Friday Fast Facts – Colorado at USC edition

Trivia question of the week: There is something unique about the USC Trojan uniform that no other team in the FBS can claim. What is it?

Pac-12 lines and television schedule … 

Lines from 5Dimes

— Utah (3-2, 1-2) … a 14.0-point favorite at home against Arizona (3-3, 2-1) … Friday, 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPN … Utah leads the series, 22-19-2 … Last: Utah 30-24 (2017)

— No. 17 Oregon (4-1, 1-1) … a 3.0-point underdog at home against No. 7 Washington (5-1, 3-0) … Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN/ABC … Washington leads the series, 60-45-5 … Last: Washington 38-3 (2017)

— California (3-2, 0-2) … a 7.5-point favorite at home against UCLA (0-5, 0-2) … Saturday, 5:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … UCLA leads the series, 54-33-1 … Last: UCLA 30-27 (2017)

— USC (3-2, 2-1) … a 7.0-point favorite at home against No. 19 Colorado (5-0, 2-0) … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1 … USC leads the series, 12-0 … Last: USC 38-24 (2017)

— Idle … Washington State … next: v. Oregon

— Idle … Arizona State … next: v. Stanford next Thursday

— Idle … Stanford … next: at Arizona State next Thursday

— Idle … Oregon State … next, v. California

Big Picture

— Colorado is 5-0 to start the 2018 season, opening 5-0 for the 25th time in its history. The last time the Buffs opened with five straight wins was in 1998, when the Buffs also opened with a 5-0 record (going on to finish 8-4);

— Colorado is 705-501-36 all-time (.582). The Buffs are 25th in all-time victories;

— Colorado continues to lead the nation in percentage of pass completions to wide receivers. Of CU’s 119 completions, 113 have gone to wide outs (95.0%);

— The Buffs have played well in the second half this season, out-scoring opponents 88-34, with a 1,330-818 advantage in total offense. In third quarter scoring, CU is ahead of its opponents, 65-31, with a 23-3 advantage in the fourth quarter;

— Colorado is 5-0 after a 5-7 season last fall. This marks the second time in school history that the Buffs have matched the previous season’s win total in as many games the following year. In 1997, the Buffs finished 5-6, but went 5-0 to start the 1998 campaign (finishing 8-4);

— It is well documented that USC is 12-0 against Colorado, but this is an anomaly in CU annals. Only three other teams have ever won as many as ten straight games over the Buffs (Nebraska 18, 1968-85 … Oklahoma 12, 1977-88 … Missouri 10, 1938-50);

— USC’s secondary coach is Ronnie Bradford, who was a star at Colorado. Bradford was a cornerback for the Buffs, 1989-92, earning All-Big Eight honors as a senior. What many Buff fans remember Bradford for, though, is one play his sophomore year. Bradford blocked an extra point attempt by Notre Dame in the 1991 Orange Bowl, with that point turning out to be the difference in a 10-9 Colorado victory.

Statistically speaking

— Another stat in which the number 12 makes Buff fans cringe … In two games against the Buffs (2011 and 2012), USC quarterback Matt Barkley threw 12 touchdown passes (six in each game);

— USC not only carries with it into the game a 12-0 all-time record against CU, but a string of 18 straight home wins in the Coliseum. The Trojans have yet to lose a home game under head coach Clay Helton, who took over as interim head coach in November, 2015;

— Colorado is ranked in the top 25 nationally in several categories: passing offense (23rd – 293.0 yards/game); total offense (18th – 490.6 yards/game); scoring defense (21st – 18.4 points/game); tackles for loss (22nd – 7.6/game); turnovers lost (6th – 4); sacks (20th – 3.00/game); and team passing efficiency (12th – 171.3);

— In addition to the above categories, Colorado is ranked in the top three in the Pac-12 conference in several other categories, including: scoring offense (37.8 points/games); opponent fourth down conversions (36.4%); turnover margin (+.60/game); and red zone defense (72.7%);

— USC, on the other hand, is uncharacteristically 100th or worse nationally in a number of significant statistical categories. The Trojans are 102nd in scoring offense (24.6 points/game); 105th in first downs (100); 127th in fourth-down conversion offense (20%); 121st in fourth down conversion defense (77.8%); 123rd in penalties (9.2/game); and 124th in turnovers gained (3);

— The Buffs are 23-8 under Mike MacIntyre in games in which they score at least 30 points.

Colorado and USC … historical

Colorado enjoys a certain amount of national historical credibility, and stacks up well against most teams in the Pac-12 in historical statistics.

Against USC? Not so much.

In the 12 categories cataloged by Winsipedia, the Buffs lead the Trojans in exactly … none of them.

Some of USC’s impressive national rankings:

— 1st in NFL draft picks, with 506 (CU is 23rd, with 271);

— 6th in weeks spent in the AP poll, with 767 (CU is 26th, with 304);

— 4th in consensus All-Americans, with 81 (CU is 21st, with 31);

— 4th in conference championships, with 37 (CU is 10th, with 26).

The Trojans also have 837 all-time wins, 11 national championships, seven Heisman trophy winners (one vacated), and 5 No. 1 overall NFL draft picks.

Colorado and USC – head-to-head

Unless you have been ignoring all news stories about this weekend’s game, you are all-too familiar with the fact that Colorado is 0-12 all-time against USC.

The series dates back to 1927, when the Buffs made a November trip to Southern California, only to head home with a 46-7 defeat.

The next time the two teams played, it was 1963, and the Buffs faced off against a Trojan team ranked No. 1 in the country. In Eddie Crowder’s first game as CU’s head coach, the Buffs played well, but the Trojans escaped with a 14-0 victory.

As members of the Pac-12, the Buffs are 0-7 against the Trojans, and, until the 2015 game in Boulder, the series wasn’t particularly close. The average score of the first four games was 48-20, with USC nationally ranked for each game.

In 2016, with the Trojans unranked for the first time against the Buffs (there were no national rankings in 1927), USC escaped, 27-24, in a game which the Buffs led in the second quarter, 17-3 (before Sefo Liufau was injured).

Last season, CU was a 13.5-point underdog to No. 15 USC, so a 38-24 final doesn’t sound so bad. That is, until you remember that it was 20-0 at halftime, and 27-0 before the Buffs got on the board in the third quarter.

Player Notes

— Quarterback Steven Montez remains highly ranked nationally in a number of categories: completion percentage (2nd – .752); passing efficiency (10th – 174.2); and total offense (14th – 309.0 yards/game);

— Wide receiver Laviska Shenault leads the nation in receiving yards per game (141.6) and receptions per game (10.2). Shenault is also 4th in the nation in scoring (12.0 points/game); and is 11th in the nation in all-purpose yards (149.8 yards/game);

— Defensive end Mustafa Johnson is tied for 23rd in the nation in sacks per game (.90);

— Running back Travon McMillian is fourth in the Pac-12 (20th in the nation) in rushing yards per game (105.6 yards/game);

— Defensive back Ronnie Blackmon is second in the Pac-12 (32nd in the nation) in punt return average (9.9 yards/return).

Pac-12 Notes

— There are 11 FBS teams which remain undefeated, with Colorado the only Pac-12 team (and only team west of the Mississippi) which remains unbeaten. The last time Colorado was the last team in its conference to remain undefeated was 1989. On November 4th, the 8-0 (and 2nd-ranked) Buffs took on the 8-0 (and third-ranked) Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Buffs prevailed, 27-21, going to 9-0 in what would become an 11-0 regular season record;

— Three teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the latest Associated Press poll … No. 7 Washington … No. 17 Oregon … and No. 19 Colorado. Three Pac-12 teams were on the list of teams receiving votes: No. 27 Stanford; No. 28 Washington State; and 32 Utah;

— Washington has now appeared in 39 consecutive AP polls, including 29 weeks in the top ten;

— In addition to Laviska Shenault leading the nation in receiving yards and receptions per game (and Steven Montez second in the  nation in completion percentage), the Pac-12 has one other national leader. Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshaw II currently leads the nation in completions per game (35.83), passing yards per game (403.7 yards per game), and total offense (411.0 yards/game).

Trivia question answer: USC is the only FBS school never to have had surnames on the back of its jerseys.


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