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FSU football: A far different team inside the state of Florida

Home field advantage extends beyond Doak Campbell Stadium.

Florida State v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

86 games into Jimbo Fisher’s coaching career at Florida State, some trends are beginning to show up. One of the most notable is the difference in how the team plays not just at home, but in the state of Florida as a whole. Fisher is 71-15 overall, but inside the Sunshine State his record is 50-4. When FSU plays games inside the state of Florida, it is outscoring its opponents by an average of 39.59 to 14.15. Now let’s compare that to when the ‘Noles must travel out of the state: the record falls to 21-11 and the average score changes to 32.13 to 25.25.

Before we go any further, we must do some house keeping to get an honest and informative look at the numbers. First, we are going to throw out all 8 games vs. FCS opponents (Samford 2010, Charleston Southern 2011 and 2016, Murray State 2012, Savannah State 2012, Bethune-Cookman 2013, Citadel 2014, and UT-Chattanooga 2015), as these inflate the inside Florida numbers and skew our data. Next, we will eliminate any games vs. non Power-5 opponents, which excludes another 10 games (BYU 2010, UL-Monroe 2011, USF 2012, 2015, and 2016, Northern Illinois 2012, Nevada 2013, Idaho 2013, Texas State 2015, and Houston 2015).

What we are now left with is a sample set of 68 games under Fisher, 37 played inside the state of Florida and 31 outside of the state. The 68 games are made up of 48 versus the ACC, 4 conference championship games, 6 games vs. Florida, 4 bowl games, 2 out of conference games versus Oklahoma, and 1 game each versus Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, and Ole Miss. FSU is 33-4 in the games played inside Florida with an average score of 34.6 to 15.8, while out of state it is 21-10 with the score averaging 32.4 to 19.8.

When we begin to look even closer, some key numbers begin to stand out. In only 4 of the 37 games played inside the state of Florida did the FSU defense allow 30 or more points; FSU is 2-2 in those games. Meanwhile, outside of the state, that number jumps to 12 of 31, with FSU holding a 6-6 mark in those games. On the flip side, the offense has been held under 30 points in 13 of 37 in Florida yet has posted a 10-3 record, yet under the same criteria outside of Florida they are under .500 with a 5-7 record in 12 games.

We also begin to see far different records for different statistical benchmarks. When the O averages 6 or less yards per play, they are 11-3 in Florida but only 8-6 outside of Florida. When the D allows 5 or more yards per play they are 9-3 in Florida and 11-8 outside of the state. 3rd downs for the offense are a major difference; when converting under 50%, FSU is 19-2 inside Florida but only 10-8 outside of the state.

Now some may be questioning the quality of competition, as Florida and Miami have been down since 2010. FSU has played 4 of their last 6 bowl games outside of Florida, and the 4 ACC Championship games are in North Carolina. It is a fair point.

Fisher has faced 21 P-5 opponents who were ranked— 10 he faced in Florida, 11 were outside of Florida. FSU is 8-2 in the games inside Florida with an average score of 36.3 to 20.8. In the 11 games outside of Florida, FSU is 5-6 with an average score of 29.6 to 34.1 and has been beat by 30 or more points in 3 of the 6 losses.

With 6 of the final 8 games in the 2016 regular season being played in the state of Florida, this will be an interesting trend to keep an eye on. FSU still travels to Raleigh, a place that Fisher has lost at twice (and fell behind 24-7 in the other meeting). FSU also still plays 3 games in the state of Florida vs. teams that are ranked (Miami, Clemson, and Florida).

FSU is currently riding an 18-game winning streak inside the state of Florida vs. Power-5 teams but has also lost 4 of the last 6 outside the state. FSU clearly has its comfort zone; whether or not it can continue the trend in state while also breaking a negative slide out of state could determine just how far this team can go in 2016.

An entire breakdown of the Offense and Defense by Location vs. Power-5 opponents since 2010:

Other Stats & Facts for Week 5

-UNC is the only ACC opponent Jimbo Fisher has not defeated (the only meeting was in 2010, and it was in Doak). Fisher is 43-10 vs ACC teams.

-The last time FSU started 0-2 in ACC play was 2011, when FSU lost at Clemson and at Wake Forest. FSU is currently 0-1 in ACC play.

-Fisher is 22-2 at home vs. the ACC, and the average score is 37.4 to 14.3. FSU has won 16 straight home games vs. the ACC, with the last loss coming in 2011 to Virginia. The average score over those 16 games is 42.6 to 14.1.

-FSU, overall, is riding a 22-game home win streak. During the streak, FSU is winning by an average score of 43.9 to 14.1. The streak includes 12 wins vs. the ACC, with an average score of 40.1 to 14.5.

-Dalvin Cook regained his explosiveness vs USF. Cook had 9 plays of 10+ yards in week 4 (6 rushing, 3 receiving) and broke off 2 runs of 20 or more yards. Through the first 3 games, Cook had 10 total plays of 10+ yards (6 rushing, 4 receiving) and only 1 run of 20+ yards.