3 things to ponder as another college football Saturday (Sept. 27) arrives:
1, The weekend is off to a gonzo start, thanks to a marquee game Thursday night. Well, it was a game for a little while. UCLA eventually blew out host Arizona State 62-27 in a match of top-15 teams. This show of force by the Bruins was somewhat unexpected. It comes one week after a 20-17 squeaker over Texas and two weeks after a 42-35 scare from Memphis. I repeat, Memphis.
2, I still can’t get over the most amazing stat from last week — Wisconsin’s 644 rushing yards against Bowling Green. Yes, it was only Bowling Green, but 644 yards against Wisconsin-Whitewater’s scout team would be impressive. The 644 is a modern-day (from 1946) Big Ten record. The Badgers rushed 60 times and threw 18 passes. This, one game after rushing for 167 against Western Illinois.
The SEC single-game rushing yardage record is 748 by Alabama in 1973, against Virginia Tech. Tennessee’s single-game record is 513 against Washington & Lee in 1951. That doesn’t rank among the top 10 in the SEC annals.
3, The offensive numbers in the SEC are crazy. Eight teams are averaging at least 40 points a game, led by Texas A&M’s 55.2. Even Florida’s maligned offense is in the act at 40.7. Twelve teams are averaging at least 36 points a game. True, it’s only September and non-conference patsies inflate the scores. Still, Texas A&M has scored 52 on South Carolina, South Carolina beat Georgia 38-35 in a shootout and Alabama hung 42 on Florida. Tennessee is still waiting to get in the act. The Vols are averaging 27.3 points, which is ahead of only Vandy at 19.5.
As recently as 2011 Arkansas led the league in scoring at 36.8. That would tie for 10th place at the moment. From 2002-2006, the leader ranged between 32.1 and 34.0.
Total offense numbers, likewise, have gone through the roof in a league that rose to the top of the heap with superior defenses. Alabama is cranking out 587.5 yards a game, second only to Texas A&M’s 612.5. A mere three years ago, Arkansas led the league at 438 yards. From 2002-2006, the lead varied in a range of 406 to 433.
We’ll revisit the numbers in another month.