The unquestionable weak spot of this year’s Florida State football team thus far has been the defense, which I addressed last week when discussing how FSU fans should direct their frustrations. And after allowing three straight touchdowns to close out a loss at Virginia, few ’Noles fans would question that.
But the defense still looked better in that game, containing a quality UVA team for three quarters. And that’s why the Seminoles’ SP+ defensive ranking has risen from a week ago, when Florida State was 109th; the ’Noles have jumped 16 spots and are now 93rd in the metric that adjusts for opponents and tempo. Remember, points count the same in the first quarter as they do in the fourth, so with the exception of garbage time, when they’re scored doesn’t matter. Numbers don’t do “clutch.”
Despite the loss, FSU’s overall rank also improved, from 46th in the FBS to 42nd. The offense dipped just a touch, from 9th to 13th, while the special teams saw a tiny slide from 18th to 20th.
(Note: SP+ ranks gain accuracy with a bigger sample size, so these will improve as the season matures.)