Extra Points: Road Warriors, Unbeatens, and Top QBs

My alma mater, Michigan, just wrapped up the nonconference portion of its schedule with a victory over San Diego State. All four of the Wolverines’ out-of-league games were at home, and the early part of their Big Ten schedule means they leave the state of Michigan just once before Nov. 5. In total, Michigan will play eight of its 12 regular season games at the Big House.

Illinois and Baylor also have eight home games. These schools with home-heavy schedules got me thinking about those that play a majority of their games on the road.

By my count, there are nine teams with only five home dates for 2011: Central Michigan, Colorado, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Navy, Rice, Troy, and UAB.

Four of these schools hail from the Sun Belt conference. Colorado is the only school from a BCS conference, though its small home slate was not by choice. “We want to play in Folsom six times annually and are working to secure that number of games as we schedule forward for the long term,” Colorado’s athletic director Mike Bohn said in a statement last November. “Every school is making what to them is some kind of sacrifice to get the Pac-12 up and rolling, and as for us, we were faced with having only five home games in either 2011 or 2012.”

(Colorado, like Navy, does have a neutral site game on its schedule: The Buffs played Colorado State in Denver and Navy will play its annual game against Army in Landover, Md.)

Hats off to these schools for their willingness to travel, though the reasons are typically beyond their control (as in Colorado’s case) or financial (Louisiana-Monroe collected $1.3 million for its 34-0 defeat at Florida State earlier this season).


There are 22 undefeated teams remaining through four weeks of the college football season. Seven are 3-0, while the others are 4-0. There are seven unbeatens from the Big 12, four each from the Big Ten and SEC, and three from the ACC. The Big Ten and Big East haven’t played conference games yet.

There is no question as to which team’s schedule has been the most impressive. LSU has played three ranked teams, two on the road and one at a neutral site, and spanked all of them.

Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is completing 85% of his passes for an undefeated team that will play eight home games this season. (Credit: Caesarscott)

Other impressive resumes, as far as schedule strength, belong to Alabama, Boise State, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. These teams have played at least one ranked opponent.

Unbeatens that haven’t been tested at all include Houston, Stanford, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin. This will change for the Hokies and Badgers on Saturday—they host Clemson and Nebraska, respectively. These are two of the five match-ups of undefeated teams this Saturday (Baylor/Kansas State, Texas/Iowa State, and Alabama/Florida are the others).

For what it’s worth, among the unbeatens only Wisconsin, Stanford, and Florida rank in the top-25 in both total offense and total defense.

Year of the Quarterback

From a statistical standpoint, this has been an unbelievable September for quarterbacks. There are 14 signal callers completing at least 70 percent of their passes and five at 75 percent or better. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III has been the most impressive of the bunch. Through three games, Griffin has completed an astronomical 85 percent of his passes. Even more mind-boggling is this: He has thrown more touchdown passes (13) than incompletions (12).

Last year, Northwestern’s Dan Persa led the nation in completion percentage at 73, and just four others hit the 70 percent mark. It will be interesting to see if these red-hot quarterbacks can keep it up as we move into conference play.

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