We all wade around in the obvious story lines of college football: SEC is the best conference, Auburn is the defending national champions and the Big East is the presumed underdog of all the BCS conferences...
Sometimes we all need a reality check on what just happened.
This is a look back at 10 surprising statistics that have occurred since the year 2000.
Time for a short trip down memory lane...
Who has the most career TDs in the history of NCAA college football to his credit?
Some little-known recruit that matriculated to Central Michigan for his playing days holds that title.
Little-credited—and somewhat still unknown—Dan LeFevour has 150 in total TD's to his name.
It breaks down as 102 passing, 47 rushing and one receiving.
It's an NCAA record that may stand for quite some time. Think about it. Tim Tebow was the first 30/20 guy (passing TDs/rushing TDs) and Cam Newton just exploded for another 30/20 (30 TDs passing/24 rushing/one receiving). That is the best single year ever at 55 TDs.
LeFevour has 150.
If a guys starts for three years that is an average of 50 TD's a year. If he is lucky enough to start for four years it is a 37.5 average TD's per year.
Time for some much-needed credit to be thrown towards Mr. LeFevour's way.
During the 2003 and 2004 college football seasons, the Mean Green were actually, well, mean.
In the 2003 season, Patrick Cobbs (pictured) led the entire country in rushing with 1,680 yards as he led the Mean Green to an undefeated Sun Belt conference title.
Not to be outdone, freshman running back Jamario Thomas one-upped Cobbs and led the nation the following year with 1,801 yards rushing while leading the Mean Green to back-to-back Sun Belt and NCAA leading rushers.
While we can talk about great years out of LaDanian Tomlinson, Ryan Matthews and LaMichael James, none of those schools have ever backed up a rushing-title winner with a brand new one—let alone a freshman.
The often-criticized Pac-10 is a solid 12-10 against the SEC and only have a losing record to a single conference over the past 11 years (Big 12).
While the West Coast/Left Coast has received much criticism as being a pass-happy and soft league, they have gone toe-to-toe with the largely-recognized best conference in the nation and have come out on top more times than not.
While it is easy to argue that USC and their 4-0 record against the SEC has added to that record, it is worth mentioning that the current bottom feeder in UCLA is 4-0 against the mighty SEC as well.
Even with USC's 4-0 record, those games have come against the well-respected SEC teams from Auburn and Arkansas. After all, USC beat SEC Championship-game entrant Arkansas 50-14 on their home turf in 2006 and wiped away any national title hopes that Auburn had in 2003 in a dominating 23-0 win against a preseason Top 10 team.
While it is a small amount of data, the Pac-10 has come out on top in surprising fashion.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Arizona Wildcats are the 85th-ranked team in the country in terms of winning percentage since the year 2000.
That ranks the Cats behind such powers as Northwestern, Kansas, Rutgers, Minnesota, Wake Forest and Iowa State.
While it may come as no shock to Wildcat fans, it is somewhat alarming considering the move of a Stoops brother to Tucson back in 2003 along with some top 15 rankings over the last couple of years at some point in time.
To put this into perspective, the Wildcats have less wins since 2000 than every other team in the Pac-10 outside of Washington State.
Tell me it isn't so Joe, tell me it isn't so...
Now that the Cat is out of the bag in Arizona, how about a look at the new kids on the block in South Florida?
Joining the FBS ranks in just 2001, the South Florida Bulls have more wins than 94 other FBS teams in the entire country over this stretch of time.
That includes such powerhouses as Penn State, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M.
Shocking? Sure. What is really shocking is that South Florida has yet to even win a Big East title amongst all their 2000s success.
Call me a homer, but I had to put this one in here.
Having gone through its worst decade in over 50 years, the Nebraska Huskers somehow finished amongst the top 20 teams in winning percentage and wins since 2000.
Only two teams in the Big 12 and Big 10 rank above Nebraska in wins and winning percentage during this stretch. Not real shocking, but those teams are Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
While it got really bad in 2007, it never got really bad to the tune of a two, three or four-win season. Over that stretch of time, it must be noted that while Nebraska suffered two five-win seasons, they never suffered any back-to-back seasons in which they did not have an 8 win season.
OK—first off, I realize that Kevin Smith played in 14 games to try and capture Barry Sanders' almost-unrealistic 2,628-yard rushing record in a single season.
Yes—I realize that Barry Sanders did that deed in only 11 games and his 222 yards in his bowl game effort would have amounted to 2,850 yards rushing in a single season. I also realize that Barry's 238.9 yards per game record may never be touched.
But still, we are talking about a ridiculous record actually being approached and possibly being broken.
Barry Sanders' record is similar to Bob Beamon's long jump record of 29' 2.5" that stood for 23 years before Mike Powell broke it in 1991.
Kevin Smith came within 61 yards of making it happen.
Either way, it was a spectacular year by Smith that flew well below the radar of many fans across the country.
Louisville is a basketball school, right?
The Ville is all about hoops, right?
Well, the reality is that Louisville has had more wins and a better winning percentage than 94 other FBS schools since the year 2000.
Yes, that includes a plethora of BCS heavyweights already mentioned before.
In reality, did anybody expect this team to be ranked this high according to wins and winning percentage? Seriously?
Sure—John L. Smith and Bobby Petrino had some success, but when did this team ever do anything noteworthy over the past 11 years?
Wow, we may need a recount and another vote on the 90 wins this team has enjoyed since 2000. Did the state of Florida count these wins via hanging Chads?
You should be, but that is the honest and actual number since the year 2000. The highly-doubted and maligned Big East holds an even 17-17 record against the SEC since the year 2000.
I'm not sure I need to go into detail since the Big East is not even supposed to have a single team that could compete in the SEC—much less win.
Laugh all you want; make any excuse you want; these are the honest-to-goodness numbers since the year 2000.
Time to give the Big East a little more respect than most feel they deserve.
And yes, these are the numbers from the current members of the Big East which don't include Miami, Boston College, Temple and Virginia Tech.
You can't be serious Clark...can you?
Yes, over the past 11 seasons even the down-in-the-doldrums, struggling-for-any-kind-of-credit Fighting Irish have 10 more wins than the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.
How, you ask?
Well NCAA sanctions play a part in it, as do some reasonable years in the middle of the decade in which the Irish found their way to a BCS bowl game.
Even while the entire nation was laughing at Charlie Weis and the below-average Irish, the Tide went through some very rough years to start out the 2000s. Years which include a paltry three wins in 2000, six wins in 2001, four wins in 2003, six wins in 2004 and 2006 and a mere seven wins in 2007 add up (or don't) after a while.
OK, OK—not real shocking as Alabama was required to forfeit 21 wins due to a 2009 NCAA ruling of violations made by the Crimson Tide.
But as the records will show 20 years from now, the Irish will have more wins and officially more success in the years from 2000 to 2010 than the mighty 'Bama Crimson Tide.