Just one question for the panel this week: Does B.C. have a chance of pulling a colossal upset?
Teddy Hayduk - Statistically, anything is possible. I would say that there's always a cahnce B.C. can upset FSU but, realistically, it's infinitesimal. For this to happen, not only will B.C. have to play out of their minds on every single down, but Steve Addazio will have to coach a fantastic game. I would think the latter of those two is much more likely to happen. Steve is an excellent coach and strategist. However, I see FSU's size/speed/strength advantage shutting B.C. down as the game approaches halftime.
Wall St. Nole - Is it possible we could lose Saturday? Yes, sure. But it's unlikely. B.C. has 4 losses on the season, but one marquee win early in the season against a talented USC team. This game may be the best chance for FSU's defense to showcase its improvement. The run defense led by Mario Edwards and Eddie Goldman has really improved as of late. I expect them to have a big impact on this game. B.C. is awful in the passing game but defensively they have played well this year.
I expect the game plan to be similar to the past two: Stop the run and reduce the turnovers. Against the Offense, give them multiple looks including Nickle and the 3-3-5 while walking our DB's up to contain the outside edge. If we force BC into 3rd and long and contain the mobile QB, the Noles will waltz to their 27th victory in a row. Final score: 41-14 Noles.
Roswell Nole - Facing yet another team coming off a bye week — an extra week of rest and preparation specifically for FSU — it's certainly possible FSU does not win this game. Two other things work in B.C.'s favor — this is a textbook "trap" game for FSU sandwiched between two rival games, and everyone seems to get up for FSU and give them their best shot.
I would look for another slow start, not just because it seems to be in this team's DNA but also the bye week and BC being hyped for the matchup with #1(what committee?). Behind the "new" OL, I look for FSU to run the ball a lot against B.C., while yet another mobile former Florida QB (Jacoby Junior?) gives the Noles trouble early. It's tight for the first half, then FSU pulls away with the patented dominant second half. Final score: 37-17.
The Noles are two games into the season and are ready to make some noise. With new faces and a renovated arena, FSU has an opportunity to break the recent slump and get back to the tourney.
If you have listened with a close ear, you may have noticed some frustration in the past 2 years. Despite winning the ACC championship in 2012 the Noles rattled off 2 years of average recruiting ( a rarity for Hamilton). On top of that, they were plagued with youth, injuries, and turnovers.
The 2014-2015 season could be FSU's chance for redemption. The TLCCC is rocking with with a fresh look and the young players seem to have developed quickly. The Noles currently sit at 1-1 with a tight loss to Northeastern on Tuesday. Here are some quick hits and notes for the season.
Ham and Bacon, please My best pun of the year! Hamilton has secured 5 star forward Dwayne Bacon for next season. Hamilton has always had great success with 5 star blue chips like Singleton, Snear, Albi and others.
Montay is out of the Dog house! If you have watched even a slight portion of the Noles first two games you will see a noticeable difference in Montay Brandon. The combo guard/forward has struggled more than expected in past seasons. This year he seems like a different player. He has mastered the Euro step and is driving strong to the basket, using the glass well.
Guard the 3 I don't want to get too negative but I've closely watched every FSU basketball game in the last 6 years (thanks, ESPN3). The one thing I'll never understand is why we don't guard the 3 better. It's coaching and philosophy. The idea to protect the square and give up at times lower percentage outside shots only works against some teams. We bring help-side D to an entire new definition. I really hope FSU works on this. The loss to Northeastern should be a good reminder of what not do.
Fresh faces Tuesday's game saw the long awaited arrivial of Xavier Rathan-Mayes or X man as I will now call him. Man is this guy smooth. He was the highest recruit in the past 2 years and looks poised to be a contributor. True freshman Phil Cofer may be the most impressive in the first 2 games, but guards Robbie Berwick and Dayshawn Watkins (not the Clemson QB) seem extremely comfortable with the offense and are already contributing and competing for playing time.
Before the B.C. game starts this Saturday check out the Noles in Action against Providence. Tip off is at 2:30 and available on ESPN3 and the Seminole Network.
The Boston College grad who publishes the Eagle in Atlanta blog is a savvy college football watcher who doesn't appear to wear Maroon and Gold glasses. In fact, he's always been a realist about his Eagles. That is, until this week when he wrote:
Okay, Jimbo, there's the bulletin board material you can use to help motivate a team that needs to be slapped around a bit before pouring on the points. Especially this week, for a game that falls on the schedule between its two biggest rivals. And while you're at it, coach, be sure to remind them that this IS the same B.C. that shocked Southern Cal 37-31 earlier in the season.
Can that out-of-the-blue lightning possibly strike twice?
By: Teddy Hayduk
on twitter: @TMHayduk
Last week I wrote an article justifying ESPN and the NCAA’s media spin in regards to Florida State. The reason they got my support in that article, and the reason they still have it, is because we live in the closest thing to a pure capitalist society on earth. We should all know and expect that people’s motivations will be economic in nature, no matter how altruistic they appear on the surface. For more on this, I’ll refer you to an essay by Nathaniel Brandon called “Isn't Everyone Selfish?” (1962). Somewhere, there is a guy holed up in a room crunching numbers to make sure that whatever his company is doing is monetarily in their best interest. Frankly, that’s fine with me.
However, I tend to draw the line when ESPN begins to make up statistics. Game Control (GC), Quarterback Rating (QBR) and Football Power Index (FPI) are a few of the mysterious numerical values assigned to teams and individual players as of late. ESPN is a media outlet—a reporter of news, a purveyor of the (alleged) facts. A news outlet spinning the events they report to suit their economic or strategic agenda is also unavoidable—publications of the print and tv variety have been doing this even before the days of William Randolph Hurst.
But when outlets such as ESPN begin to create their own artificial statistical representations of events with the intent of a) tricking a passive audience into believing they are legitimate and b) reaffirming a devout audience’s currently held beliefs (confirmation bias), the gap between the ideals we hold sacred in a free market economy and the well-documented tactics employed by communist regimes becomes smaller. For the purposes of this article it's important for me to state that I do not find myself in favor of assigning numerical values to something so subjective and convoluted. For a network that has been openly and enthusiastically in favor of the new CFB Playoff Committee, a process that relies heavily on subjective “human factors”, ESPN sure does a great job of advocating the arbitrary assignment of numerical values to the subjective phenomena that occur during a football game. Which side are you on, ESPN?
Furthermore, this line ESPN has crossed in my mind is not arbitrarily drawn in the sand. This is not a gut reaction or a recent realization. The spoken languages inherently allow for a degree of latitude as to their explanation (see: interpretation of the US Constitution by liberals and conservatives, for example). However, numbers are universal. Numbers, and specifically their proper application, can drastically enhance the world we live in and aid civilization’s progress. They act as objective laws by which physics, astronomy, applied mathematics and, you guessed it—statistics—must abide. Therefore, people tend to accept them as absolute truths, even out of context or without explanation.
A classic statistical example of misinterpretation of objective data deals with the correlation between the number of churches in a city and the number of murders in that city. Essentially, cities with the largest number of churches also experience the largest number of murders. So, do churches cause people to kill one another? Obviously not. The third and ignored moderating variable in this case is the cities’ populations. More people equal more murders, regardless of the number of churches or grocery stores or post offices, and higher populations naturally require more churches for them to worship in. Anyway, this example represents the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the ability of numbers to deceive people.
For me, the worst part about ESPN’s statistics isn’t that they invented them—good things are invented every day in this country. Additionally, I’m sure ESPN invested plenty of time and resources into developing and tweaking them. Maybe they even paid a university statistician actual money to come in and consult with them, too. The worst part, and the most insulting part, is that ESPN expects us to mindlessly and robotically accept them as truth without ever providing a formula to legitimize their computation. I’ve looked just about everywhere online for an explanation as to where these numbers are coming from, but alas, no luck.
Go ahead and try Googling “ESPN Game Control stat formula” and see what that gets you. Spoiler alert: it’s a bunch of 38 year old nerds trying to sell their Xbox controllers on eBay. There are plenty of explanations that involve the phrases “take into account” or “account for” or “incorporate certain variables”…but no formulas. There is no readily available, challengeable formula by which people can form their own independent opinions about these statistics. You are entitled to not care about how or where these numbers came from—but there are some of us, nay, plenty of us out there that want and deserve to know. As of right now, ESPN uses these numbers to shape the opinions of their viewership in the same way that communist China can sensor their news broadcasts, internet access, and newspapers. ESPN is using these numbers in the same way that the North Korean government has successfully convinced its entire population that Kim Jong Un once shot an 18 during a round of golf.
So, ESPN, until you can (in the words of third grade math teachers the world over) “remember to show your work,” your answers are hereby labeled bullshit. They are wrong in every sense of the word. You get an F on this assignment not because you didn’t try, but because I have to assume you cheated.
Hire Muschamp (and I don't think his potential impact on recruiting can be downplayed — it would be big) or someone else. At this point I don't care. And let's put aside the Kelly-sucks-at-game-prep debate for a while and look solely at the play of the back end of the defense.
We're now past game 10 of this season and we continue to have massive breakdowns in the defensive backfield. Why is this still happening? Possible reasons:
1) Personnel. Well....Darby, Williams (who were both first year starters at CB last year), Ramsey and Andrews are all back. We lost Joyner and Brooks but gained Hunter(a multi-year starter before his injury). A net loss? Certainly Hunter<Joyner/Brooks but it should be a realistic expectation that the other four, consisting of two juniors and two sophomores(two sophs and two frosh last year), would improve enough to at least make up for most of that difference. Sorry, our struggles are not personnel-related.
2) Injuries. Darby and PJ have been banged up this year. They've also had to play more snaps due to virtually every game being close. They have been rested more in practice though, so there's one mitigating factor helping them. One would realistically expect the duo to surrender more big plays this year, and they have. But there's a difference, and a huge one, with getting beat — which all CBs do — and with just not being where you're supposed to be. More to come on that.
3) Front seven. A lot less pressure has been put on opposing QBs this year, I agree. Flashes from MEJ, Featherston and Pugh aside, there hasn't been that consistentpush that we saw last season. I would counter though that we done a lot better at containing QBs this year. Brissett, Goldson, etc have managed to keep plays alive but generally don't have a lot of rushing yards. A defensive backfield can be forgiven for not being able to cover past the four or five second mark but again, we haven't seen a lot of that happen. Which leads me to...
4) Scheme and coaching. The problem I see with the DBs is a glaring lack of communication and missed assignments. I don't think FSU has seen, at least since before Mickey Andrews arrived, as many receivers running completely free as we have this season. Consistently, and I mean every game, opposing WRs, TEs and RBs are all alone...and you can't blame that on lack of pressure, injured players or the players themselves. At least not every time.
It is the coaches' responsibility to have the guys where they're supposed to be, and to know where their teammates are supposed to be. The CBs are clearly not on the same page as the Safeties. For example, there was a play in the Miami game where Darby just let his man go, obviously expecting deep help, while Hunter was playing middle deep zone. Tyler got over in time to save the TD but it was a big gain for the Canes. This is a common occurrence. They can't be perfect every play, every game, but we see this far too often.
I'll plant my flag in the ground right now. If we don't relieve Kelly of his DC duties, at least find someone competent to coach the defensive backs. This is his first full season as a DC at this level, maybe he has too much on his plate. Get him some help, at least.
I do not care for the University of Miami’s football fans. This is nothing new, but if I don’t express it immediately I might have an aneurism.
Apart from their annual death threats to FSU fans on twitter and YouTube, their epidemically-prevalent lack of football knowledge, and the fact that most of them haven’t ever stepped foot on UM’s campus (“1000 feet away from a school” means 1000 feet, after all), the Miami Hurricane fan base managed to surprise nobody as they left half the stadium seats open. The ABC crew did a good job of masking it by repeatedly panning over a single section of the stadium that seemed densely packed, but don’t be fooled. For the single biggest “home” game UM has had in a decade, the fact that there was a single empty seat should have been embarrassing, let alone 40,000. UM fans are not football fans—they are simply anti-FSU. Sadly for them, that only sets them in regimentally-straight alignment with the rest of the college football universe. They feel entitled to talk inordinate amounts of shit, despite not being able to beat FSU in “their” own stadium since Brad Kaaya was in the third grade. Maybe they think of themselves as college football’s hipsters (“We hated FSU before it was cool” or whatever). Miami fans aren’t any different than those of Duke, or UF, or Alabama, or Notre Dame—they are simply less refined, football-ignorant versions.
I do, however, like UM’s football team a lot. UM’s football team looked good. I have a tremendous respect for the kids who bust their asses every damn day and wear the orange and green. It’s sad to me that they have to be associated at large with the types of folks mentioned above. That team deserves better fans. Freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya looked extremely good at times, making a few very aesthetically pleasing throws to the correct targets (against a decidedly average FSU secondary, but still). He seemed to move through his progressions well, and forced FSU’s DBs to play on their heels by having the wherewithal to throw directly into the blitz. He was not without his miscues and a misjudgment or two, but what freshman amongst us isn’t? On the night he would go for 316 total yards on 34 attempts, averaging 9.3 yards per completion. Conversely, Jameis would only account for 304 yards on 42 attempts.
Our distinguished panel of Nole pundits and prognosticators tackle some of the questions that no doubt have been running through your mind as tension builds toward Saturday night when toe meets leather.
What can FSU do on D to contain Duke Johnson? Also, can we afford to dial up some corner/safety blitzes and trust that the front 7 will keep him in the first and second levels?
Steve: I think we will see a lot of early down blitzes to stuff the run and keep Duke Johnson out of rhythm for as long as possible. The longer we keep him from getting into a groove the better. I also think we will call on Jalen Ramsey to shadow/spy on Duke Johnson the majority of the game as he is the best to cover Duke matching up size and speed with the explosive back. Look for many linebacker blitzes as well as DL stunts up the middle to prevent Miami's offense from running up the gut as most teams have done to FSU so far this year.
Teddy H.: Whether or not FSU can contain Duke Johnson will be one of the biggest conundrums of FSU’s season. If they aren’t able to pull it off and keep him to under 125 yds or so on the ground, it will be a long night for the FSU D. Likewise, shutting him down would effectively shut down the entirety of Miami’s balance on offense. Putting so much of a team’s offense on one player’s back means that if FSU can contain him, Miami won’t be able to move the ball consistently and pick up the short to medium yardage they’ll need on 2nd and 3rd downs. A promising piece of news in this regard revolves around the MEJ/Ereck Flowers matchup. Even if Flowers starts, it will be his first game back and MEJ will have a distinct advantage. On the other side of the line I could picture Jimbo using Lorenzo Featherston to get some backfield penetration and try to establish a consistent pass rush. However, this is all contingent on the interior of the line and the backers being able to show that they can play hard and avoid the big mistakes.
Wall St. Nole: There certainly has to be an increased sense of awareness when Duke is on the field. I think the focus has to be wrapping up tackles and holding the edge. In last year's game, before getting injured late in the 3rd quarter, Duke was having a good game but didn't have any huge runs or TD's. The Noles were already up 21 at the time of his injury so they certainly accomplished containing him. This year may be a different story though as he is better and our defense has an entirely new look with new faces. If we can limit big plays and get momentum on our side we certainly have a great chance to mitigate "the Duke".
Old School Nole: Contain Duke? Uh, taser him? Secretly spike his Gatorade? Seriously, I think Duke will get his yards (unless he's injured like during the 2013 game). The guy has over 1200 rushing yards so far (no. 2 in the ACC and seventh nationally) and is the Canes' third leading receiver. Smarter would be to try taking away the pass by pressuring freshman Brad Kaaya with the kind of rush the Noles applied last week — while slowing down Johnson with an extra emphasis on stripping the ball.
Should Jimbo scheme unexpected offensive wrinkles as he did for Louisville, in particular the play action pass to FB Freddie Stevenson that scored the final TD?
Wall St. Nole: Yes, I think so. I would not be surprised if we finally see a trick play or two. On top of that, I always enjoy the complexity in Fisher's game plan. It is really different week to week and that's why it is difficult to stop. We've had successful plays for 10+ yards called only once or twice in the first 9 games. Nothing will be off limits and I see the offense moving with ease against this Miami D. I would imagine we will see more of the screen game (we have hardly thrown a bubble or tunnel screen in the last 2 games) come back into play with Miami running deeper coverage. This plays right into FSU's hands as they have no problem nickle and diming down the field.
By Teddy Hayduk
on twitter: @TMHayduk
If you’re an FSU fan who has been recoiling for the past thirteen or so hours in response to the release of the CFB committee’s Top 4 this week, I am here to quell your fears. If you are worried and mad and fearing being left out of the Playoff, I am here to console you. If you honestly think that ESPN has some kind of unhealthy, inferiority-complex-fueled, SEC-spawned desire to cause FSU pain and anguish, I am here to tell you you’re wrong.
Here’s the deal. Sports make money because fans—the people who watch on tv and in the stands—don’t know how each matchup will end. Movies and tv shows are different because to an extent, there is a formula for success. There is a script. The end, no matter how shocking or convoluted (HOLY SHIT HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME) is pre-determined, and we know that. In sports, however, the results are solely a function of fate and, sometimes, luck. It is completely unwritten and impromptu. The less confident we feel about the probability of either team winning a game, the more inclined we will be to watch it—this is called having a high degree of product appeal. In a sport marketer’s perfect world, every matchup would create an exactly even, 50/50 chance for each team to win. This is why the NFL operates with a centralized authority. Having the ability to keep all 32 of its franchises as resource-homogeneous as possible (revenue), while employing strict salary caps and floors (expenditures), creates a league of 32 nearly identical teams. This, boys and girls, is called having a high degree of parity. A high degree of parity means that the NFL will probably exceed Roger Goodell’s goal of generating $25 billion in annual revenue by 2017.
Now—onward to CFB. CFB’s governing body, the NCAA, obviously cannot use monetary incentives to keep teams and conferences competitive with one another (wink wink). Furthermore, the ideals of amateurism, alumni network donations, and the individual educational goals and talent levels of recruits tend to create a naturally disparate hierarchy. In other words, MIT will probably never compete for a national title, and it is also equally unlikely that Alabama, Texas, Michigan, and UF will ever fall from the elite echelon of CFB programs. What this means is that CFB places itself into the opposite end of the parity spectrum than does the NFL. As we learned, a high degree of parity equals a high viewership rate, which equals higher TV and radio ratings, which equals a multitude of revenue-generating leverage points. The converse of this holds true, as well. CFB knows that having low parity hinders their chances to keep viewership rates high and therefore be able to negotiate even larger contracts in the future.