Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.
Some like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test, while others fall on the sabermetric side of things. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.
With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from another stellar season of ACC college football:
6: Cities in which Duke has defeated Virginia Tech
The 13-10 road win for Duke over the Hokies in Week 9 featured a plethora of interesting stats. It was the first road win over a ranked opponent for Duke in 42 years. The Blue Devils' sixth win made Duke bowl-eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The two starting quarterbacks, Anthony Boone and Logan Thomas, combined for eight interceptions and zero passing touchdowns. In fact, Duke didn't complete a pass in the second half and was 0-for-11 on third downs for the game. Lastly, it was Duke's first ever win in Blacksburg, giving the Blue Devils a win over the Hokies in six different cities. Duke has beaten Tech in Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, all in North Carolina, as well as Norfolk, Roanoke and, now, Blacksburg, in Virginia. The win was one of 10 for David Cutcliffe’s squad this year — the first such 10-win season in school history.
42.3: Average margin of victory for Florida State in 2013
After topping Duke 45-7 in the ACC title game, Florida State won all 13 games it played this fall and earned a spot in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. But the Noles didn't slip into the title game like the Tigers did. Florida State didn't need any help from Michigan State, Oklahoma State or Utah. The Seminoles crushed the opposition all season. Jimbo Fisher's squad outscored its 13 opponents 689-139 for an average margin of victory of more than six touchdowns per game. Again, that's more than six touchdowns per game. There is a reason they are the clear-cut No. 1 team in the polls — even if they are facing the "Team of Destiny" in Pasadena.
38: Jameis Winston's NCAA freshman passing TDs record
He won the Heisman Trophy for a reason. Jameis Winston led the Seminoles to a perfect 13-0 record, an ACC championship and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. He is the nation's most efficient passer (190.06) and has thrown more touchdown passes than any freshman in NCAA history. With three scoring strikes in the easy win over Duke in the ACC title game, Winston passed Sam Bradford's NCAA freshman record of 36. The Noles' signal-caller finished the year with 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns, 10 interceptions on 67.9 percent passing to go with 193 yards rushing and four more touchdowns on the ground.
2,102: Andre Williams' ACC single-season rushing record
With a late flurry of big games, Boston College’s Andre Williams has set himself atop the ACC record book in more than one way. He broke Virginia running back Thomas Jones’ single-season ACC rushing record (1,798) by a wide margin by becoming just the 16th player in NCAA history to reach 2,000 yards. He broke Wake Forest back John Leach’s single-game rushing record (329) with 339 yards against NC State in Week 12. Williams is just five carries (329) shy of breaking the single-season ACC rushing attempts record (334) set by both Jones in 1999 and Maryland’s Charlie Wysocki in 1980. Williams carried BC to an impressive 7-5 bowl season one year after going 2-10.
30: Brandon Connette's Duke all-time touchdown record
Not many backup quarterbacks play in 38 career games. Not many backup quarterbacks rush for 30 career touchdowns. Not many backup quarterbacks hold a school record for touchdowns scored. But then again, there aren't many players like Duke second stringer Brandon Connette. The 6-5, 225-pounder from Corona, Calif., rushed 78 times for 321 yards and eight TDs in 2010 as a freshman before carrying just eight times for minus-14 yards and one score in 2011. Connette bounced back to rush 41 times for 91 yards and eight TDs last season, before a breakout '13 that featured a career-high 99 carries, 333 yards and 13 rushing TDs. No Duke player in school history has scored as many times as Connette. Not bad for a guy with one career start under his belt before the start of the season. Tom Davis owned the previous benchmark of 25 set back in 1945.
11: NCAA-record bowl teams for the ACC in 2013
When the dust settles on the 2013 bowl season, the ACC could be staring at an ugly record despite setting a prestigious record. Pitt pulled an upset over Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Bowl, but the rest of the season doesn't look promising despite setting an NCAA record by sending 11 teams bowling. Duke, Virginia Tech and Boston College are heavy underdogs to Texas A&M, UCLA and Arizona, respectively. Clemson, Miami, Georgia Tech and Syracuse aren't favored to defeat Ohio State, Louisville, Ole Miss and Minnesota. Maryland and North Carolina are slight favorites over Marshall and Cincinnati while Florida State boasts the biggest advantage as a 7.5-point favorite over Auburn.
34: Fewest touchdowns scored by any bowl team
That dubious honor belongs to the embattled Virginia Tech Hokies. Running backs Trey Edmunds (12), Joel Caleb (1) and Chris Mangus (1) scored 14 times. Wide receivers D.J. Coles (6), Demitri Knowles (3), Willie Byrn (2) and Joshua Stanford (1) combined to score 12 times. Tight end Kalvin Cline scored twice and quarterback Logan Thomas rushed for four touchdowns. And the Hokies scored two defensive touchdowns thanks to Derek DiNardo and Detrick Bonner. The Hokies were 96th nationally in scoring offense at 23.4 points per game.
127: Tajh Boyd's ACC total TDs record
No player in ACC history has thrown more touchdown passes or accounted for more total scores than Boyd. In just three full seasons as the starter for Clemson, Boyd threw for 11,526 yards and 102 touchdowns through the air while rushing for 25 more on the ground. His 102 passing scores and 127 total touchdowns are both all-time ACC records. Boyd passed NC State’s Philip Rivers for both benchmarks.
8: Anthony Harris' nation's leading interceptions
The Cavaliers didn't have too many bright spots as they lost their final nine games and finished 2-10 on the season. The lone bright spot was the junior defensive back from Chesterfield, Va. Anthony Harris led the nation in interceptions with eight picks in seven different games. It was the most interceptions by a Wahoo since Ronde Barber led the ACC in 1994.
3-5: ACC's record against the SEC
In the first game of the year, South Carolina quickly jumped out to a lead over North Carolina and held on for a relatively easy win over the Tar Heels. That same weekend, Alabama — well, all but one play — completely stifled Virginia Tech in Atlanta while Clemson outlasted Georgia in a Death Valley shootout for the ages. On the final weekend of the regular season, the SEC won the rivalry games 3-1 with wins from Georgia over Georgia Tech, South Carolina over Clemson and Vanderbilt over Wake Forest. Florida State was the lone ACC winner on rivalry weekend. Between those two weekends, the Hurricanes topped No. 12 Florida in Miami. So while the season had some high moments, the league is still playing second fiddle in a big way to the SEC. Duke will face Texas A&M, Georgia Tech will face Ole Miss and, of course, Florida State will see Auburn in the BCS National Championship. In theory, the ACC could post a winning record against the SEC this year.
32: Florida State’s bowl streak, the longest active one in the nation
The Seminoles kept their nation’s best bowl streak alive in style by landing in the BCS National Championship Game. It marks 32 consecutive seasons that the Noles have been playing in the postseason. Boise State (12 straight) owns the longest active bowl streak by a team not in an automatic-qualifying (AQ) conference.
1978: Woody Hayes punched a Clemson player in the Gator Bowl
There are a lot of great stats concerning the Ohio State-Clemson Orange Bowl matchup this winter. The game marks the 10th BCS bowl for the Buckeyes, the most by any team in the nation. The trip to the Orange Bowl is the first for Ohio State since 1976. But more importantly, it will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Clemson since Woody Hayes famously punched Clemson’s Charlie Bauman at the end of the 1978 Gator Bowl. Clemson won the only meeting between these two that day 17-15 and Hayes was fired the next day.