Monday Morning Tomahawks 07.20.10: How did Vegas see the 'Noles in previous years?

  • Mark Schlabach is an excellent writer for ESPN, and I think he is correct if his evaluation is one of quality, rather than of record:
  • Brad: What are your expectation for Florida State and first year head coach Jimbo Fisher??
    Mark Schlabach (4:02 PM) I think if the defense is better, Noles can win nine or 10 games. Should be very good on offense. Defense has to be much better.

    Schlabach needs to take a look at the 'Noles schedule.  

  • Everyone now expects Kyle Parker to turn pro in baseball and not play football.  Decision should be announced tomorrow.  
  • The Boston College guys sit down with the crew from FootballOutsiders, who are quickly becoming the best in the business and in the minds of some have eclipsed Phil Steele.  Our interview with them will come soon:
  • BCI: One of BC's strongest Divisional competitors, Florida State, is considered by many to be the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Division. Yet FO predicts only a 6-6 (5-3) season for the 'Noles in Jimbo Fisher's first season. (You must not want to sell a lot of almanacs ranking FSU so low. Just kidding!) Why such a discrepancy between what FO predicts and pretty much everyone else?
    FO: Most people assume that Florida State will undergo an immediate defensive turnaround in 2010 under Jimbo Fisher, and while that is certainly possible, our projections aren't built to account for coaching changes just yet, not until we figure out the best way to approach it. And since the largest portion of our projections comes from recent history … well, recent history hasn't been as kind to Florida State as the past 25 years have. They have recruited well, and that helps them out a bit, but with a brutal schedule (they're projected to go just 1-3 out of conference) and no actual proof that a turnaround is on its way, the FO projections are going to take the conservative route.
    Check out the Q&A.
  • Jim Young at the ACC Sports Journal breaks down UNC's DT depth in case Marvin Austin is suspended.  A friend of mine says McAdoo will not be suspended, but the analysis is spot on other than that.

Finally, in light of the Vegas lines that came out yesterday (8 wins for the 'Noles with a slight lean to the under) think it is important to take a look at what Vegas pegged FSU for last season.  

In 2009, FSU was coming off a bowl win over Wisconsin.  People massively overrate bowl results.  I find them to be less meaningful than any other game played during the year because teams often have differing motivations.  But the public puts a lot of stock in them because it is the public.  Anyway, FSU was a top-15 team going into 2009 following that win and the "9-4" season that included two wins over D1-AA teams.  Knowing that, people were not happy when Vegas put out this projection:

8 wins  +160 Over -200 under (translation:  the 'Noles are not very likely to win 8 games.  Wagering on the 'Noles to win fewer than 8 games offered only a 50% return on investment.)  

But I said  "I think this is a good number. I don't see the 'Noles winning more than 8 games this year with their suspect defense and brutal schedule. They could, but it's not likely."  I had the 'Noles pegged for 7.3 wins because I didn't think the team was very good.  As it turned out, they were even worse than I thought and many in the media who predicted a return to glory for FSU had egg on their faces.

This year, at one book, FSU's number sits at 8 but it looks to be a "true" 8 rather than a disguised 7.5 to trap bettors.  At another book, FSU is projected to win 7.5 games, but the shade is to the over!  To me, those lines are dead on as I currently project FSU will go 8-4 with a better chance at 7-5 than 9-4.  I have this feeling that 'Nole fans will again be disappointed as they again will fail to account for schedule when predicting the season.  FSU will improve a lot this year according to everyone around the program.  But to measure progress you must remember where this team is improving from:  FSU doesn't even have a winning record in the ACC over the last 4 years! FSU has lost 20 games in the last 4 years. It just had the the 7th worst major-conference defense!

Improving to 8 wins after falling to unimaginable depths thanks to Bobby Bowden is a major accomplishment.  Perhaps FSU can be in contention for the division in the final week.  Or finish the season ranked.  Those would be good steps in the first year of rebuilding.  It is fine to drink the kool-aid, but only if knowledge and understanding of the schedule and recognition of the starting point are mixed in.   Otherwise, 'Nole fans are foolishly setting themselves up for disappointment.  

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