Week 4: Numbers tell the story for Owls, 'Noles, Canes
Oklahoma-Oregon has been the most discussed game in the aftermath of Separation Saturday, but for all the wrong reasons.
I had a long diatribe written regarding Oklahoma President David Boren -- who, it seems to me, ought to be the voice of reason in this whole thing rather than the guy stoking the fire. But I logged on the other day to find that Pat Forde had beaten me to it in this week's Forde-Yard Dash. If you haven't seen it yet, give it a read -- and know that I second it.
Do OU fans have a reason to be upset? Yes. Does Bob Stoops have a reason to be upset? Yes. It was clearly a very, very bad call. I'm not trying to minimize the outrage OU fans should feel or the possible ramifications the game might have down the line (although OU's underachieving and underwhelming defense might have far greater ramifications for the Sooners' season).
But the university president, especially one who's a former U.S. senator, should be appealing for calm in the matter, not acting as if he's David from Bowlegs, Okla., calling from his car and up next on "The Sports Animal."
Let's get to this week's numbers, the first of which actually led to a bold move by a university president more than 60 years ago.
62-0: Temple has lost its last two games, to Louisville and Minnesota, by identical scores of 62-0.
To say this was a tedious process would be to grossly understate just how mind-numbing it was. The last time I participated in anything this boring was when my parents took their uncultured and uninterested 12-year-old son to see "Gandhi." At least they let me have the run of the concession stand.
I'm usually 100 percent confident of the numbers that show up in this column, as I double-check each and every one of them. Not the case with this one. I could barely get through single-checking it -- I certainly wasn't going to go through it again.
If you'd like, you can check my work. If you find an error, send me an e-mail. We'll put your name in the column or something.
That being said, last time it happened (as far as I know) was:
1939: On Oct. 14, 1939, the University of Chicago Maroons, a charter member of the Big Ten, lost to Harvard 61-0. The next week, they fell to Michigan 85-0. After a bye week, they then lost to Virginia 47-0, to Ohio State 61-0 and, after a win over non-Division I Oberlin (not a yeoman's effort by the Yeomen), they then lost the season finale to Illinois 46-0. In their five games against Division I competition that year, the Maroons, just four years removed from boasting the first ever Heisman winner, Jay Berwanger, were outscored 300-0.
There have been some other "consecutive 60-point shutout loss" close calls. As recently as 1992, Arkansas State lost to Toledo 49-0 and Oklahoma 61-0. In '74, Wake Forest lost to the Sooners 63-0, then lost to Penn State 55-0 the next time out.
But, near as I can tell, the Maroons were the last major college team to equal Temple's "feat."
So how did Chicago fare the next year? They didn't. University president Robert Maynard Hutchins (knew I'd get it back to Boren somehow), believing that intercollegiate athletics were spiraling out of control, cancelled the football program. Somehow, the U of C continued to exist and even flourish.
78: The University of Chicago has produced 78 Nobel Prize winners. Only Cambridge has had more.
Some numbers from the more significant games of Separation Saturday:
Leak directed the Gators to a win over Florida State in the last regular season game of 2004, wins over all the Vols, Dawgs and 'Noles last year, and then the win over Tennessee last weekend. He can break Wuerffel's mark next month when the Gators meet Georgia in Jacksonville.
11: Another QB joining some elite company on Separation Saturday was TCU's Jeff Ballard. After leading the Horned Frogs to a 12-3 win over Texas Tech, Ballard now has won all 11 of his career starts. That ties him for the second longest win streak for a QB in TCU history with the legendary Davey O'Brien, who only has the award given to the nation's top QB named after him. First on the list? The equally legendary Sammy Baugh with 12 straight wins.
2000: The real story of TCU's win was the Frogs' defense, which kept Tech out of the end zone for the first time since Oct. 14, 2000 (Mike Leach's first year as coach), when Nebraska beat the Red Raiders 56-3.
37.4: Since that date, Leach's Red Raiders had averaged 37.4 ppg before being shut down by TCU.
1989: Speaking of impressive defensive showings, Auburn has now held consecutive SEC opponents without a touchdown for the first time since 1989, when they beat LSU 10-6, then, after a nonconference loss to Florida State, blanked Mississippi State 14-0.
38: On the other end of the defensive spectrum, Notre Dame gave up 47 points in its loss to Michigan. That's the most the Irish have given up at home since falling to Purdue 51-19 in 1960. For some perspective, consider that during Notre Dame's 1966 national championship run, the Irish gave up 38 points for the entire season. Only Michigan State, which scored 10 on them in the "Game of the Century" tie that's being commemorated this weekend, managed to score in double figures.
The Wolverines made one of the biggest statements on Separation Saturday. Louisville made another one -- and made it in response to an ill-fated statement by Miami, which leads us to:
45-14: Of course, without Michael Bush and now without Brian Brohm, the Cardinals hope they can manage to make it to that West Virginia game unbeaten. While the schedule looks easy, with this weekend's game at Kansas State probably the most difficult one between now and then, remember what happened the last time the Cardinals were ranked in the top 10. Last September, ninth-ranked Louisville went to South Florida and got hammered 45-14.
0: As for the Canes, Larry Coker might want to work on some new halftime material. Miami has now scored a grand total of 0 second-half points in its last five losses. Among those losses was the season-opening defeat by Florida State -- which made a little history Saturday.
0: Since they started keeping track of these things in 1951, Clemson had 0 blocked place kicks (field goals or extra points) returned for a score against them before Saturday.
2: On Saturday, Florida State returned 2 blocked place kicks back for scores against Clemson.
A bit humiliating for the Tigers, but it didn't sting too badly, considering they managed to win the game -- thanks in large part to the 'Noles' offensive futility. Consider these numbers:
9: On the other hand, the 'Noles have scored 9 first-half points in those three games as a result of special teams -- all of them coming on the two returns by Tony Carter against Clemson.
118th: One major explanation for the 'Noles inability to score, their horrendous rushing offense, which is churning out 49.3 yards per game. That ranks 118th nationally, ahead of only Baylor.
115th: If the 'Noles can't run it this week, though, they're really in trouble. Rice ranks 115th nationally in rushing defense, giving up more than 234 yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry. Texas gouged the Owls for 330 rushing yards last week. It'll be the ultimate case of the eminently resistible force meeting the exceedingly movable object.
18: Careful readers will recall that Rice's defense was actually singled out for some praise last week, before it failed miserably in its litmus test against the Longhorns. Similarly, Arizona State's defense looks improved early on. The Sun Devils lead the nation with 18 sacks. They had 22 all of last season. Here's the catch:
2-7: ASU's first three opponents (Northern Arizona, Nevada and Colorado) have a combined record of 2-7 (with one of those wins being the Lumberjacks' victory over Division II Dixie State).
7-1: ASU's next three opponents (Cal, Oregon and USC) have a combined record of 7-1. We'll see if we're still touting that improved ASU D in three weeks.
1980: The Sun Devils win over Colorado stretched the Buffs' losing streak to seven games, dating back to last season. That's the longest skid for CU since 1980.
1964: Not too tough to figure out what the problem is. Dan Hawkins' crew has scored a grand total of 23 points in its first three games -- CU's lowest-scoring stretch to start a season since 1964.
1980: The Bulldogs are coming off shutout wins over South Carolina and UAB -- the first time they've blanked consecutive opponents since 1980, which is also the last year they won a national championship. If the Dawgs blank the Buffs this weekend, which seems quite possible, they'd have three straight shutouts for the first time since 1971.
76, 69: One week after being shutout themselves by Rutgers, and failing to cross midfield in the process, Illinois showed some signs of offensive life last week. Highly touted freshman Isiah "Juice" Williams came off the bench in the loss to Syracuse to throw TD passes of 76 and 69 yards. Those were the programs' first and third longest completions since the 1994 Liberty Bowl.
7-1: Back in 2001, the Illini went 7-1 in the Big Ten and won the conference's automatic BCS bid. The Illini went to the Sugar Bowl, as the Rose Bowl was the BCS Championship game that year.
5-27: Since that year, the Illini are 5-27 in Big Ten play. They Illini open the conference schedule this weekend at Iowa. Coach Ron Zook still hasn't decided whether to give "Juice" the start.
248: The real juice in the state of Illinois, though, is in DeKalb, where Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe continues to put up mind-boggling numbers. Wolfe ran for 263 yards Saturday against Buffalo and is averaging 248 all-purpose yards per game. That's more than the total offensive output of 11 I-A teams, including, not so surprisingly, Rice, Colorado and Temple.
420: Gerry DiNardo, Todd McShay and I will continue our cushy early home slate with 420 minutes of College GameDay coming your way this Saturday from Bristol on ESPN Radio before we prepare to hit the road next weekend. Hope you'll join us at noon ET.
Dave Revsine is the host of "College GameDay" on ESPN Radio. Listen every Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. ET as Gerry DiNardo, Todd McShay and Revsine break down the action.