This post is the 2nd installment of a quarterly update based on our performances to date as well as assorted opponents' performances in their own games (see 1st Quarter Expectations). Two essential companions to appropriately frame and ground this piece include csfuu’s excellent analysis of Expectations and Variability, as well as Bud’s weekly installment of Nole Your Opponents.
We are coming off a 10-year high event in terms of the program’s outlook. While I attempt to remain grounded in my expectations, it was inevitable (mathematically as well as subjectively) that the win totals took a big jump based on results vs. UM and the other dominating performances against the other easier-than-expected opponents that we faced over the last 3 weeks.
This past quarter has not only been characterized by massive improvements to our own product, but coincident declines in several of the key roadblocks between our team and 10 wins + an ACCCG appearance: namely, Clemson, UNC, and Boston College taking slides, for assorted reasons. Alternately, NCSU has stepped up its performance and now appears to be our foremost contender for the Atlantic Division crown. Courtesy of the refreshing outcome of the matchup against the Miami Hurri --. maybe we’ll just call them the Pleasant Sprinkles from here on-- we now stand on the precipice of a special season.
Results to date:
OU – 0.00 (-0.30 over original expectation)
BYU – 1.00 (+0.15 over original expectation)
Wake – 1.00 (+0.10 over original expectation)
@UVa – 1.00 (+0.30 over original expectation)
@UM – 1.00 (+0.60 over original expectation) – tacks on a full win by itself, if you’re rounding.
BC – 0.90 — (+0.10 over original expectation) Last time I stated that the coaching attrition seems to be showing up and it’s not the same efficient team we've faced in years past. This has been thoroughly validated. Their defense is probably on UVa’s level while their offense is probably inferior, illustrated most recently by a very poor performance against a sub-par NCSU D. The rushing defense is the only strength of this team, and we’ve proven ourselves to be dynamic enough on offense to deal with this. The way our defense has been playing, they need to hold us to 14 points or less. That’s not happening short of a +4 fumble stat.
@NCSU – 0.60 — (-0.10 over original expectation) Expectations dropping another 0.05 since last quarter’s update. Thursday night road game spells trouble, but both teams have 12 days to prepare. Russell Wilson is obviously dangerous, but their offensive units have continued an up and down trajectory while their D has some question marks. On the other hand, our defense remains untested against a true dual threat quarterback, though our offense should be able to generate at least 30 points in this game.
UNC – 0.75 — (+0.05 over original expectation) Expectations climbing back up 0.10 this quarter in light of today’s news. Their team has proved itself serviceable thus far, but confirmation of their two best defensive players (Austin, Quinn) and their best offensive player (Little) being out, for certain, is devastating news to their outlook. If they had their current personnel (the team that beat CU) against us, perhaps FSU’s expectation would be lowered slightly, but we must also build in some consideration for the damage they will suffer through attrition with these confirmed personnel losses. They are going to ride the horses they have left into the ground as the season progresses. While we thought the late season game might be a disadvantage for FSU, it may turn out to work in our favor.
CU – 0.70 — (NO CHANGE over preseason expectation) Back up 0.05 this week over last quarterly update (coming off Auburn game) – they since have lost to UM at home and UNC on the road. Ellington, Harper, and even Parker can still be dangerous, and the defense has loads of talent, but this team reflects the quality of its head coach right now. I do not see them having the composure needed to go into a hostile environment and pull out a win against a superior team that is settling nicely into its new scheme. Limiting Ellington’s big plays is the tried and true prescription for a victory vs. CU this season – and Stoops, Hudson, Elliot, and Haggins have proven themselves very capable thus far. (Footnote: If we beat NCSU and have no explicit pressure to win this game for the Atlantic title, I see a two TD win.)
@UMd – 0.90 — (+0.10 from original expectation) Expectations rising another 0.05 this quarter. 90 percent is almost as high as I can go with a road game against a BCS opponent, until such time that we’ve proven ourselves to be back among the nation’s elite. This is an inefficient offense and a poor run defense: a recipe for disaster against 2010 FSU. You give them 0.10 because we’re on the road.
UF – 0.50 — (+0.10 over preseason expectation) UF was exposed by Alabama and lost to the Mad Hatter since the last update. If we played this Saturday, they would be clear ‘dogs. But the magnitude of their program dictates that this game is a toss-up from our current reference point; you have to assume they will improve considerably. In the last update, I asserted, "Ponder better get the long ball figured out by November; we don't stand much of a chance if our only option is to try to nickel and dime their defense (they don't have to defend the whole field)." I still think this is true, but now we’ve proven our offense can be dynamic against a team with great athletes on D.
UF’s offense will undoubtedly improve by the end of the season and this game will not be determined by poor snaps. Demps and possibly even Rainey could be back on the field by the time we see them, as well. Will our depth at DL hold through to the end of the season? One key personnel loss (DT) and UF, of all teams we face, might be able to beat us, even with a one-dimensional, ground-oriented attack. Further, I think our homefield advantage is essentially negated by a combination of added preparation they will bring into the game, courtesy of their off-week preceding the game, and too many of their fans snapping up a Lost Decade’s share of FSU’s season ticket allotment.
Expected win totals:
Not surprisingly, we’ve made huge strides since last quarter’s and the season-opening expectations.
Overall: 9.35 (+1.48 over original expectation of 7.87)
ACC: 6.85 (+1. 23 over original expectation of 5.62)
A 10 win regular season is now well within reach -- though still not quite "expected." I think it is safe to say, however, that a 10-win mark for the complete 2010 season (including potential for ACCCG + Bowl, regardless of opponent) is something that we should be able to achieve.
I’ll close with an open invitation to fsugrizz, csfuu, or any of our other resident statisticians to bring all of those fancy statistical bells and whistles to the floor to illustrate distributions and such to give us a clearer picture of where the team stands.