. With a loss to the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday, the Texas Longhorns will finish 5-4 in Big 12 play, leaving them with an 11-15 mark in conference play the last three seasons. The last - and only - time the Longhorns had a stretch of three consecutive seasons in which they lost at least four conference games was from 1935-1938 when they went 1-5 in the Southwest Conference in each of those four years.

5. The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Wisconsin Badgers battle for the Big Ten title Saturday. Nebraska gives up 152.2 pass yards per game, the fewest in FBS this season. Two reasons for the Cornhuskers' success are they do not allow many yards after the catch and they do not allow downfield completions. They rank second among all AQ schools in yards after the catch allowed per game (54.2) and lead the Big Ten in fewest completions allowed (22) on passes thrown 15 yards or longer. In fact, 67.1 percent of their opponents’ passes are caught within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, the highest percentage in the Big Ten.