Stats & Info: Kansas State Wildcats

NCAA, BPI correspond, to a point

March, 17, 2014
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesDakari Johnson and Kentucky received a worse seed than BPI would have given them
Comparing the top of the NCAA men’s basketball championship field to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index shows a lot of similarity in how the selection committee and ESPN’s rating system evaluated teams. Although 31 of the 36 at-large teams in the field would also have been selected had only BPI been used to select the field, there are notable differences in the seeds of some prominent teams and how BPI would have placed them.
BPI rankings corresponded with the first three No. 1 seeds, as Arizona, Florida, and Wichita State are the top three teams in BPI (in that order). But unlike in the previous two official seasons of BPI, the No. 1 overall seed (Florida) is not the No. 1 team in BPI as of Selection Sunday.

The fourth No. 1 seed is Virginia, which is sixth in BPI. Ahead of Virginia in BPI are Louisville and Kansas.

That said, in each of the three official seasons of BPI, the No. 1 seeds all have been ranked in the Top 6 on Selection Sunday. And for the second straight year, three of the four No. 1 seeds ranked better in BPI than RPI.

Differences between committee, BPI
Among the teams in the field, below are those that are most “overseeded” according to BPI (based on their seed if only BPI were used to seed the 68 teams). Second-seeded Michigan was given a seed four spots better than its BPI would suggest, while four other schools are overseeded by three lines from where their BPI ranking would put them:
Similarly, in the chart at the right are the seven teams most underseeded according to BPI -- all at least three seeds worse than they should be, according to the metric. Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Iowa are each seeded five spots below where they would be if the field were seeded by BPI.

Snubs and undeserved bids
BPI was not designed to predict who would make the field of 68, but rather who deserved to make the field (and where they deserved to be seeded) based on a very specific measure of team strength based on its season results.

That said, 63 of the 68 teams -- more precisely, 31 of the 36 at-large teams -- that made the field would have also made the field if it had been selected entirely according to BPI.

The best-ranked at-large team that didn't make it was No. 33 Southern Methodist, while the worst-ranked at-large team that did make it was No. 66 North Carolina State.


Duke likely to beat UNC, BPI says

March, 7, 2014
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AP Photo/Gerry BroomeESPN's Basketball Power Index gives Jabari Parker and the Duke Blue Devils a 77 percent chance of winning against North Carolina Saturday.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index rates teams using a system that takes into account factors such as the pace of a game, margin of victory, game site and absence of key players.

In addition, BPI can be used to make projections of each team’s chance of winning a specific matchup. The team with the higher chance to win according to BPI has won about 73 percent of the time this season.

Here is a preview of five matchups for the final weekend of the regular season, examined using information produced by BPI (through games of March 6):

BPI No. 27 North Carolina at 9 Duke (9 PM Saturday, ESPN)
BPI Projection:
Duke 77 percent likely to win

Duke
is coming off its worst performance of the season based on BPI Game Score, a 37 (on a 0-to-100 scale) in its 82-72 loss at Wake Forest on Wednesday. That game was two months after Wake Forest beat North Carolina 73-67.

North Carolina has won 12 games in succession, but the three most recent victories (by one point over North Carolina State, four points over Virginia Tech and two points over Notre Dame) were against opponents outside the BPI Top 70 and earned Game Scores in the high 70s, compared with Game Scores in the 90s for the first nine games of the Tar Heels’ streak.

The Blue Devils have the third-best home-court BPI this season (behind Kansas and Arizona), whereas North Carolina ranks 34th in road BPI.

BPI No. 44 Baylor at 49 Kansas State (1:30 PM Saturday, ESPN3)
BPI Projection
: Kansas State 62 percent likely to win

Kansas State would be the first team out if current BPI ratings determined the NCAA field; Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology has the Wildcats as a No. 8 seed. Baylor, a No. 9 seed in Bracketology, is the fifth-lowest team in BPI currently projected for a tournament spot.

What does home court mean to Kansas State? In their six Big 12 series against opponents in the BPI Top 60, the Wildcats have won at home and lost on the road. These teams played Feb. 15 in Waco, Texas, where Baylor won 87-73 in two overtimes. Since losing to Oklahoma on Feb. 8, Baylor has been 6-1 (six of the games against Top 100 teams) with all six wins earning BPI Game Scores of at least 94.

BPI No. 17 Pittsburgh at 52 Clemson (4 PM Saturday, ESPN3)
BPI Projection:
Pittsburgh 57 percent likely to win

Clemson would be the third team out of the NCAA field, if it were determined solely on current BPI ratings. Although the Tigers have two losses to teams outside the BPI Top 100 (Wake Forest and Auburn), they were by a combined seven points. This game represents a chance for them to improve on their 3-7 record against BPI Top 50 teams.

Pittsburgh, unranked in The Associated Press poll and a projected No. 10 seed in Bracketology, would be a No. 5 seed if the NCAA field were determined by current BPI ratings. The disparity arises in part from factors BPI considers, such as final scoring margin; five of the Panthers’ losses to Top 30 teams have been by a combined 15 points.

BPI No. 10 Kentucky at 2 Florida (12 PM Saturday)
BPI Projection:
Florida 78 percent likely to win

In their first meeting, Florida won by 10 in a relatively slow 59-possession game in Lexington, Ky. That game earned the Gators a 99.3 Game Score, their second-best of the season. Florida has the fourth-best home-court BPI this season.

Although Kentucky is 3-2 since that Feb. 15 loss to Florida, the losses were by a combined nine points. Eight-loss Kentucky is No. 25 in the AP poll and a seven seed in Bracketology. Of the Wildcats’ losses, all but the one to Florida have been by five points or fewer.

BPI No. 14 Michigan State at 16 Ohio State (4:30 PM Sunday)
BPI Projection:
Ohio State 64 percent likely to win

Of its 30 games, Michigan State has been at full strength for 13, the fewest of any BPI Top 75 team.

Considering games when teams have been at full strength (having all five of its top players based on minutes played), the Spartans rank seventh in BPI. Michigan State is first and Ohio State second among BPI Top 20 teams as measured by inconsistency.

In their last six games, the Buckeyes have had three Game Scores of less than 70 and three greater than 93.

Kentucky over Florida headlines BPI picks

February, 14, 2014
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Mark Zerof/USA TODAY Sports
BPI gives Julius Randle and the Wildcats a 60 percent chance to beat Florida on Saturday night.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index rates teams using a system that takes into account factors such as the pace of a game, margin of victory, game site and absence of key players.

In addition, BPI can be used to make projections of each team’s chance of winning a specific matchup. The team with the higher chance to win according to BPI has won about 73 percent of the time this season. For example, on Saturday, Feb. 8, BPI correctly projected three teams in the Top 15 of The Associated Press poll (Michigan, Texas and Cincinnati) to lose to lower-ranked or unranked opponents.

Here is a preview of five of Saturday’s matchups, examined using information produced by BPI:

Florida at Kentucky (9 PM, ESPN)
BPI Projection:
Kentucky 60 percent likely to win
These teams are closer in BPI – Florida No. 3, Kentucky No. 6 – than in The Associated Press poll (3 and 14, respectively), and the BPI projection reflects that.

The location of this game is significant. The Gators would be more likely to win according to BPI if these teams were playing on a neutral site (55 percent likely) or at Florida (69 percent), as they will on March 8.

The matchup quality for this game (a 0-to-100 gauge of the quality of a contest, based on the teams’ BPI) is 89.3; no game in the remainder of the regular season has a greater quality number.

Pittsburgh at North Carolina (1 PM, CBS)
BPI Projection:
Pittsburgh 56 percent likely to win
Despite Wednesday’s dramatic loss to Syracuse, Pittsburgh remains among the nation’s most powerful teams. All five of the Panthers’ losses have been to teams in the BPI Top 30, with three of those coming against BPI No. 2 Syracuse and BPI No. 8 Duke; four of those losses were by a combined 10 points. Two of Pittsburgh’s wins (over Clemson and Stanford) rank among the Top 20 this season based on BPI Game Score.

The quality of their performance across all of their games makes the Panthers the team BPI projects to win this game against BPI No. 33 North Carolina.

Kansas State at Baylor (7 PM, ESPNU)
BPI Projection:
Baylor 56 percent likely to win
With Kansas State (BPI No. 40) coming off its overtime victory over BPI No. 4 Kansas, it might be surprising to see the Wildcats as underdogs to a team that isn’t likely to make the NCAA Tournament as things stand now, but that is the impact of home-court advantage. According to BPI, Kansas State would be 73 percent likely to beat the Bears (who are No. 57 in BPI) if this game were in Manhattan, Kan., instead of Waco, Texas.

LSU at Arkansas (5 PM, ESPNU)
BPI Projection:
Arkansas 73 percent likely to win
If BPI ranking determined selection to the NCAA Tournament, Arkansas (BPI No. 44) would be the 33rd of 36 at-large selections, as it stands now. That would appear to leave the Razorbacks with little margin for error.

In the teams’ first meeting this season, on Feb. 1, LSU (now 63rd in BPI) beat visiting Arkansas 88-74. The Razorbacks registered a 40.6 BPI game score that day, their second worst of the season.

Brigham Young at Saint Mary’s (8 PM, ESPN2)
BPI Projection:
Saint Mary’s 64 percent likely to win
Much like Arkansas, BPI No. 51 Brigham Young and No. 53 Saint Mary’s appear to be in the gray area of possible tournament selection heading into this matchup. As it stands now, if BPI ranking determined the NCAA field, BYU would be the third-most powerful team and the Gaels the fourth-most powerful to miss out on one of the 36th at-large spots.

Top stats: Kansas State 85, Kansas 82

February, 11, 2014
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Andrew Wiggins had one of his worst games of the season.

What were the top stats to know from Kansas State's upset win over No. 7 Kansas on Monday night?

This was a very unusual win for the Wildcats, who won for the fourth time in 44 Big 12 meetings against the Jayhawks.

How Kansas State won
The Wildcats won this game by scoring late from in the paint. Kansas State was 5 for 12 in the paint in the first half, including 4 of 8 at the rim. The Wildcats upped that to 14 for 21 in the paint and 13 of 19 at the rim after halftime, netting 28 points in the paint over the final 25 minutes.

The Wildcats’ 38 paint points are their third-most in a game this season.

A rough day for Wiggins
Jayhawks freshman Andrew Wiggins was 4 for 12 from the field and 8 of 15 from the free throw line. This continued a rough road stretch for Wiggins. He’s shooting 10 for 27 in his last three road games, including 1 of 14 in the first half.

This was only the second time all season that Wiggins failed to make a basket in the first half (he was kept away from the rim, not taking his first shot in the paint until the second half). The other came against Texas, when he was 0 for 8.

Wiggins is averaging 14 points with an effective field goal percentage of 34 percent in four games this month. Contrast that with Kansas State’s Marcus Foster (20 points in the win), who is averaging 25.7 points and is 10 for 17 from 3-point range in three February games.

Kansas's three big freshmen -- Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden, Jr. and Wiggins -- were terrific in the Jayhawks' win over Kansas State on Jan. 11, with 53 points and 18 rebounds on 63 percent shooting, including seven 3-pointers. But on Monday, they had only 24 points and 11 boards on 30 percent shooting, including 0 for 7 shooting on 3-pointers

The Century Mark
By Kansas State’s records, this was the school’s 100th win all-time against a ranked opponent. Kansas State improved to 5-2 against Top 25 teams this season with the victory, the first for head coach Bruce Weber in six tries against the Jayhawks.

BPI Talk: Iowa State is No. 1

January, 7, 2014
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The Iowa State Cyclones are perhaps the least-discussed team of the six remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. Now might be the time to start talking about the 13-0 Cyclones.

Iowa State is ranked No. 1 in BPI. Why are the Cyclones ranked ahead of fellow unbeatens Ohio State, Wisconsin, Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State?

The Cyclones are the most consistent team in the country in terms of variation in BPI game score from game to game.

Their worst performance –- an 86.3 BPI game score in a two-point win at BYU –- is better than the best performance of 148 Division I teams this season.

Iowa State isn’t just some undefeated team that has played a bunch of cupcakes. Unlike the other five remaining unbeatens, the Cyclones have not faced a team ranked outside the top 300 in BPI.

The Cyclones are the only team in the country that is undefeated against the BPI top 100 and hasn’t faced a team ranked outside the top 300.

Iowa State has one of its toughest tests of the season thus far when it hosts Baylor (No. 36 BPI) tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

What about Pittsburgh?
What is it going to take for the Pittsburgh Panthers to get more respect?

Pittsburgh still has not entered the AP Top 25 despite being ranked No. 5 in BPI.

The lone blemish on Pitt’s schedule is a one-point loss on a neutral court against No. 26 Cincinnati. It came on a Titus Rubles offensive putback with less than five seconds remaining. That’s how close Pitt is to being undefeated right now.

Sure, Pitt hasn’t played the most difficult schedule –- its strength of schedule is ranked 90th.

But the Panthers have fared well against their toughest opponents. Other than their one-point loss to Cincinnati, they’ve won each of their other five games against top-100 opponents by at least nine points. Their average margin in those five wins is 17 points.

Thirteen of Pitt’s 14 wins are by at least 12 points. Its closest win was by nine points, 78-69 against No. 81 Penn State.

Inconsistency hurts Kansas State
The Kansas State Wildcats entered the AP Top 25 at No. 25 this week after defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday. But Kansas State is ranked No. 62 in BPI.

The Wildcats have quality top-100 wins lately over George Washington and Gonzaga, in addition to Oklahoma State. But we can’t forget about their early-season losses to No. 140 Northern Colorado at home and No. 97 Charlotte on a neutral court.

KSU is the most inconsistent team in the BPI top 90.

What happened to Drexel?
The Drexel Dragons started the season off strong, ranked No. 24 in BPI after the month of November. They had a win over Alabama and their only losses were by five points or fewer against UCLA and Arizona.

Since the calendar turned to December, Drexel hasn’t been the same. The Dragons rank 198th in BPI since Dec. 1. Their decrease in BPI is by far the largest decrease of any team currently ranked in the top 100.

In their last six games, they have three wins against teams ranked outside the BPI top 200, a three-point home win against No. 175 Buffalo and two road losses by a combined 37 points at Saint Joseph's and Southern Miss.

BPI Rankings

The bowl winners will be ...

December, 19, 2013
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With bowl season upon us, we can project the winners of the 35 Football Bowl Subdivision bowl games using the Football Power Index.

FPI is a predictive measure of team strength that uses the elements of team offensive, defensive and special-teams performance (adjusted for opponent) that correlate most with future results.

We can use each team’s FPI and the site of the game (all bowl games are treated as neutral) to calculate the expected point differential in a matchup and the percentage chance of each team winning.

In prior years, FPI has done reasonably well in projecting bowl winners (taking the team with the higher chance as the “winner”), getting about 65 percent of games right since 2004.

There have been some lean years in the past, but FPI has been quite good in the three most recent bowl seasons, accurately projecting 70 percent of winners in those games.

FPI takes into account only a team’s on-field performance to date in the given season. It doesn’t explicitly take into account players who are out with injuries or for other reasons, coaching movement before the bowls or differing levels of motivation that are sometimes thought to exist in bowl games.

In the 2013 regular season, starting with games on Sept. 26, FPI accurately projected 74 percent of winners.

FPI believes there to be a very clear favorite (80 percent or more to win) in four of the five BCS matchups, with Ohio State and Clemson as the most evenly matched BCS opponents.


The projections for all 35 bowl games this season are below. A couple of things that stand out:

The two most-lopsided matchups, according to FPI, involve a Pac-12 team facing a Big 12 opponent from Texas. FPI has Oregon as 91 percent likely to defeat Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl and Arizona State as 91 percent likely to beat Texas Tech in the National University Holiday Bowl.

The most-even matchup, according to FPI, is Kansas State versus Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, with the teams separated by a little more than a point in FPI (the Wildcats are 53 percent favorites). The closest “high-profile” bowl game is the AT&T Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma State and Missouri, with the Cowboys 54 percent likely to win, according to FPI.

The Vizio BCS National Championship is the only bowl game with both teams ranked in the top 10 in FPI. Three other games involve two FPI top-20 teams: Wisconsin-South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl; Oklahoma State-Missouri in the Cotton Bowl and Ohio State-Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl.

10 Fiesta Bowl stats you need to know

January, 2, 2013
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The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl matches two of the top offenses in the nation in Oregon and Kansas State. While both teams are ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense, their respective styles of play could not be more different.

Oregon runs a quick-strike offense that is built off of speed and big plays. Kansas State’s scoring is more methodical and a result of overall team efficiency and discipline.

Kansas State’s Team Efficiency/Discipline

1. Kansas State averages 10.1 fewer points per game than Oregon this season, but that does not mean its offense is any less efficient. Kansas State scored a touchdown on 40 percent of its offensive drives and is averaging 3.5 points per drive, tied with Oregon for the second-most in FBS.

2. Kansas State’s average drive starts at its own 41; their opponents at their own 27. The Wildcats’ plus-14 field-position differential is 4 yards better than any other FBS school.

3. The Wildcats are tied with Kent State for the best turnover margin (plus-21) in FBS this season. They had not allowed a point off of a turnover until Week 11 against TCU.

4. Kansas State is committing 3.5 penalties per game, second-fewest in FBS.

5. Oregon leads the nation in first-half scoring margin, but Kansas State has been the best second-half team in the nation (plus-12.8) largely because of its ability to force turnovers. The Wildcats have forced 16 turnovers in the second half that have led to an FBS-best 98 points off turnovers.

Oregon’s Speed/Scoring

1. Oregon is averaging one point every 32.9 seconds of possession, twice the rate of the average FBS team (65.8 seconds per point).

2. The Ducks are averaging a touchdown every 11.8 plays this season, the best rate in FBS. Kansas State is third in the nation, averaging 12.8 plays per touchdown.


3. Oregon leads the FBS in offensive touchdown drives that lasted one minute or less (22) and two minutes or less (44) this season. The Ducks are averaging 2 minutes, 7 seconds per touchdown drive and are in the top three of FBS in points per game for the third straight year.

4. Oregon averages more points in the first half (31.3) than 72 FBS teams average in a game. The Ducks’ average halftime lead is 22.3 points, and the only time that they trailed after halftime was after the last play of overtime in their loss to Stanford.

5.
The Oregon Duck mascot does push-ups every time Oregon scores, with the number of push-ups equaling the number of points Oregon has at that point in the game. The Duck has done 2,735 pushups this season and is averaging over 225 push-ups per game. With four scores on Thursday, the Duck will probably exceed its previous high of 2,790 push-ups done in 2010.

10 facts to know about the Heisman finalists

December, 8, 2012
12/08/12
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US PresswireJohnny Manziel (left), Manti Te’o (center) and Collin Klein are the 2012 Heisman Trophy finalists.
• Johnny Manziel finished the regular season with 3,419 pass yards and 1,181 rush yards. His 4,600 yards of total offense broke the SEC single-season record held by Cam Newton during his 2010 Heisman Trophy season. When Newton broke the record, he supplanted Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy season in 2007.

• Manziel has been responsible for 43 touchdowns this season, tied with Tajh Boyd and Jordan Lynch for the most in FBS. He had six games with at least two touchdowns passing and rushing. That's tied with Tebow in 2007 for the most such games in a season since 2000. Collin Klein is tied for second in FBS this season with three such games.

• Manziel had 70 plays that gained 20 yards or more this season, 10 more than any other FBS player. He was tied for the eighth-most passes (52) and the second-most rushes (18) of 20-plus yards.

• Manziel gained 784 rush yards on scrambles, the most in the SEC. He had 13 scrambles that gained at least 20 yards, including seven touchdowns. No SEC player had more total rushes or touchdowns of 20-plus yards, let alone scrambles.

• Klein has scored a rushing touchdown in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in FBS. The only game that he did not have a rushing touchdown was against Missouri State, an FCS opponent. Since the start of last season, Klein has scored a rush TD in 23 straight games against FBS opponents. That is the longest such streak for any player in the last nine seasons.

• Since the start of last season, Klein has an FBS-best 37 rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations. Klein has had at least one such touchdown in 22 of 25 games during that time period, including in his last 10 games in which he has at least one such attempt.

• Klein has accounted for 69 percent of Kansas State’s yards and 66 percent of its offensive touchdowns this season. Klein’s percentages are slightly better than those of Robert Griffin III from his Heisman season at Baylor. Griffin accounted for 66 percent of Baylor’s total and 61 percent of its touchdowns.

• Manti Te'o has seven interceptions this season, tied for second-most in FBS and three more than any other linebacker. Te’o also has two fumble recoveries. His nine total takeaways are tied for the most in nation.

• Te’o has 103 tackles this season, 42 more than any other player on Notre Dame. He has just two missed tackles all season. As a team, the Irish have missed 61 tackles this season, the third-fewest among AQ schools.

• Notre Dame leads the nation in scoring defense (10.3 PPG) and is the only team that has not given up a touchdown drive longer than 75 yards this season. Every other FBS team has allowed at least three.

10 plays that shaped the BCS race

December, 5, 2012
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Mark L. Baer/US PresswireManti Te'o and Notre Dame were involved in many of the moments that shaped the 2012 season.
Oct. 13: (7) Notre Dame stuffs Stepfan Taylor in OT to edge (17) Stanford
Down seven, Stanford had first-and-goal at Notre Dame’s 4. Taylor got stuffed four straight times, including a fourth-down run in which replays showed he may have crossed the goal line

Oct. 27: (5) Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o picks off Landry Jones to seal win over (8) Oklahoma
Leading 20-13 with less than five minutes left, Te’o intercepted a Jones pass at the OU 45. Te'o finished the campaign with seven interceptions, tied for second-most in the FBS.

Oct. 27: Jarvis Jones forces fumble near goal line to key (10) Georgia over (2) Florida
As Florida’s Jordan Reed was lunging for the end zone for a score that would have set up a game-tying two-point conversion attempt with a little more than two minutes left, Jones laid a hit on him that forced the ball to pop out and result in a touchback. The loss was Florida’s only of the season.

Nov. 3: Pittsburgh misses game-winning field goal in OT, falls at (3) Notre Dame
Notre Dame trailed 20-6 late in the third quarter, but fought back to force overtime. Pitt had a chance to spring the upset in the second OT, but Kevin Harper pushed the 33-yard field goal attempt. Everett Golson made the Panthers pay with a game-winning touchdown run in the third OT.

Nov. 3: (1) Alabama scores with 51 seconds left to win at (5) LSU
Trailing by three on the final drive, T.J. Yeldon took a screen pass 28 yards to the end zone to put Alabama up for good in a rematch of last season’s BCS title game.

Nov. 10: (1) Alabama jumps offside in final minute, allows (15) Texas A&M to run out clock
It was this upset that vaulted quarterback Johnny Manziel to the front of the Heisman race.

Nov. 17: Baylor shocks (1) Kansas State behind Lache Seastrunk’s 80-yard score
On a night that completely shifted the college football landscape, Baylor took out the nation’s top-ranked team in epic fashion. Up 21 points in the third quarter, Seastrunk’s 80-yard touchdown run put the game out of reach.

Nov. 17: (13) Stanford drills field goal in OT to stun (2) Oregon in OT
After Zach Ertz’s touchdown catch survived a replay review and tied the game, Jordan Williamson hit a 37-yard kick in overtime to hand the Ducks their only loss of the season.

Nov. 24: (1) Notre Dame uses goal-line stand to top USC, seal berth in BCS title game
Down 22-13 in the final minutes, USC had first-and-goal at the 1. ND did not allow the Trojans in the end zone, locking up a spot in the national championship game. On the season, the Irish allowed one rushing touchdown and five total touchdowns in goal-to-go situations, both of which ranked No. 1 in the FBS.

Dec. 1: (3) Georgia’s Chris Conley comes up short vs (2) Alabama in SEC title game
With Georgia driving down the field in the final seconds trailing by four, Conley caught a deflected pass at the Alabama 5. He fell down and could only watch as the Bulldogs’ championship hopes expired.

BCS snapshot: First glimpse at matchups

December, 2, 2012
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The final BCS standings were released Sunday along with matchups for the five BCS bowls. With four weeks left until the Rose Bowl on January 1, here are some nuggets on each of the games to whet your appetite.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
Wisconsin Badgers vs. 6 Stanford Cardinal

January 1, 5 PM ET on ESPN

Wisconsin: First Big Ten team to reach Rose Bowl in three straight seasons since Michigan did so from 1976 to 1978. Wisconsin has lost each of its last two Rose Bowl appearances (those Michigan teams lost all three). The Badgers' last Rose Bowl win was in the 1999 season against Stanford.

Stanford: First Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth since 1999 season. Stanford's last Rose Bowl win was a 13-12 victory over Michigan on January 1, 1972-- 40 years to the day of this game.

Discover Orange Bowl
15 Northern Illinois Huskies vs. 12 Florida State Seminoles

January 1, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Northern Illinois: First BCS bowl berth in school history; First non-AQ team to reach a BCS bowl without being undefeated.

Florida State: Extends longest current bowl-berth streak with 31st straight bowl berth; First BCS bowl berth since 2005 season. The Seminoles have lost their last three Orange Bowl appearances (2000, 2003, 2005 seasons), last winning 31-26 over Notre Dame on January 1, 1996.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
21 Louisville Cardinals vs. 4 Florida Gators

January 2, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Louisville: Third straight bowl berth, second BCS bowl berth (first since 2006).

Florida: 22nd straight bowl berth, seventh BCS bowl berth (first since 2009). The 22 straight is the second-longest current streak, trailing only Florida State. The Gators last Sugar Bowl appearance was a 51-24 win over Cincinnati in the 2009 season.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
4 Oregon Ducks vs. 5 Kansas State Wildcats

January 3, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Oregon: Eighth straight bowl berth and fourth straight BCS bowl berth (all four coming under Chip Kelly). Oregon won its previous Fiesta Bowl appearance, in the 2001 season against Colorado.

Kansas State: First BCS bowl berth since the 2003 season. This is Kansas State's third Fiesta Bowl appearance, having won in 1997 against Syracuse and lost in the 2003 season to Ohio State.

Discover BCS National Championship
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

January 7, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Notre Dame: First BCS title-game berth; seeking first national championship since 1988

Alabama: Seeking to become first school to win three national championships in four-year span since Nebraska (1994-1995, 1997)

Alabama tries to keep state flag flying

November, 29, 2012
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(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.

Pac-12 rises to 2nd despite Oregon loss

November, 19, 2012
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Despite two of its top five teams losing on Saturday, the Pac-12 has passed the Big 12 in the Stats & Info Conference Power Rankings.

The biggest difference between the Pac-12’s losses and Kansas State’s loss to Baylor is that Kansas State lost to an unranked opponent. As a result, Baylor did not pick up any of the 387 AP votes that Kansas State lost. In comparison, Stanford and UCLA gained a combined 308 AP votes and rose five spots in the AP poll with their victories. Those numbers cancel out Oregon’s fall from 1st to 5th in the AP Poll.

The Big 12 continues to be ranked first by the computers, but its lack of top-level teams has hurt the conference in the AP Poll. Both the Big 12 and Pac-12 have four teams ranked in the AP Poll, but the Pac-12’s teams are ranked comparatively higher.

Whether it is a matter of parity or a lack of top-level talent is unknown, but many of the Big-12’s top teams have been wildly inconsistent throughout the season.

West Virginia began the season 5-0 and ranked in the AP Top 5 before losing its next five games. Texas Tech began the season 6-1 before losing three of its next four games. Finally, Texas struggled at the start of conference play and has now won four straight games. This lack of consistency has led to fluctuations in the polls and the conference rankings.

Elsewhere in the conference power rankings, the SEC remains in first place after wins over seven FCS teams this week. The SEC now has five teams ranked in the AP Top 10 and six teams with two or fewer losses. No other conference has more than one team ranked in the AP Top 10 or four teams with two or fewer losses.

The WAC lost 5.9 points in the rankings after its top team, Louisiana Tech, lost on Saturday. Louisiana Tech was 9-1 entering the game and had a chance to represent the conference in a BCS Bowl game. The MAC, led by 10-1 Kent State and 10-1 Northern Illinois, has pulled within 1.9 points of the WAC for the top non AQ conference in the country.

Rivalry week begins on Thursday as nonconference foes face off with bragging rights on the line. Florida takes on Florida State, Notre Dame heads to USC, South Carolina faces Clemson and Georgia takes on Georgia Tech in notable nonconference matchups with BCS Bowl implications.

Irish could be No. 1 for 1st time since 1993

November, 18, 2012
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Thanks to upset victories by Baylor and Stanford, Notre Dame is in position to become No. 1 in the BCS standings for the first time ever.

The Fighting Irish haven’t been No. 1 in the Associated Press poll since November 1993.

Within minutes of each other, Baylor finished off its upset over No. 1 Kansas State and Stanford won in overtime over No. 2 Oregon.

This is the first time since 2007 that the team atop the BCS standings has lost in consecutive weeks.

That week, LSU lost to Arkansas on Nov. 23 and Missouri lost to Oklahoma on Dec. 1.

This is the third time in BCS history that the top two teams both lost on the same weekend.

Both previous instances happened in 2007. Missouri and West Virginia lost on Dec. 1 after LSU and Kansas lost the previous weekend (LSU lost on Friday, Kansas on Saturday on Thanksgiving weekend).

Kansas State's 28-point loss at Baylor is tied for the largest loss by a team ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings. Oklahoma lost to Kansas State by 28 points in 2003.

Kansas State is the fifth team ranked No. 1 in the BCS to lose to an unranked opponent. The Wildcats are the first BCS No. 1 to lose to a team with a losing record heading into the game.

How did Kansas State lose?

The Wildcats allowed 16 rushes of at least 10 yards against Baylor and three touchdowns on those rushes. Entering Saturday's game, Kansas State had not allowed more than six rushes of at least 10 yards in a single game and had not allowed a touchdown on rushes of at least 10 yards all season.

How did Oregon lose?

Oregon scored just 14 points against Stanford, its fewest points in a game since Sept. 3, 2009 against Boise State (lost 19-8).

Outside of Marcus Mariota’s 77-yard scramble in the first half, Stanford was able to limit Oregon on the ground. The Ducks had four rushes that gained 10 or more yards and did not make it past the line of scrimmage on 10 of their 43 rushes. It was the second straight game that the Ducks did not gain 200 yards after averaging 341.2 rushing yards per game in their first nine games.

Stanford will challenge Oregon's fast strikes

November, 15, 2012
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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.

All those Kansas State stats add up to No. 1

November, 13, 2012
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AP Photo/LM OteroCollin Klein's efficiency is one reason Kansas State is No. 1 in the BCS.
Kansas State is the top-ranked team in the BCS Standings for the first time in school history. It’s the first time that a non-SEC school has been ranked first in the BCS Standings since Oregon on Nov. 21, 2010.

Statistically speaking, who are the Kansas State Wildcats? They are a team built on efficiency, attention to detail and a Heisman-worthy quarterback:

1: Collin Klein has accounted for 65.7 percent of Kansas State’s offensive yardage this season and 66 percent (31 of 47) of its offensive touchdowns.

2: Kansas State scores on 53 percent of its possessions, the best rate in FBS. The Wildcats score once every 1.8 offensive drives.

3: The Wildcats have a +20 turnover margin, tied for the best turnover margin in the country with Kent State. Kansas State has turned the ball over six times and allowed the fewest points off turnovers (7) in FBS.

4: Kansas State is committing 3.2 penalties per game, fewest in the nation.

5: The Wildcats’ average drive starts on its own 41, the best average starting field position in FBS by 4 yards.

6: On the flip side, Kansas State’s opponents’ average drive starts on its own 27. The plus-14 field position differential is the best in the country, 5 yards better than any other team.

7: One reason for Kansas State’s stellar field position is its special teams. The Wildcats rank in the top three in FBS in yards per kick return (29.0) and yards per punt return (23.8).

8: Since the start of last season, Collin Klein has an FBS-best 34 touchdowns on 68 runs in goal-to-go situations, with at least one touchdown in 21 of his 23 games.

9: Klein also has become an accurate passer. He's completing 60 percent of his passes that travel at least 20 yards downfield, up 16.1 percent from last season. By comparison, 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III completed 50.7 percent of his 20-yard throws last season.

10: Kansas State faces Baylor on Saturday. Baylor is ranked second in passing offense and some have questioned whether the Wildcats can stop their passing attack.

Kansas State has faced four teams currently ranked in the Top 15 in passing offense. These teams averaged more than 300 passing yards per game against Kansas State, but combined for just six passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.

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