Most Misleading Stats of the 2013 College Football Season
They say that numbers never lie, but when it comes to college football, numbers do lie, and they lie often.
Statistics, records and rankings can make mediocre teams look elite and strong teams look weak. They can make average players look like Heisman Trophy candidates and All-Americans look average.
Especially early in this 2013 college football season, weak competition has several teams and players looking extraordinary.
In reality, they'll all be exposed as the season rolls along.
Come check out a few numerical fibs that will be denounced though the remainder of the regular season.
Baylor's 70 Points and 779.5 Yards Per Game
Baylor has an incredibly potent offense and might be the best team in the Big 12.
However, even though the Bears do have talent and an excellent scheme, their stats are misleading.
At 70.5 points and 779.5 yards per game, the Bears look on paper like they're actually a team full of football-playing bears mauling their foes. That isn't the case and they'll come down to earth eventually, once they take on a formidable defense.
Their toughest opponent so far, West Virginia, is a decent defensive team, but Baylor had some major payback to serve to the Mountaineers. Last year WVU set the Big 12 record for yards in a game on BU, and BU returned the favor this year by breaking that record.
Baylor will face some stiffer defensive tests later in the season and its numbers should level out some.
James Franklin's Big Stat Line
On paper, Missouri looks like an SEC title contender at 5-0 and James Franklin looks like a Heisman Trophy candidate with his gaudy statistics.
However, Mizzou's paper-thin schedule discounts those figures.
Franklin has thrown for more than 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns, but he did it against Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, Arkansas State and Vanderbilt.
Indiana is the highest rated team of the five, coming in at No. 50 in USA Today's Jeff Sagarin Ratings.
A 5-0 record is impressive, but not when the best of the five wins came over Indiana.
Instead of the Tigers, call them the Paper Tigers.
Marqise Lee's 385 YDS, 1 TD
This just hasn't been Marqise Lee's year.
The reigning Biletnikoff Award winner and preseason All-American had a slow start thanks to the poor quarterback play for USC.
The Trojans finally made it back on track this week with a 38-31 win over Arizona. Quarterback Cody Kessler nearly hit 300 yards passing with a pair of touchdowns.
However, Lee wasn't there to take advantage, as he sat out injured. As a result, he has just 30 catches for 385 yards and one solitary touchdown.
Make no mistake, though—Lee is still one of college football's best receivers.
Louisville's No. 8 Ranking
A Top 10 ranking would normally suggest that a team is in the BCS title conversation.
However, that isn't really the case with Louisville, which is ranked eighth in both the AP and coaches polls.
UL clearly isn't on pace with the rest of the national title contenders. Even against a weak schedule, the Cardinals haven't been dominant.
They struggled against their two toughest opponents, Kentucky and Rutgers, which are far from being juggernauts.
The Cardinals are ranked in the Top 10, but haven't played like a Top 10 team and certainly haven't looked any better than UCLA, Baylor, Oklahoma and numerous other undefeated and even one-loss teams ranked below them.
However, their weak schedule will almost guarantee that they won't have the muscle within the BCS computers to earn a berth in the title game.
Notre Dame's Non-Ranking
After finishing the 2012 regular season at 12-0, a drop off was expected for Notre Dame when it lost several key pieces from that team.
However, a drop completely out of the rankings wasn't something the Fighting Irish anticipated.
ND is better than its ranking, or lack thereof, shows. The Irish have two losses to ranked opponents but have offset that by with wins over Michigan State and Arizona State, both of which are just outside of the ranking threshold.
The Irish aren't a Top 10 team, but they are good enough to be ranked.
As their schedule levels out a bit over the next couple of months, expect them to make a climb.
Michigan's 5-0 Record
On the surface it looks like Michigan is sitting pretty at 5-0 without a worry other than competing for a Big Ten and perhaps even BCS title.
But that couldn't be much further from the truth.
While the Wolverines remain undefeated, they're a whisker away from being 3-2 with a pair of embarrassing losses to Akron and Connecticut.
They escaped with a 28-24 win by a matter of feet against the Zips, who are 1-5 on the year with just a two-point win over an FCS opponent, James Madison.
The next week they had to come from behind to edge Connecticut, 24-21, which is 0-4 on the year with a loss to FCS foe Towson.
Michigan still has a lot to figure out before it can think about challenging archrival Ohio State for the Big Ten crown.
Iowa State's 1-3 Record
A 1-3 start isn't what Iowa State envisioned, but the Cyclones are still better than their record shows.
All three of their losses came by just one possession.
That string included an upset at the hands of a motivated in-state FCS rival Northern Iowa, a thriller against archrival Iowa and a controversial one-point loss to Texas.
ISU will lean on the strong play of quarterback Sam Richardson going forward. The sophomore is No. 3 in the Big 12 in passing, averaging 254.8 yards per game.
With some luck, Iowa State can turn things around and still make a bowl. Then again, not much has gone in favor of the Cyclones this year.
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