16 Craziest College Football Stats from BCS Era
Though the BCS scheme itself has been referred to as crazy, the 16 seasons it dominated college football resulted in some of the wildest stats in history.
The era paid witness to a dramatic rise in the popularity of the game, creating a financial windfall that raised the stakes for everyone with a hand in the pot. This wave of opportunity coincided with an unprecedented offensive explosion, spurred on by the need to manipulate the BCS computers with style points.
It all added up to one of the most exciting periods in history, producing some record statistics. Though there are hundreds of numbers worth revisiting, here is just one crazy stat from each of the 16 years of the BCS era.
1998: Prentice Don’t Drop
The BCS era kicked off with Miami (Ohio) running back Travis Prentice setting the NCAA FBS record for the most consecutive rushes without losing a fumble.
How many carries did he have without a drop? Well, in 1998, he carried the ball 365 times—for 1,787 yards and 19 touchdowns—without a fumble.
His performance was a huge boost to a Redhawk team that streaked to a 10-1 finish, at the time their best mark since 1977.
Prentice also owns the career record for rushes without a fumble with 862.
1999: Slim Pickings in the SEC
What if we told you that the least productive offense in BCS history came from the super-dominant SEC?
The year was 1999, and surprisingly the team was South Carolina, in the first year of the Lou Holtz regime.
How bad was it? Well, the Gamecocks managed only 7.9 points per game on their way to an 0-11 finish.
The next-worst offense in the BCS era was the 2000 Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, a team which managed 8.7 points per game in a 1-10 campaign.
2000: White Goes Over 500 Yards
Utah State running back Emmett White ushered in the new millennium by gaining 578 all-purpose yards in a 44-37 win over New Mexico State.
White, a junior that season, rushed for 344 yards and four scores on 34 attempts, caught seven passes for 134 yards and tacked on 122 yards on five returns to get to the 578-yard mark, an NCAA FBS single-game record.
2001: 49 Points in 6 Minutes
In a 2001 game against Utah State, Fresno State managed to score 49 points in six minutes and 25 seconds. That’s 7.84 points per minute.
The scoring explosion overlapped from the first quarter to the second, and by halftime the Bulldogs had hung up 56 points on the Aggies. The longest drive? Well, it lasted forever, or, for one minute and 42 seconds.
The Bulldogs won the game 70-21, and the feat stands as an NCAA FBS record.
2002: The King of Sacks
Arizona State defensive lineman Terrell Suggs’ 24 sacks in 2002 may be the greatest statistical achievement of the BCS era.
Not only did Suggs earn a place in the NCAA FBS record book for single-season sacks, he owns the record for career sacks with the 44 he registered from 2000-02.
To put the mark into perspective, the most sacks in a season since 2007 came in 2009 when Texas A&M’s Von Miller recorded 16.5, a full 7.5 sacks off Suggs’ record pace in 2002.
2003: The Biggest Loser
Only one program has lost more than 12 games since the modern era of college football kicked off in 1937, the dubious honor going to Army in 2003 for its 0-13 finish.
Despite playing only one ranked team that season—No. 20 TCU—the Black Knights were outscored 476-206 and were held scoreless twice.
2004: Nebraska’s Tragic Season
How bad did Nebraska’s 5-6 finish in 2004 hurt Husker fans? Well, it ended Nebraska’s 35-year bowl run, a streak that still stands as the longest in history.
From 1969, when the Huskers beat Georgia 45-6 in the Sun Bowl, until 2003, when they beat Michigan State 17-3 in the Alamo Bowl, Nebraska never missed out on a bowl bid. And remember, this included the lean years, when there were only 11 total bowl games in 1970, 15 in 1980, 19 in 1990 and 25 in 2000.
2005: USC Finally Falls
From 2002 to 2005, USC won 16 straight games against opponents ranked in the AP Top 25. The streak began on Oct. 19, 2002 when the No. 19 Trojans beat No. 22 Washington 41-21 and didn’t end until Jan. 4, 2006 when they lost 41-38 to No. 2 Texas in the BCS National Championship Game.
Though the wins have since been vacated, the streak still marks the longest in history.
2006: The Comeback
The BCS era played host to the biggest comeback in NCAA FBS history when Michigan State managed a 35-point comeback over Northwestern in 2006.
The Wildcats led the Spartans 38-3 with 9:54 left in the third quarter when Michigan State surged, scoring five straight touchdowns and a final field goal that left Northwestern smarting with a 41-38 loss.
The feat set records for the most points overcome to win a game between FBS teams and the most points overcome in the second half to win a game.
2007: Rushing Euphoria
The athlete who earned the most single-season rushing yards in the BCS era might come as a bit of a surprise because he played for a program that was emerging rather than established.
The year was 2007 and the team was Central Florida, a school that didn’t field a football team until 1979 and didn’t join the FBS ranks until 1996.
The running back was junior Kevin Smith who rushed for 2,567 yards, the offensive cornerstone for a squad that went 10-4 and captured the program’s first-ever conference championship.
Though Smith’s yard total wasn’t enough to dethrone Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders in the NCAA FBS record book—Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards in 1988—his 450 carries are a single-season record.
2008: Boomer Sooner Scoring Streak
In 2008, Oklahoma set an NCAA FBS record by scoring at least 60 points in five consecutive games.
The streak started with a 62-28 win over Nebraska on Nov. 1, continued with a 66-28 win at Texas A&M on Nov. 8, a 65-21 beatdown of No. 2 Texas Tech on Nov. 22, a 61-41 triumph at No. 11 Oklahoma State on Nov. 29 and wrapped up with a 62-21 win over No. 19 Missouri in the Big 12 championship.
The Sooners led the nation in scoring offense that season with 51.1 points per game and ultimately lost to No. 1 Florida 24-14 in the BCS title game.
2009: I Barely Won the Heisman
The narrowest Heisman race in the BCS era came in 2009 when Alabama running back Mark Ingram edged Stanford running back Toby Gerhart by a mere 28 points.
Compare this to the 2013 race when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston beat Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron by 1,501 points.
The next-closest finish in the BCS era came in 2001 when Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch beat second-place finisher Florida quarterback Rex Grossman by 62 points.
2010: Irving Squashes Wake Forest
In one of the most dominant single-game performances in history, NC State linebacker Nate Irving racked up eight tackles for a loss in a 2010, 38-3 win over Wake Forest.
Irving’s eight TFLs resulted in 22 lost yards and earned him a place in the NCAA FBS record book for the most single-game tackles for a loss in history.
2011: The Stingiest of the Stingy
The best scoring defense in the BCS era was the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide, holding opponents to a paltry 8.2 points per game en route to a 12-1 record and a BCS title.
The Crimson Tide gave up only 106 points all season in 2011; 12 touchdowns, seven field goals, 11 extra points and one two-point conversion.
The next-closest competitor was USC’s defense in 2008, which gave up only nine points per game on its way to a 12-1 record and a Pac-10 title.
2012: He’s Not Going to Screw It Up
Ever heard of Colby Cameron? He played quarterback for Louisiana Tech from 2009-12 during which he accomplished a mind-blowing feat.
As a senior in 2012, Cameron threw 428 consecutive passes without throwing an interception. And this is a guy who attempted 522 passes that season, tying him for the fifth most in the FBS.
Cameron’s good decision-making earned him a place in the NCAA FBS record book for the most consecutive passes attempted in a single season without an interception.
2013: The Scoring Explosion
The BCS era’s most productive offense came in the scheme’s final year when Baylor rocketed to an average of 52.4 points per game.
The Bears scored 681 points in 2013; 91 touchdowns, 15 field goals, 88 extra points and a single two-point conversion. They scored eight or more touchdowns on six occasions and scored more than 70 points in three consecutive games.
The next-closest competitor? Well, that was Florida State, which averaged 51.6 points per game in, you guessed it, 2013.
Baylor and Florida State were two of only five teams in the BCS era to average more than 50 points per game.