Weird Stats & Fun Facts 2014, Part I: Passing

I was trying to think of the most appropriate way to recap this season of college football when I saw my friend and yours Rixon Lane tweet out a horrifying fact:

Did you even flinch when you read that? It seems insane. The idea of continuing to pass the ball and stop the clock in the fourth quarter of a game in which you have a two score lead is illogical (to put it nicely) and incredibly, gobsmackingly asinine (to put it bluntly). Nevertheless, it put me on a quest to seek out the stats that defined this college football season, and there's no better place to start than under center. Yes, under the butt of a 300-pound-plus man is where I'm going to take you, and you're going to have to deal with it.

-It's almost without dispute that Marcus Mariota was the best quarterback in the nation this year, with a staggering 40 touchdowns to two interceptions ratio, but I have to insist that at least one bucket of dap gets dumped upon Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty. Doughty made a deal with the devil this season, tossing 44 touchdowns and just ten interceptions, albeit with a couple of strange games along the way. For example, in WKU's devastating 59-0 loss to Louisiana Tech, Doughty threw zero touchdowns and five interceptions. But in their season finale victory over then-undefeated Marshall, Doughty threw a ridiculous eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Take out those two absurd games, and the Senior from Davie, FL still finishes with 36 touchdowns and two picks. I know it's just Conference-USA, and the competition isn't always that stiff, but this is still FBS football, and the last time I checked, it technically counts as high-quality football. I don't care how bad SMU was this season, it counts dammit!

-Army only threw 747 yards this season. Total. In entirety. Maybe I was wrong about FBS football counting as high-quality. Look, I get that certain teams have a very run-heavy scheme, but even the school with the second-lowest passing yards, Navy, still threw for over a thousand yards. I'll give the Black Knights credit though, they only threw two interceptions. I also have to give them credit for throwing just three touchdowns, though. They did that.

-To further put things in perspective re: Army's godawful passing attack, Washington State's Connor Halliday threw 734 yards in a single game this year. I guess you could call him a... one man Army. YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

-Alright, maybe it's not fair to pick on a team that doesn't throw that much to begin with. So which team loved to throw the ball despite being terrible at it? I think that dubious honor would have to go to the Miami of Ohio RedHawks (yes, it's stylized as such), who threw for 3333 yards this season... while completing just 48.3 percent of their passes. Add to the fact that their quarterbacks were sacked 43 times this season, third-most in Division I-A, and it's safe to say it was feast or famine for the RedHawks QBs.

-To have a sub-100 passer rating in college football, especially over the course of an entire season, is almost impossible. Yet, two teams made it happen: SMU and Syracuse. SMU's failings have been well-documented this season, as it took them until the last game of the season to get a single win, and against UConn no less! The Pony Boys threw just six touchdowns to 14 interceptions. The Orangemen--oh excuse me, the ORANGE saw that number, and decided to up the ante, throwing six touchdowns to 17 interceptions. SMU still won (lost?) the sack battle though, tying Wake Forest with 48 total sacks. Those Mustangs always get the last laugh.

-Finally, it's come to this. I can definitively say the worst quarterback in Division I-A college football is... my god, in an upset, it's Christian Hackenberg! The Sophomore under center for the mediocre Penn State Natty Light Lions threw just eight touchdowns to 15 interceptions, but that gives too much credit to the successful first half of the season. Through the final six games of the season, Hackenberg went 102-for-207, throwing for 969 yards, three touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Oh, and Penn State went 2-4 during that stretch. He was awful, and now he's James Franklin's problem. Bet he never thought he'd miss Vanderbilt. Okay, I take that back. Nobody misses Vandy, except maybe Jay Cutler.