Tide, Seminoles defenses chase perfection

1. Both Alabama and Florida State are coming off consecutive shutouts and will be looking to do something that hasn't happened in the BCS era (since 1998). No team over that stretch has posted three consecutive shutouts in a season. The last team with three straight shutouts was Kansas State in 1995.

Since the NCAA reclassified into FBS and FCS in 1978, it's happened six times (Ball State in 1978, Nebraska in 1979, Michigan in 1980, Auburn in 1988, Boston College in 1992 and Kansas State in 1995). The all-time record? 35 consecutive shutouts by Yale from 1890-93.

2. Auburn is in danger of going 0-2 in the SEC unless it can upset LSU on Saturday. It would be an unfamiliar place for the Tigers. Auburn hasn't been 0-2 in the SEC since 1980.

Only one current FBS team that's been in a conference at least that long has a longer streak without starting a conference season 0-2. Michigan hasn't done so since 1967, two seasons before Bo Schembechler came to Ann Arbor. Auburn certainly doesn't want to replicate its 1980 start. The Tigers went 0-6 in the SEC that season.

3. Speaking of Auburn, USC has dropped to 13th in the AP Poll after being ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll. That's the earliest a preseason No. 1 has dropped out of the top 10 since Auburn in 1984. That year, the Tigers fell to 11th in the September 11th poll after losing their opener to Miami. Auburn would also lose the following week and fall to 19th, before rebounding to finish 14th in the final poll.

4. Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas leads FBS in yards per rush (17.5) this season (minimum 10 attempts), including four touchdown runs of 30 yards or longer, which also leads the nation. He’s carried the ball just 13 times this season, but on seven of those runs has not been contacted until at least five yards past the line of scrimmage, and on three of his 30-yard touchdown runs he was not touched at all.

Thomas will get a test Saturday as he faces an Arizona defense that has yet to allow a run of 30 yards or more this season and allowed just one 20-plus yard run.

5. Terry Bowden is back in the SEC.. sort of. He takes his Akron Zips to Knoxville this week for a battle with Tennessee in his first matchup with an SEC opponent since his final season at Auburn in 1998. But of all the SEC teams to play, perhaps the Vols were a bad choice.

In his coaching career, Tennessee is the only FBS school that Bowden has coached against more than once without a win (he’s 0-2). In fact, in his 16 seasons as a college head coach at all levels, there are only five other such teams that Bowden has faced more than once and never beaten (Georgia Southern 0-3, Emory & Henry 0-2, Jacksonville State 0-2, Nicholls State 0-2, Alabama State 0-1-1).