The buzz prior to Florida State’s game against Northern Illinois involved two primary narratives, one on each side of the ball: we knew that the Huskies could play defense, and that they struggled mightily on offense. Of course, nobody really ever associates NIU with spectacular offense— not, at least, since they were bringing MAC competition to its knees during the 2012 season.
The Seminoles’ next opponent, Louisville, has been a different story with the ball, as Lamar Jackson led a potent Cardinal attack. But Jackson has taken his act to the NFL, and while it was easy to predict that UL would take a step back, it was difficult to see the Cards falling as hard as they have, given the offensive reputation earned (read that however you want) by Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino.
So welcome to 2018, a season in which the offense of Petrino’s Cardinals and that of new FSU head coach Willie Taggart have left much to be desired. Simply put, these have been two of the worst FBS teams in the country at putting points on the board.
Among power-five conference teams across all games, only Rutgers has averaged fewer points per game than Louisville— and it’s close (16.3-17.0). RU and UL rank 127th and 124th, respectively, among 130 FBS squads. But Florida State isn’t much better, coming in at 115th, with 20.8 PPG.
Both the Seminoles and Cardinals enter their matchup at 2-2, with each squad gaining wins over inferior competition and succumbing to P5 foes. The Cards were blown out by Alabama and Virginia, while beating Indiana State and Western Kentucky. FSU was vanquished by Virginia Tech and Syracuse, and topped Samford and Northern Illinois.
So how does each team’s scoring compare with regard to the classifications that apply to this game? Get ready for some low numbers. Against P5 opposition, Louisville is actually better: UL is 107th of 119 FBS teams to have faced at least one P5 squad, with 8.5 PPG. The Seminoles come in at 116th, with 5 PPG. Those shouldn’t be average scoring outputs for ACC offenses— especially not from Louisville and FSU. Let me put this in golf terms, since the Ryder Cup in now underway. The latter is par for a long golf hole, while the former is my typical scoring average thereon.
But let’s get more specific. How do these two teams produce against foes from the ACC? I row crew, and there’s an expression in the sport: DFL. That stands for “Dead Freaking Last” (except rowers don’t say “freaking”). But that’s exactly where UL finds itself against conference opposition, even if it’s a minuscule sample size of one game against the Cavaliers: tied for 88th out of 88 FBS teams to have begun conference play, at 3 PPG. FSU? 87th, with the aforementioned 5 PPG across a pair of conference teams.
3. 5. Call these my par-three equivalents to the previous golf analogy. The FSU and Louisville offenses and my golf game: both tend to leave you pretty unsatisfied over the weekend.