Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Five different teams from last year's DVOA top eight rank in the bottom half of the league through four weeks of 2014. What can we learn from other teams with similar starts in the past?

11 Nov 2011

VN: Giving Special Teams Their Due

by Bill Connelly

The last 52 weeks have not been the most enjoyable for college football fans. A year ago, the Cam Newton scandal was beginning to take root. It threatened to ruin what had been, to that point, a rather enjoyable, exciting college football season. Since then, we have been privy to all sorts of turmoil; but it was all of a predictable nature -- recruiting violations, paying players, and the like. This week, things took a turn away from "college football scandals" and toward actual law and order. I said all I wanted to say about the Jerry Sandusky issue yesterday at SBN, and I am not going to rehash any of it here, but it is certainly a story that dominated the narrative for the week, and justifiably so.

To distract myself from the week's depressing storyline, I turned to my security blanket: numbers.

For a while now, it has been evident that special teams need to play a bit more of a role in our numbers. They have always played a bit of a role in Brian Fremeau's -- obviously special teams play a role in both field position and your ability to convert drives into points -- but I was looking for a bit of a direct connection. And considering last week's Game of the Century of the Year was decided almost entirely by special teams (LSU advanced inside Alabama's 35 just three times and emerged with three field goals; Alabama advanced inside LSU's 35 seven times but missed four field goals and lost by three), now seemed like a pretty good time to look into things.

We will visit this issue in full this offseason, but I wanted to see what would happen if we isolated Brian's Special Teams Efficiency rating and gave it a seat at the F/+ table.

In its current iteration, the correlation between F/+ and win percentage for 2011 is right around 0.84. This is, honestly, quite good. You actually do not want the correlation to get too much better than that, but I wanted to see if adding special teams did anything for those correlations. It did. Using Special Teams Efficiency as 14 percent of the F/+ formula (this resulted in the most optimal correlations), the correlations between the 'new' F/+ and win percentage rose to 0.85. I'll take that.

Below are the 'new' F/+ ratings, along with a comparison to the 'original' ratings. Adding special teams to the equation significantly aided teams like Ole Miss, Rutgers, Auburn, Miami and Texas, and it goes without saying that it strengthened LSU's grip on the No. 1 spot. They are now a distant No. 1, with No. 2 Alabama still rather far ahead of the logjam fighting for No. 3. Meanwhile, teams like South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Baylor get downgraded a decent amount. As mentioned above, we will pursue this in more detail this offseason. For now, however, this does appear to represent a slight upgrade for a measure I liked quite a bit already.


"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
1 LSU 9-0 39.0% 13.5% 5 21.5% 1 4.0% 1 1 0
2 Alabama 8-1 34.4% 12.9% 6 21.2% 2 0.4% 53 2 0
3 Boise State 8-0 28.2% 12.1% 10 13.4% 5 2.7% 9 3 0
4 Oklahoma State 9-0 26.1% 10.3% 13 14.3% 4 1.5% 19 4 0
5 Oregon 8-1 24.6% 12.5% 7 10.4% 8 1.7% 17 7 2
6 Oklahoma 8-1 23.9% 12.3% 9 11.3% 6 0.3% 54 5 -1
7 Wisconsin 7-2 23.1% 17.8% 1 5.4% 23 -0.1% 62 6 -1
8 Florida State 6-3 18.7% 6.8% 29 9.3% 12 2.7% 10 10 2
9 Stanford 9-0 18.6% 12.5% 8 5.1% 26 0.9% 31 8 -1
10 Notre Dame 6-3 17.8% 9.5% 18 7.9% 16 0.5% 49 9 -1
11 Texas 6-2 15.9% 3.3% 44 8.8% 14 3.8% 2 20 9
12 Michigan State 7-2 14.8% 4.6% 37 8.2% 15 2.0% 13 16 4
13 Nebraska 7-2 14.4% 7.0% 26 4.6% 29 2.8% 8 21 8
14 Penn State 8-1 14.3% -1.1% 66 15.2% 3 0.2% 58 12 -2
15 Texas A&M 5-4 13.7% 10.1% 14 3.1% 38 0.4% 50 14 -1
16 Clemson 8-1 13.6% 13.6% 4 -1.5% 69 1.4% 23 19 3
17 USC 7-2 13.3% 11.8% 11 0.6% 56 0.8% 35 18 1
18 Georgia 7-2 13.1% 9.7% 16 4.9% 27 -1.5% 92 11 -7
19 Ohio State 6-3 12.9% 0.0% 56 10.4% 7 2.5% 11 26 7
20 Virginia Tech 8-1 12.5% 4.8% 35 8.9% 13 -1.2% 87 13 -7
"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
21 Southern Miss 8-1 12.1% 4.1% 39 7.4% 17 0.6% 45 22 1
22 Miami-FL 5-4 12.1% 14.1% 2 -5.2% 92 3.1% 4 31 9
23 Arkansas 8-1 11.7% 9.0% 20 1.1% 50 1.5% 18 27 4
24 Arizona State 6-3 11.3% 8.9% 21 2.6% 41 -0.1% 64 23 -1
25 Michigan 7-2 11.3% 7.4% 24 5.3% 24 -1.4% 90 17 -8
26 Georgia Tech 7-2 11.3% 9.5% 17 3.5% 34 -1.8% 101 15 -11
27 Cincinnati 7-1 10.5% 9.1% 19 0.7% 54 0.7% 40 28 1
28 Temple 5-4 10.3% 2.5% 49 6.1% 22 1.7% 16 34 6
29 Toledo 5-4 10.2% 7.0% 27 3.6% 33 -0.3% 68 25 -4
30 Houston 9-0 10.0% 13.9% 3 -4.7% 89 0.9% 34 30 0
31 TCU 7-2 9.9% 5.2% 33 3.4% 35 1.3% 25 33 2
32 Iowa 6-3 9.2% 8.0% 22 -0.3% 62 1.5% 20 36 4
33 Rutgers 6-3 8.5% -0.3% 59 5.3% 25 3.5% 3 44 11
34 Florida 5-4 8.5% -1.0% 65 6.5% 19 3.0% 5 42 8
35 Missouri 4-5 8.5% 7.7% 23 0.8% 53 0.0% 61 35 0
36 South Carolina 7-2 8.4% 0.8% 53 10.2% 9 -2.7% 109 24 -12
37 North Carolina 6-4 7.7% 7.0% 25 1.6% 47 -1.0% 83 32 -5
38 Illinois 6-3 7.6% -0.2% 58 10.0% 10 -2.1% 106 29 -9
39 Kansas State 7-2 6.9% 4.0% 41 1.0% 52 1.9% 15 43 4
40 South Florida 4-4 6.7% 3.1% 46 4.0% 32 -0.5% 75 37 -3
"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
41 Tennessee 4-5 6.4% 2.6% 47 4.3% 31 -0.5% 73 39 -2
42 Louisiana Tech 5-4 6.3% -1.2% 67 6.2% 21 1.3% 24 45 3
43 Pittsburgh 4-5 5.6% -1.4% 70 6.2% 20 0.8% 38 46 3
44 Virginia 6-3 5.3% 3.8% 42 2.3% 42 -0.7% 80 41 -3
45 West Virginia 6-3 5.3% 9.8% 15 -2.9% 78 -1.5% 96 38 -7
46 Mississippi State 5-4 5.0% 0.0% 57 4.6% 28 0.4% 52 48 2
47 Tulsa 6-3 4.2% 1.8% 50 3.0% 39 -0.5% 76 47 0
48 Auburn 6-3 3.4% 2.5% 48 -1.4% 68 2.3% 12 57 9
49 Washington 6-3 3.1% 6.5% 30 -4.4% 88 1.0% 30 51 2
50 Northwestern 4-5 2.8% 7.0% 28 -4.0% 83 -0.2% 66 49 -1
51 Baylor 5-3 2.5% 11.6% 12 -5.3% 95 -3.7% 115 40 -11
52 Louisville 5-4 2.4% 1.6% 51 1.2% 49 -0.3% 70 50 -2
53 Ohio 6-3 1.6% 4.7% 36 -3.6% 82 0.5% 48 56 3
54 California 5-4 1.5% -3.3% 77 4.5% 30 0.4% 51 55 1
55 Wake Forest 5-4 1.4% 4.0% 40 -2.5% 75 -0.1% 63 53 -2
56 Utah 5-4 1.2% -6.8% 93 7.3% 18 0.6% 42 59 3
57 Northern Illinois 6-3 1.2% 5.9% 31 -5.5% 98 0.8% 37 60 3
58 Western Michigan 5-4 1.1% 0.0% 55 -1.9% 71 2.9% 6 65 7
59 BYU 6-3 0.8% -2.1% 72 2.1% 44 0.8% 36 61 2
60 SMU 6-3 0.7% -2.1% 73 3.4% 36 -0.5% 77 54 -6
"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
61 Arkansas State 7-2 0.2% -0.4% 60 0.4% 58 0.2% 55 62 1
62 Vanderbilt 4-5 0.1% -2.6% 76 3.2% 37 -0.6% 78 58 -4
63 Syracuse 5-4 -1.3% -0.6% 63 -0.2% 61 -0.5% 74 64 1
64 San Diego State 5-3 -1.7% -5.0% 85 1.9% 46 1.5% 22 70 6
65 Hawaii 5-4 -1.9% -0.6% 62 -1.4% 67 0.0% 59 66 1
66 Florida International 5-4 -2.0% -3.9% 80 0.6% 55 1.2% 26 71 5
67 Utah State 3-5 -2.1% 4.4% 38 -2.5% 74 -4.0% 118 52 -15
68 Texas Tech 5-4 -3.5% 3.5% 43 -7.6% 109 0.6% 43 73 5
69 UCLA 5-4 -3.5% 3.2% 45 -5.5% 97 -1.2% 89 69 0
70 Arizona 2-7 -3.5% 5.4% 32 -6.0% 100 -3.0% 113 63 -7
71 Central Florida 4-5 -3.6% -2.5% 75 0.4% 59 -1.5% 95 67 -4
72 NC State 5-4 -4.0% -0.5% 61 -1.7% 70 -1.8% 102 68 -4
73 Connecticut 4-5 -4.2% -7.8% 99 2.6% 40 1.0% 29 74 1
74 UTEP 4-5 -4.2% -0.8% 64 -5.2% 94 1.9% 14 78 4
75 Duke 3-6 -4.6% -1.2% 68 -4.3% 87 0.9% 32 76 1
76 Purdue 4-5 -5.3% -5.2% 86 -1.3% 66 1.1% 27 79 3
77 Nevada 5-3 -5.9% 0.4% 54 -4.3% 86 -2.0% 104 72 -5
78 Bowling Green 4-5 -6.1% -1.4% 71 -5.2% 93 0.6% 44 81 3
79 Ole Miss 2-7 -6.5% -11.4% 110 2.1% 43 2.8% 7 92 13
80 Boston College 2-7 -7.1% -7.3% 97 0.2% 60 0.0% 60 83 3
"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
81 Oregon State 2-7 -7.6% -7.2% 96 -0.6% 63 0.2% 57 85 4
82 Western Kentucky 5-4 -8.1% -9.4% 106 0.5% 57 0.8% 39 90 8
83 Navy 3-6 -8.2% 5.1% 34 -10.4% 119 -2.9% 112 75 -8
84 Marshall 4-5 -8.3% -5.9% 88 -0.9% 65 -1.4% 91 82 -2
85 Iowa State 5-4 -8.4% -10.2% 107 2.0% 45 -0.2% 65 86 1
86 Fresno State 3-6 -8.4% 1.1% 52 -7.6% 108 -2.0% 103 80 -6
87 Maryland 2-7 -8.6% -5.2% 87 -0.8% 64 -2.6% 108 77 -10
88 Kentucky 4-5 -8.9% -10.9% 108 1.1% 51 0.9% 33 93 5
89 San Jose State 3-6 -9.0% -8.3% 102 -2.2% 73 1.5% 21 94 5
90 UL-Lafayette 8-2 -9.1% -2.2% 74 -6.1% 101 -0.8% 81 87 -3
91 Miami-OH 4-5 -9.2% -4.9% 83 -2.8% 76 -1.5% 94 84 -7
92 Air Force 5-4 -9.6% -1.3% 69 -7.2% 106 -1.1% 86 88 -4
93 Rice 3-6 -10.7% -6.4% 91 -4.8% 90 0.5% 47 95 2
94 East Carolina 4-5 -10.9% -5.0% 84 -4.2% 85 -1.7% 99 91 -3
95 Ball State 6-4 -11.3% -6.1% 90 -5.4% 96 0.2% 56 96 1
96 Kent State 3-6 -11.7% -22.7% 120 9.9% 11 1.1% 28 100 4
97 UL-Monroe 2-7 -13.3% -6.0% 89 -2.8% 77 -4.5% 119 89 -8
98 Wyoming 5-3 -13.3% -3.6% 78 -8.0% 112 -1.7% 98 97 -1
99 Idaho 2-7 -13.3% -14.3% 113 1.3% 48 -0.3% 69 101 2
100 Minnesota 2-7 -14.0% -8.2% 101 -6.4% 103 0.7% 41 107 7
"New"
F/+ Rk
Team Rec. New
F/+
New
Off F/+
Rk New
Def F/+
Rk ST
F/+
Rk Orig.
F/+ Rk
Change
101 Eastern Michigan 5-4 -14.0% -9.2% 105 -4.0% 84 -0.8% 82 102 1
102 Central Michigan 3-7 -14.5% -4.6% 82 -8.9% 115 -1.0% 85 103 1
103 Washington State 3-6 -14.5% -3.7% 79 -9.0% 116 -1.8% 100 99 -4
104 Indiana 1-9 -14.8% -6.7% 92 -7.8% 111 -0.4% 71 106 2
105 Troy 2-6 -15.8% -12.1% 111 -3.1% 80 -0.7% 79 108 3
106 Buffalo 2-7 -15.9% -6.9% 94 -5.1% 91 -3.9% 117 98 -8
107 Army 3-6 -16.4% -8.0% 100 -5.7% 99 -2.7% 110 104 -3
108 Middle Tennessee 2-6 -16.6% -8.5% 103 -7.1% 104 -1.0% 84 109 1
109 Colorado State 3-5 -17.5% -9.0% 104 -7.3% 107 -1.2% 88 111 2
110 New Mexico State 3-6 -18.0% -4.3% 81 -9.9% 118 -3.8% 116 105 -5
111 North Texas 3-6 -18.3% -14.5% 114 -3.4% 81 -0.4% 72 113 2
112 Colorado 1-9 -19.1% -7.0% 95 -9.3% 117 -2.8% 111 112 0
113 Kansas 2-7 -19.8% -7.7% 98 -8.4% 114 -3.7% 114 110 -3
114 Tulane 2-8 -21.4% -11.2% 109 -7.7% 110 -2.5% 107 114 0
115 UNLV 2-6 -21.5% -15.7% 115 -6.4% 102 0.5% 46 118 3
116 Akron 1-8 -21.8% -17.1% 116 -3.1% 79 -1.6% 97 115 -1
117 UAB 1-8 -22.0% -13.6% 112 -8.1% 113 -0.3% 67 117 0
118 Florida Atlantic 0-8 -23.2% -19.1% 118 -2.1% 72 -2.0% 105 116 -2
119 Memphis 2-7 -26.5% -17.9% 117 -7.1% 105 -1.5% 93 119 0
120 New Mexico 0-9 -40.3% -20.2% 119 -12.8% 120 -7.2% 120 120 0

"What The...?" Team of the Week

Florida State. FSU was a top-10 team even before the special teams adjustment. They were projected to play at this level, but they were not projected to start the season losing three of their first five. To discuss the Seminoles' status, I shot a questions at Bud Elliott, head of the great Florida State site, Tomahawk Nation, and SB Nation's new National Recruiting Analyst. (You can find his inaugural piece here.)

Here is what Bud had to say, both about how Florida State lost three games and why they are still a high-quality team:

Florida State lost five of its top nine offensive linemen since spring ball (including three starters) and lost its quarterback for eight of the 12 quarters in those three losses. And the refs. Seriously. The ACC apologized to FSU both on and off the record for blown calls in the two ACC losses.

The defense is very good, they have arguably the top kicker in the country, a good rugby kicker, Greg Reid returning kicks and two high-level kick returners in freshman Karlos Williams and (though I don't think he should be back there risking injury) Lamarcus Joyner. E.J. Manuel changes the identity of the offense so much, both with his throwing and with how defenses are forced to defend FSU because of his legs. And FSU's turnover luck was horrendous early in the year.

Big Movers

This will make things confusing, but for the sake of comparing apples to apples, we're going to use the old F/+ rankings to look at the week's movers and shakers.

Notable Rises

Texas (12 spots, from 32nd to 20th). We will see if it represents a permanent turning-of-the-corner or not (as I like to say, improvement is rarely that linear), but Texas turned in a phenomenal performance in their 52-20 romp over Texas Tech. As I mentioned in my Missouri-Texas preview yesterday at Rock M Nation, they have come up quite short in losses to top F/+ teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State), and they have barely been challenged by teams ranked 60th or worse. No. 35 Missouri, then, represents an interesting challenge for the Horns in Columbia tomorrow. Is Texas a legitimate top-20 team, or are they simply somewhere between 20th and 60th?

N.C. State (11 spots, from 79th to 68th). Credit this rise to the N.C. State defense, which held North Carolina to a ridiculous 165 yards (2.8 per play) in their shutout win over the rival Heels. They gained only 290 of their own, but they held previously efficient UNC quarterback Bryn Renner to 9-of-17 passing for 76 yards, two interceptions, and three sacks. That will bump you up a few spots.

Iowa (10 spots, from 46th to 36th). Iowa similarly rose because of solid defense; they held Denard Robinson to 17-of-37 passing and 55 rushing yards (including sacks). They still rank a surprising 62nd in Def. F/+, but it was a sign of growth for a defense typically a lot better than this.

Northwestern (10 spots, from 59th to 49th). The Wildcats have been all over the map in 2011, but it probably goes without saying that you're going to jump in the ratings when you win in Lincoln. The offense was the story here; Nebraska's defense isn't as good as its reputation, but Northwestern still averaged six yards per play and gained 468 yards. They clinched the game with two incredibly disparate touchdown drives in the fourth quarter: one of two plays and 84 yards, and one of 13 plays, 66 yards. The latter of those two ate 7:14 off the clock.

Others: Northern Illinois (72nd to 60th), Navy (85th to 75th), UConn (82nd to 74th), Georgia (19th to 11th).

Notable Tumbles

Texas Tech (12 spots, from 61st to 73rd). How? How in the world does a team beat Oklahoma in Norman (the first Big 12 team to do so since 2001), then get destroyed by Iowa State and Texas? And is there any doubt that Tech will somehow beat Oklahoma State this weekend too, just because?

Arizona (10 spots, from 53rd to 63rd). Call this market correction. The Wildcats were ranked a bit too high, and though their peripherals weren't bad -- they gained 457 yards and allowed 332 in a loss to Utah -- turnovers did them in.

Nebraska (nine spots, from 12th to 21st). Nebraska wasn't as bad as their early-season ratings (30s and 40s), but they also weren't worthy of being in the top 12. Their domination of Michigan State bumped them up quite a bit, and the loss to Northwestern settled them back into a more realistic spot.

Toledo (eight spots, from 17th to 25th). Their offense is incredible, but let's just say that, after allowing 63 points to both Northern Illinois (NIU 63, UT 60) and Western Michigan (UT 66, WMU 63) in consecutive Tuesday nights, they are not long for the top 25. Also: there should be a law requiring every Toledo track meet to be televised as ESPN's weekly Tuesday game. They have been the most entertaining part of November thus far.

Others: Troy (94th to 108th), Arkansas State (52nd to 62nd), Temple (25th to 34th), New Mexico State (97th to 105th), Arizona State (15th to 23rd).

Upset Watch

Missouri over Texas (Spread: Missouri +1.5 | F/+ Projection: Missouri by 0.1). This game appears to be a complete tossup, though if you believe the special teams adjustments above, Texas might have the edge.

Penn State over Nebraska (Spread: Penn State +3 | F/+ Projection: Penn State by 5.9). It goes without saying that betting on this game, in either direction, is probably a bad idea. Good luck figuring out what is going to happen in this one.

Oregon over Stanford (Spread: Oregon +3.5 | F/+ Projection: Oregon by 1.5). S&P+ likes the Ducks as much in 2011 as it disliked them in 2010. This really is an enormous game, however. With the losses that have taken place in the last few weeks, Oregon could quite possible set itself up for a return trip to the BCS title game with a win in Palo Alto. Meanwhile, Stanford is already in position for such a run. (Obviously both teams need Oklahoma State to lose to either Oklahoma or Tommy Tuberville's schizophrenic Red Raiders.)

Iowa over Michigan State (Spread: Michigan State -2.5 | F/+ Projection: Michigan State by 1.4). MSU has certainly taken a tumble in recent weeks, first laying an egg against Nebraska in Lincoln, then barely skating by previously lowly Minnesota.

This Week on SB Nation

Favorite Moment of Last Weekend

Since last Tuesday only constitutes the "weekend" in the world of college football (and therefore describing my giddiness in watching every crazy second of Toledo-Northern Illinois is probably inaccurate related to the header), we'll go with the weekend version of Toledo-Northern Illinois: Oklahoma State 52, Kansas State 45. The teams combined for 1,082 yards, six turnovers and a couple of wild special teams plays. Oklahoma State scored the first 14 points, K-State scored the next 24, and we were off to the races. The game ended, naturally, with KSU on the goal line, failing to score before time expired. After the game, Mike Gundy was told about the final score of the LSU-Alabama game and said "Maybe they should have been watching our game." (And then an earthquake hit Stillwater and terrified Kirk Herbstreit, suggesting you should never speak poorly of anything involving Nick Saban. He has powers.)

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 11 Nov 2011

5 comments, Last at 12 Nov 2011, 1:06am by Jeff Fogle

Comments

1
by millsGT49 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 4:34pm

What was the old Special Teams percentage?

2
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 4:57pm

There really wasn't one. It is taken into account with FEI, but that was the only direct impact.

3
by Jeff Fogle :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 11:21pm

In the four full quarters Manuel played in those games that were referenced, they lost the first half at home to Oklahoma 13-3 (ranked #6 above overall and on defense), and the second half on the road to Wake Forest 19-16 (ranked #55 above, but #75 on defense). He threw four interceptions. He was throwing short, safe passes vs. OU, and ended with 85 yards on 19 attempts. He went further downfield vs. the softer Wake Forest defense...leading to 16 incomplete passes in 35 attempts (but a strong 286 yards).

Outside of that three-game sequence, FSU has been much like Texas...crushing lesser teams.

Other FSU opponents, ranking above:
NC State: 72
Duke: 75
B. College: 80
Maryland: 87
Louisiana Monroe: 97
Charleston Southern: not rated

Rallying to beat OU if Manuel had played the whole way is unlikely though possible. Can't argue with a full game of Manuel meaning a win at Wake Forest...but Wake only rates at 55 above. And, FSU did lose the second half. FSU still gets 22 Miami and 34 Florida (above...though I'm guessing there'd be some informed debate about the Miami team that lost to Virginia would deserve to tank that high). Hopefully a good opponent in a bowl for FSU too to help get a good end-of-season read.

Best of luck with Missouri vs. UT on Saturday BC...and with the Tigers in the SEC. The Longhorn Network caused such destruction...yet hardly anyone in Austin can even watch yet...

4
by Stephen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2011 - 12:18am

Hey Jeff, I don't know if you've considered these issues but I think you're selling FSU a little short. The "party line" is that FSU was intentionally slowplaying OU and waiting until the 2nd half to roll out EJ's legs. It just so happened that on EJ's very first designed run of the game, at the start of the 3rd, he had a freak injury when the defender landed on his shoulder. Also, we effectively lost 2 touchdowns in the first half (see tomahawknation articles after the game), including an injury that was questionably refereed and also killed our momentum.

Also, on Miami, what of the fact that half their defense was suspended for their first few games? Their offense may be a little overrated due to their 1st half SOS, but the defense can only be expected to rate higher from here on.

5
by Jeff Fogle :: Sat, 11/12/2011 - 1:06am

Two games ago Miami's defense allowed 470 yards to Virginia, on a night where they were very vulnerable to the big play. Wasn't the defense largely intact for that game?

I may be selling FSU short, Stephen. I can't deny I was watching OU/FSU from a Big 12 perspective. I'd be skeptical of a strategy that would be asking the QB's legs to win a game against the defensive athletes OU likes to launch at opposing quarterbacks. That's just asking for an injury at some point during the game. I don't think the preponderance of evidence would have FSU as a top 10 caliber team though. Maybe they'll change my mind in a bowl vs. a top opponent. They're certainly a lot better than the back end of the ACC...