Thursday, November 22, 2012
Notre Dame looks to reverse recent trend
By ESPN Stats & Information
(Five great stats to get you ready for the college football weekend.)
1. This week was the 115th release of the BCS Standings since its inception in 1998. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are only the second school ever to be ranked No. 1 in the BCS Standings after entering the season unranked in the AP Preseason Poll. The other team was the Missouri Tigers in 2007, but things didn't go well for the Tigers. After reaching the top spot, Missouri was throttled by the Oklahoma Sooners, 38-17, in the Big 12 Championship Game.
2. The AP No. 1 team has fallen in each of the last two weeks. Will Notre Dame stop the streak or will it extend to three straight weeks? Only once in history has AP No. 1 lost on three consecutive regular-season weekends. That came in 1960, when Iowa lost at No. 3 Minnesota 27-10. The Gophers moved to No. 1 after the win only to lose the next week at home to Purdue. Lastly, Missouri, coached by future Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine, lost 23-7 to Kansas.
3. If the Auburn Tigers lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide, then the Tigers will become the first school in the FBS era (since 1978) to go from unbeaten in conference play (2010) to winless in conference play (2012) within a span of three seasons.
The only other school to even have a four-year span was Northwestern. The Wildcats went 8-0 in the Big Ten in 1995, then 0-8 in 1998.
4. Both the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles have dominating defenses. Each team ranks in the top five of FBS in scoring defense and total defense. The Gators have been the best at not conceding big plays, allowing only 10 plays that have gained 25 yards or more, four fewer than any other FBS team. Florida also is the only defense that has not allowed a run of 25 yards or longer.
As for the Seminoles, they have been the best at getting opposing offenses off the field. Florida State has allowed opponents to convert on third down only 25 percent of the time, the lowest percentage in FBS. Florida State has also forced 58 three-and-out drives, the most in the nation.
5. Close calls have been the norm this season for Michigan State. Each of the last seven games for the Spartans have been decided by four points or fewer. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other school in major college history with a seven-game streak of that sort is Columbia in 1971.
No school has ever had eight straight games decided by four points or fewer. On Saturday, Michigan State is at Minnesota, which has played only one game this season that's been decided by four points or fewer. It was the Golden Gophers first game of the season -- a 30-27 triple overtime win at UNLV.