[Note: Mickey Andrews, Jimbo Fisher, and EJ Manuel will have their regularly scheduled press conferences at 1:30, per usual. You can watch it at this link, for free: http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=fsu&media=132352 ]
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By now, you probably realize that Florida State's offense under the direction of reigning ACC offensive coordinator of the year Jimbo Fisher is very, very good. They put up 400 yards on only 50 plays against Maryland in their 29-26 win over the weekend. And any ACC fan knows that FSU's offense is the best in the conference. But not only is the Seminole offense the best in the ACC this season, but it is the best in the ACC since the conference expanded in 2005 and is the best offense the ACC has seen at least as far back as CFBStats.com keeps track. Florida State's 6.8 yards per play in conference is tremendous, and it is the conference's only offense to break the 6.5 yards-per-play barrier in more than a half decade
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It is even more impressive when you consider that Florida State had to play a quarter of their conference season with a backup freshman quarterback after losing Christian Ponder to injury for the year. It has also been without its leading receiver, Richard Goodman, for a quarter of the conference season. And it lost its starting tight end Caz Piurowski for the final half of the conference season. Down 3 starters and still the Florida State offense dominates,
Left with un-coached scrubs from the Jeff Bowden era (represented by the black line for death), Fisher has transformed the offense into an attack that can be compared to any attack in the country. Florida State starts 1 senior, 2 juniors, 7 sophomores, and 2 freshmen. There are no 5-star recruits in the starting lineup, and only 2 of the starting 11 were rated as 4-stars. Fisher is out-scheming opponents and has his young offense executing with the maturity of a much older offense. It had been more than a half decade since Florida State had the conference's best offense, but obliterating the previous conference record with this young group should give Florida State fans confidence that their head coach in waiting (HCIW) can really coach. And you can't help but wonder whether next year's group can reach the untouchable mark of 7 yards per snap of the ball. 6.8 yards per snap of the ball against conference competition. Amazing.
And its even more amazing when you remember that Florida State did not get the advantage of facing the ACC's worst defense since ACC expansion. Why not? Because quite ironically, that defense also belongs to the Seminoles.
That is one painful chart. FSU's defense is not only the worst since ACC expansion, it is 10% worse than any ACC defense since 2004 (we do not have records of conference, only statistics from before 2004). This unit is worse than the defenses Duke fielded in 2004 or 2005 or 2006. And this defense posted that embarrassing mark without the "help" of facing the conference's best offense. But it often allowed lesser opponents to post their best day, and in fact every offense the Seminoles defense went up against managed their best or second-best offensive performance of the season. And to think, Florida State fans believed the coaches when they denied that closing practices was due to defensive embarrassment. After this season, it seems those reports of 400-yard quarters during the Fall mini-scrimmages were accurate.
But much like the offense trended down until FSU could have no more, this defense has been in a slow tailspin since the early part of the decade. Each small step forward (2006 & 2008) was met with gigantic leaps back (2007 and this season). And those leaps corresponded with head coach Bobby Bowden's failure to replace competent coaches (like Kevin Steele and Jim Gladden) with reasonably competent coaches, instead allowing running jokes like Chuck Amato and Jody Allen to run this once proud unit into the ground.
This has to be some sort of record. Have you ever seen a team have the conference's best offense and worst defense? Perhaps. Have you ever seen the best offense and worst defense of more than a half-decade come from the same school, in the same season? Let us know.