Originally Published: November 18, 2013

Streaking to the finish of the regular season

By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

With three weeks to go in the 2013 college football regular season, No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State still seem to be streaking toward the final BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 6.

Georgia fans aren't likely to forget the image of Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis streaking down the middle of the field after catching a deflected ball off a Bulldogs defender for a 73-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the Tigers' 43-38 victory anytime soon. Northwestern fans will be similarly disgusted at the sight of Michigan streaking onto the field to line up for a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation. The kick was good, and then the Wildcats lost 27-19 in triple overtime, seriously damaging their hopes of playing in a bowl game.

Michigan Wolverines
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsMichigan eked out a 27-19 win over Northwestern in three overtimes Saturday.

With the regular season heading toward its close, On the Mark takes a look at some of the more significant active and recently retired streaks in college football:

1. Alabama has occupied the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for 13 consecutive weeks this season and 14 in a row dating to last season. Only six other teams -- 1943 Notre Dame (nine weeks), 1945 Army (nine), 1971 Nebraska (14), 1972 USC (14), 1999 Florida State (16) and 2004 USC (16) -- were ranked No. 1 for an entire season.

Alabama's 20-7 win over Mississippi State on Saturday also secured the Tide's sixth consecutive 10-win season. In 118 seasons of football, the Crimson Tide have won 10 games or more 33 times, tied with Oklahoma for the most in major college football history. Nebraska (28) and Michigan (26) are next.

2. After trouncing Illinois 60-35 on Saturday, Ohio State has won 22 consecutive games, the longest active streak in FBS. For Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, it's the fifth-best start to a tenure at a new school in major college football history, trailing only Pittsburgh's Pop Warner (30 in a row from 1915-18), Michigan's Fielding Yost (29 from 1901-03), Yale's Walter Camp (28 from 1888-89) and Miami's Larry Coker (24 from 2001-02).

Meyer is also the first coach in major college football to have three separate winning streaks lasting 20 games or more. Meyer won his final 16 games as Utah's coach in 2003-04 and then his first four games as Florida's coach in '05. His 2008-09 Gators teams combined to win 22 games in a row, and now his first two Ohio State teams have matched the streak.

3. Florida lost its fifth game in a row, 19-14 at No. 10 South Carolina on Saturday night, its first five-game losing streak since it went winless in 1979, which was also the last time the Gators finished below .500. The Gators' streak of 32 consecutive non-losing seasons, which will end with a loss against either FCS foe Georgia Southern or No. 2 Florida State, is the eighth longest in major college football history and the second-longest active streak among FBS teams. FSU has 35 consecutive non-losing seasons since 1977.

Urban Meyer
Icon SMIUrban Meyer has yet to lose as Ohio State head coach.

The Gators' streak of 22 consecutive bowl games, the longest among FBS teams, also is in jeopardy if they don't win their final two games. Florida State has played in a bowl game after each of the previous 31 seasons, but it was forced to vacate its 2006 Emerald Bowl appearance because of NCAA violations, so its streak officially stands at six seasons in a row.

4. Northern Illinois has a 23-game winning streak against MAC foes after beating Ball State 48-27 on Wednesday night, the longest active streak in FBS. On the flip side, Illinois has a 20-game Big Ten losing streak after falling to Ohio State, which is the second longest in conference history behind Northwestern (38 games). Illinois' conference losing streak is also the longest active drought among FBS teams after Kansas ended a 27-game losing streak in Big 12 games with a 31-19 win over West Virginia on Saturday.

The Huskies claim to have the longest active home winning among FBS teams at 25 games and counting. But the NCAA doesn't recognize the streak because the Huskies' losses to Wisconsin in 2011 and Iowa in 2012 at Chicago's Soldier Field were technically home contests. So the NCAA says South Carolina has the longest home winning streak in FBS at 16 victories in a row, the longest such streak in school history.

5. The longest active streak of a team forcing a turnover belongs to Missouri at 40 games; the longest active streak of a team turning the ball over belongs to Tulsa at 41 games. The last Tulsa game in which it didn't turn over the ball was a 64-27 victory over Rice on Nov. 6, 2010.

6. Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith has accounted for a touchdown in 33 straight games, the longest active streak by an FBS player and a Mountain West Conference record. In fact, the junior has been responsible for at least one touchdown in every game of his career.

7. Michigan's offense has been unspectacular the past three weeks, but the Wolverines still have the longest active streak of not being shut out in FBS. The Wolverines have scored in 361 consecutive games; their last shutout loss was a 26-0 defeat against Iowa on Oct. 20, 1984. The NCAA record of scoring in a game was set by BYU in 361 straight games from 1975 to 2003. Michigan State came close to blanking the Wolverines this season; Ohio State might be able to pull it off in "The Game" in two weeks.

8. Michigan State's stout defense went more than three hours (194 minutes, 33 seconds) without giving up a touchdown until Saturday's game at Nebraska. The Spartans allowed Indiana to throw a late touchdown with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter of a 42-28 victory on Oct. 12, and then allowed only three field goals combined in victories over Purdue, Illinois and Michigan. The Cornhuskers finally scored a touchdown against MSU on Tommy Armstrong Jr.'s 32-yard scoring pass to Sam Burtch with 2:44 left in the first quarter of the Spartans' 41-28 win in Lincoln.

David Cutcliffe
Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesDuke has won six games in a row and is in control of its destiny in the ACC Coastal.

9. Duke ended a 47-game losing streak against ranked opponents by defeating then-No. 14 Virginia Tech 13-10 on the road Oct. 26. Now the Blue Devils have won back-to-back games against ranked foes after upsetting No. 23 Miami 48-30 at home Saturday. Duke has won more games the past two seasons combined (14) than they did under coach David Cutcliffe's previous two predecessors combined (13 wins from 1999 to 2007).

10. Texas A&M has scored at least 40 points in 13 straight games. FSU has scored 40 points in each of their 10 games this season for the first time in school history.

11. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan threw two interceptions in a 20-17 loss to USC on Saturday night, but he's still 8-0 against AP Top 25 opponents.

12. Oregon's Marcus Mariota hasn't thrown an interception in his past 353 passing attempts, a Pac-12 record and the longest such streak among FBS quarterbacks. His last pick came in a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford on Nov. 17, 2012. The last FBS quarterback to throw at least 150 passes and not throw an interception in an entire season was Virginia's Matt Blundin in 1991.

Mariota is now the NCAA's career leader in interception percentage at 0.97 percent among quarterbacks with at least 600 pass attempts.

13. Southern Miss suffered its 22nd consecutive loss Saturday, falling to Florida Atlantic 41-7 at home. The Golden Eagles' last win was a 24-17 victory over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve 2011. Southern Miss' drought is tied for ninth longest in FBS history with Duke (2005-07). Northwestern set the FBS record with 34 losses in a row from 1979-82.

14. Baylor piled up 675 yards of offense in its 63-34 win over Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday night. The Bears have had 400 yards or more of offense in 36 consecutive games, the longest streak among FBS teams. Texas A&M is second at 21 games in a row. Bears QB Bryce Petty and Fresno State's Derek Carr are the only players to have thrown at least two touchdown passes in every game this season.

15. UNLV is sitting at 5-5 with two regular-season games left: at Air Force on Thursday and home against San Diego State on Nov. 30. If the Rebels win one of their two remaining games, there's a good chance they'll go bowling for the first time since beating Arkansas 31-14 in the 2000 Las Vegas Bowl. Only New Mexico State (no bowl since 1960) and Eastern Michigan (1987) have longer active bowl droughts.

On the Mark

Over the past month of the season, quarterbacks have been falling in and out of the Heisman Trophy race every week. How about Boston College tailback Andre Williams? The senior ran for 634 yards with four touchdowns in his past two games and 972 yards with seven scores in the past four. His four-game total is more than 11 FBS teams have totaled the entire season.

In the Eagles' 38-21 victory over NC State on Saturday, Williams set an ACC single-game rushing record with 339 yards on 42 carries. He had 295 yards in a 48-34 win at New Mexico State his previous game. Williams leads FBS players with 1,810 yards and needs 190 in his final two games (at Maryland and at Syracuse) to become only the 15th player in FBS history to run for 2,000 yards in a season.

"He's the leading rusher in America," BC coach Steve Addazio said. "He stands for what's right in college football. He's certainly without a doubt one of the more dominant players in college football. He's an unselfish guy who realizes that he has a great offensive line in front of him and he realizes that this is a team game."

Off the Mark

The worst home loss of his 16-year Texas tenure couldn't have come at a worst time for Longhorns coach Mack Brown. Just as it seemed Brown was beginning to quiet his critics with a six-game winning streak, the Longhorns were embarrassed in a 38-13 loss to No. 12 Oklahoma State in Austin on Saturday. It was UT's eighth consecutive home defeat against a ranked foe.

Now, the Longhorns might have to beat Texas Tech at home on Thanksgiving night and Baylor on the road on Dec. 7 to win the Big 12.

"If there's nothing to play for, it's a very difficult thing," Brown said. "But we're still in November with a conference championship sticking right in our face."

Quarterback Case McCoy threw three interceptions, including one the Pokes returned 43 yards for a touchdown just before the end of the first half.

On the Mark

I'll say it again: It would be a shame if the final chaotic seconds in Wisconsin's 32-30 loss at Arizona State on Sept. 14 keep it out of a BCS bowl game. The Badgers' only other loss came against Ohio State and they've won five games in a row, including a 51-3 rout of Indiana on Saturday.

Wisconsin is simply running over opponents. Tailback James White scored on a 93-yard touchdown run on the Badgers' first play from scrimmage Saturday and finished with a career-high 205 yards. Two other Wisconsin tailbacks, Melvin Gordon (146) and Corey Clement (108) also ran for more than 100 yards against a very porous IU defense. The Badgers finished with 554 rushing yards on 50 carries, nearly breaking the school record of 564 yards set last season against, you guessed it, Indiana.

Off the Mark

In less than a year, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen went from offensive genius to the Big 12 coach who finally let Kansas end its Big 12 losing streak. The Mountaineers, who were the toast of college football in the first half of the 2012 season because of their high-scoring offense, lost at Kansas 31-19 on Saturday, knocking them out of contention to play in a bowl game.

The Jayhawks ended a 27-game losing streak against Big 12 foes and did so in dominant fashion. West Virginia trailed 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, before scoring two meaningless touchdowns in the final five minutes. Kansas fans stormed the field and tore down the goal posts after witnessing the Jayhawks' first Big 12 win in more than three years.


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