One thing I see put forth in Kansas’ favor this year is that yeah, they have a weak schedule but at least the Jayhawks have been blowing everyone out. This is actually true – KU leads the NCAA in margin of victory at 31.62 points per game. The next highest is Boise State at 25.88 points per game.
I calculated margin of victory back to 2000 (the earliest the NCAA’s comprehensive online stats go) and found that sustaining a margin of victory of over 30 points a game is rare – never has more than one team managed to do it, and no one could do it in 2006 or 2003. The following are the teams that could do it:
2007: Kansas (31.62 points per game), 77th ranked SOS (as calculated by the NCAA)
2005: Texas** (33.75), 7th
2004: Louisville (30.05), 70th
2002: Kansas State (32.97) 49th
2001: Miami, FL** (33.78) 19th
2000: FSU* (32.12) 3rd
**Won National Championship
*Played in National Championship Game
Notice a trend? If the SOS is among the best, the team at least played for the national title, if not won it. If the SOS is not so good, the team was not in title contention.
The 2004 Louisville team appears to be the closest match to 2007 Kansas. For a refresher, 2004 Louisville romped through its final year in C-USA, lead by QB Stefan LeFors and RB Michael Bush. It lost its only game against good competition, a 41-38 classic against Miami, who would finish 9-3.
The 2002 Kansas State team had an odd year, going 11-2 but finishing second in the Big 12 North to 9-5 Colorado thanks to the Buffs having just one conference loss compared to K-State’s 2. Those Wildcats in those heady days were lead by the electric duo of QB Ell Roberson and RB Darren Sproles. The losses were to Colorado by 4 and Texas (who’d finish 11-2) by 3. They did, to their credit, have a huge 27-20 win over USC.
The point? If you run up the score that much, you’re going to finish with a nice record. After all, bad teams won’t win enough games to run it up that much, and likely aren’t able to run it up at all. However, unless you do it against a top-flight schedule, you’re probably not good enough to make the national title game. Kansas will get to play Missouri and possibly Oklahoma, which will help in the SOS department, but I doubt they’ll get higher than the 49th of ’02 KSU. Plus, with as good as the Tigers and Sooners are, it’s not likely they’ll sustain that 30+ margin of victory. It’s also overwhelmingly likely that the Jayhawks will lose in the next two weeks based on all of these facts.
One interesting thing though, is that in 2000, the top three teams in SOS were 1) Florida, 2) Miami (FL), and 3) FSU. That’s got to be a record, having the top 3 in SOS all play in the same state.