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 Big 12 college football:
872: Baylor's Big 12 single-game record for total offense
The list of superlatives the Bears’ offense piled up in 2013 is astounding. Art Briles' bunch posted 476 yards rushing and 396 yards passing for a Big 12-record 872 yards of total offense in Week 5 alone. That would be a record in every other conference in the nation except the Pac-12. Baylor has scored at least 70 points four times in 2013 and topped 59 points in three others. The Bears led the nation with 623.8 yards per game, including three of the top five single-game yardage totals of the season.
1980: Baylor's last outright conference championship
Technically, the Bears earned a share of the 1994 Southwest Conference championship. However, Texas A&M had the best record in the league (10-0-1) but was ineligible as Baylor tied with Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Rice at 4-3 for a five-way split championship. But the last time the Bears won an outright conference championship was the 10-2 squad of 1980 coached by Grant Teaff. Only twice prior to 2013 had Baylor won 10 games in a season (1980, 2011) and had never won 11 games in school history. In fact, the last time Baylor finished a season with just one loss was a 5-1-2 Frank Bridges-coached team in 1923. The Bears will play in their first BCS game in program history when it meets UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. And the icy cold 30-10 drubbing of Texas in a de facto Big 12 title game was a perfect way to put an end to Floyd Casey Stadium.
48.6: Points allowed per game by Texas Tech in its last five games
Kliff Kingsbury began his career as the Red Raiders head coach with seven consecutive wins. But turnovers cost his team in Norman when Oklahoma topped Tech 38-30 in the final weekend of October. It was the beginning of the end of the honeymoon for Kingsbury. His team lost five straight games and allowed nearly 50 points per game along the way. Oklahoma State scored 52, Kansas State scored 49, Baylor scored 63 and Texas posted 41 against the reeling Raiders defense. 'Ol Skinny Jeans has a lot of work to do on his defense in his first full offseason in Lubbock after allowing 48.6 points per game over the final five games of '13.
159: Bob Stoops' school record for wins at Oklahoma
Stoops passed the legendary Barry Switzer as the Sooners’ all-time winningest coach with an underrated 10-2 campaign. Before yet another BCS bowl, Stoops sits at 159 wins while at Oklahoma — two ahead of Switzer’s long-standing record. He has seven outright Big 12 championships and a share of an eighth title with four BCS national championship game appearance during his 15 seasons in Norman.
1-8: Mike Gundy's record against Oklahoma
Over the last four years, Oklahoma State is 41-10 overall with three seasons of at least 10 wins. But Mike Gundy just can't seem to solve the Bedlam riddle. The Sooners, led by starter-turned-backup quarterback Blake Bell, drove 66 yards on eight plays to score the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in the regular-season finale. The loss wasn't just a bitter defeat at the hands of an in-state archival. Oklahoma State was a double-digit favorite at home needing a win to clinch a BCS bowl and win the Big 12 championship. Moreover, Oklahoma State had the lead with less than two minutes to play. The loss knocked Oklahoma State out of the Fiesta Bowl and pushed Gundy's record against Oklahoma and Bob Stoops to 1-8.
440.5: Oklahoma State's total offense per game
The Pokes rolled up over 440 yards per game on offense under first-year coordinator Mike Yurcich. Mike Gundy hired his new offensive coordinator on somewhat of a whim as Yurcich was a highly successful OC for littleknown D-II Shippensburg University. Most teams would take 440.5 yards and 5.93 yards per play — OSU's offense ranked 40th nationally this fall — but that is well below average for a Gundy-coached team. The Pokes averaged 547.0 ypg, 549.8 ypg and 520.2 yards per game over the last three seasons and were over the 7.0 yards per play in each of the last two seasons. The '09 season was the last time the Cowboys were under 500 yards or 6.8 yards per play for an entire season.
2: Big 12 titles for Mack Brown at Texas
Brown is Mr. Football. At least, according to Steve Spurrier. He won 157 games during his 16 seasons at Texas, including the 2005 BCS National Championship. He finished just shy of Royal for No. 1 all-time in Longhorns history. Brown had one losing season in 16 years and missed a bowl game only once that same year (2010). That said, with 13 seasons with at least nine wins, claiming just two conference championships feels like a major disappointment. Brown was 18-17 in the Big 12 since his appearance in the 2009 BCS title game and wrapped up his long coaching career in the Alamo Bowl on Monday night against Oregon. Farewell, Mr. Football.
550: Rushing yards allowed by Texas to BYU
BYU was upset in Week 1 by Virginia but bounced back in big way in its home opener in Week 2 by embarrassing Texas. The Cougars ran the ball 72 times for a school-record 550 yards and four touchdowns, which also established a new record for rushing yards allowed by Texas in the process. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill led the way with 259 yards and three scores on 17 attempts, nearly breaking the five-decade-old single-game BYU rushing record of 272 yards set by Eldon Fortie in 1962. Texas went on to get rolled by Ole Miss in Week 3 and fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz shortly thereafter. Only Wisconsin’s 554 yards rushing against Indiana were better this year than the 550 BYU put up against the Longhorns.
27: Consecutive Big 12 games Kansas lost before Week 12
The Jayhawks defeated a Big 12 team on Nov. 6, 2010 when Kansas topped Colorado in come-from-behind fashion 52-45. Kansas had lost 27 straight conference games since that date and had failed to be competitive in 2013 until a 31-19 win over West Virginia in Week 12. It was a huge win for embattled coach Charlie Weis — who went on to lose the final two games of the year to finish 3-9. On the flip side, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen may be haunted by his team's performance in Lawrence. West Virginia is 6-12 in Big 12 play since joining the league, one year after winning the Big East and hanging 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
8: Losses for West Virginia and TCU
With a 41-38 loss to Baylor in the season finale, TCU wrapped up a 4-8 season. That’s the most losses for the Horned Frogs since 1997, a 1-10 season in Pat Sullivan’s last year. The following year, TCU hired Dennis Franchione. TCU’s 14 losses in two seasons in the Big 12 is one more than TCU had in seven seasons as a Mountain West member. TCU’s partner in expansion, West Virginia, fared no better with a 52-44 loss to Iowa State in triple overtime to cap its own disappointing campaign. The back-to-back defeats to Iowa State and Kansas to finish the year gave WVU eight losses, the most since the Mountaineers went 3-8 in their first season under Rich Rodriguez.