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Inside The Numbers: National Rushing Averages

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Time to have some fun with numbers as we look across the national landscape.

Running The Football = Wins!

One of the oldest axioms in football is that the team that runs the ball better usually wins. Longhorn fans are grimacing right now, as we dropped to 72-1 when outrushing our opponents courtesy of that Smith fellow. I think 98.6% is still pretty telling, though, don't you? So which teams are rushing the ball best so far this season? Your Top 25:

1. West Virginia
2. Navy
3. Air Force
4. Connecticut
5. Michigan State
6. Louisville
7. Bowling Green
8. Texas
9. Minnesota
10. Northern Illinois
11. Missouri
12. Texas A&M
13. Boise State
14. Oklahoma State
15. Southern Miss
16. Washington
17. Penn State
18. Michigan
19. Georgia Tech
20. Rutgers
21. Oregon
22. Wisconsin
23. San Jose State
24. Nebraska
25. Arkansas

Anything jump out at you? Two things immediately spring to mind. First, most of these teams are good, and as a group, have combined for a 57-14 (.802) record. Only one team (Northern Illinois) has a losing record.

The second thing that jumps out is that the SEC doesn't have a single representative on this list until #25 Arkansas. Now, how on Earth could that be? Could it be that...

Stopping the Run Also = Wins!

There are two ways to outrush your opponents - by running a lot yourself, or by not letting the other team run. Let's look up the '06 leaders so far.

Your Top 25 rush defenses:

1. Michigan
2. Texas
3. Louisville
4. TCU
5. Florida
6. Missouri
7. Georgia
8. Florida State
9. Miami
10. Boise State
11. Penn State
12. Kansas State
13. Colorado State
14. Kansas
15. Utah
16. Wyoming
17. LSU
18. Alabama
19. Oklahoma State
20. Western Michigan
21. Rutgers
22. Michigan State
23. Air Force
24. Middle Tennessee State
25. Auburn

As suspected, the SEC is well represented. Now, obviously both lists have sample size issues, so we're not carving any conclusions into stone at this point. Just some fun with numbers as we try to sort through the teams. We also have some cupcake caveats; several teams on the list haven't beaten any real competition yet. Les cupcakes tend to pad the statistics.

We'll keep an eye on both these lists as the season progresses. We'll also spend some time this week delving into other numbers to try to wrap our minds around what's going on across the country.

--PB--