Here is just a sample of what Bill has for you today in his preview of Florida State. Please go read the piece in its entirety.
Summary and Projection Factors
Below is a small handful of projection and change factors most pertinent to the Football Outsiders' preseason projections you will find in this summer's Football Outsiders Almanac 2011.
Four-Year F/+ Rk 23 Five-Year Recruiting Rk 8 TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin**** +4 / +1.5 Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 16 (8, 8) Yds/Pt Margin***** -5.8
We spend a lot of time at Outsiders warning people about the ills of over-reacting to single-year spikes. It's why we told you Nebraska wasn't a national title contender last year, and it's why we're saying the same thing about Texas A&M this year. But despite their spike in 2010, despite some fumbles and YPP luck, when the college portion of the Football Outsiders Almanac 2011 comes out (soon! I swear!), you will see Florida State projected in the F.O. top ten. How is this possible? A number of reasons actually.
1. Recruiting has been solid. This has obviously never been a problem with FSU. In fact, the only recruiting-related problem the 'Noles have suffered has been their recent propensity for topping the "biggest underachievers as compared to their recruiting rankings" list. They pretty much owned that list for a while. But their surge last year was fortified by top ten talent, making it infinitely more sustainable.
2. The offense has been good for a while. This wasn't a situation where both the offense and the defense rose from the 60s to the teens. FSU had a top-flight offense in 2009, and they had a (slightly less) top-flight offense in 2010.
3. The surge wasn't actually much of a surge. FSU's four-year F/+ average ranks them in the Top 25; they've finished in the Top 30 in each of the last three years, and last year's "surge" only took them from 29th to 15th. The major difference was, before 2010, this was certainly a "whole less than the sum of its parts" situation. The foundation has always been rather strong.
The biggest issue for FSU in 2011 is quite simply the schedule. They will still be a rather young team in September, when they face off against a Top 5 team in Oklahoma (at home) and a Top 20 team in Clemson (on the road). If the 'Noles are 4-0 at the end of September, then they will almost certainly be 8-0 at the end of October, and things will begin to get very interesting. The pieces on the board are positioned nicely; now it's up to Jimbo Fisher and company to prove they can not only execute strategies at a high level, but they can pull off the tactics to score a checkmate on the Oklahomas and Floridas of the world.
As I said this morning, Bill brings it.
What did I notice? The chart showing how the offense has improved under Jimbo.