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May 12, 2008

Statistical research unveils some surprises

MORE: Breaking it down by the numbers

Summertime for college football writers means there's a little spare time for number-crunching.

For me, some research on Oregon State's run of seasons with 1,000-yard running backs (eight in 10 seasons) took on a life of its own. Who has had the most 1,000-yard rushers since 1998 (answer: Minnesota, 12). Who has had none?

That minor project turned into an examination of 3,000-yard passers and 1,000-yard receivers in the BCS era. Some of what we found was not surprising. Some of what we found may stun you.

For example:

North Carolina is the only school not to have any player reach any of those milestones in the last 10 years.

Seven schools have not had a 1,000-yard rusher in the BCS era: Florida Atlantic (never), Stanford (none since 1991), Hawaii (1992), Vanderbilt (1995), Florida State (1996), UAB (1996) and North Carolina (1997).

Every Pac-10 school has had a player reach each plateau except for Stanford, which has not had a 1,000-yard rusher.

65 schools have had at least one of each in the last 10 years.

The only conference in which every team has had at least one 3,000-yard passer in the last 10 years was the WAC.

Here are the conference-by-conference results and some interesting nuggets:


Florida State has not had a 1,000-yard back since Warrick Dunn in 1996.

North Carolina has never had a 3,000-yard passer nor 1,000-yard receiver. North Carolina had a 1,000-yard rusher every season from 1973 to 1984, but a Tar Heel has not hit that mark since Jonathan Linton did it in 1997.

Georgia Tech (four 1,000-yard rushers, two 3,000-yard passers and four 1,000-yard receivers) is the only ACC school to have multiple players in each category in the last 10 years. The Yellow Jackets are one of 30 programs who can make such a claim.

Big 12

No surprise here: Texas Tech leads major conference schools with eight 3,000-yard passing seasons by a quarterback (all consecutive).

Texas is tied with West Virginia with 10 1,000-yard rushers since 1998. Only Minnesota had more.

Three Big 12 programs Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State had at least one player hit every milestone in 2007. Kansas State was the only one of 10 teams nationally to accomplish that feat and not reach a bowl game.

Big East

West Virginia is tied with Texas for second with 10 1,000-yard rushers since 1998. Pat White and Steve Slaton accounted for half of that total.

Syracuse had the second-most 1,000-yard rushers in the league with four.

Seven Big East schools have had 3,000-yard passers in the BCS era. Syracuse has not had one in school history.

Big Ten

Minnesota has a national-best 12 1,000-yard rushing seasons from backs over the last decade. Six of those came in a three-year span from 2003-05.

Michigan has had a 1,000-yard receiver in all but one of the last 10 seasons. Mario Manningham had a team-high 703 receiving yards in 2006.

Purdue has seven 3,000-yard passers in the BCS era. The remainder of the Big Ten has eight. Penn State, Wisconsin and Minnesota have not had a 3,000-yard passer in school history.

Conference USA

UCF is tied with Louisville and USC with seven 1,000-yard seasons from receivers. Only Hawaii, Texas Tech and Michigan had more.

Despite seven receivers hitting the 1,000-yard mark, UCF has had only two 3,000-yard passers Daunte Culpepper and Ryan Schneider.

With 5,065 yards, Paul Smith was the only Tulsa quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in the last decade when he did it last year. Only Tulane and UCF had more 1,000-yard receivers in the last 10 years than Tulsa had (three) in 2007.


Northern Illinois is the active leader with a 1,000-yard rusher in nine consecutive seasons.

Mountain West

New Mexico has had six consecutive seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher, tied with Cal and behind Northern Illinois for the nation's best active streak.

Air Force is the only service academy that has had a 1,000-yard receiver in school history. None had a 3,000-yard passing season from a quarterback.


The Pac-10 and the WAC are the only conferences in which every program has had at least one 1,000-yard receiver since 1998.

California leads all major conferences with an active streak of six seasons with a 1,000-yard back.

Oregon State has been quietly productive in all three categories. The Beavers had more 1,000-yard rushers (eight) and more 3,000-yard quarterbacks (five) than anyone else in the league. They also had five 1,000-yard receivers.


Florida once had a streak of eight seasons with a 1,000-yard receiver. That ended in 2002. The Gators' five 1,000-yard receivers in the BCS era are two fewer than UCF has had over the same span.

Kentucky leads the SEC with five 3,000-yard passers since 1998. Florida had four. Ole Miss had three.

Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi State have never had 3,000-yard passing seasons from a quarterback. Mississippi State and Ole Miss have not had 1,000-yard receivers in school history.

Sun Belt

FAU has the Sun Belt's only two 3,000-yard passers in the last decade, but is the only one without a 1,000-yard rusher.


Hawaii has had the most 3,000-yard passers with nine in the last 10 years. All nine have been consecutive. Hawaii also has had the most 1,000-yard receivers over that span with 13, four more than Texas Tech and Michigan.

Hawaii's lack of a 1,000-yard rushing season from a back is the only milestone that has not been hit by every team in the league. Every WAC team other than Hawaii has at least two 1,000-yard rushers in the BCS era.

After Hawaii, Nevada has the second-most 1,000-yard receivers with six.

MORE: Breaking it down by the numbers

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.

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