Alright gang we are resuming normal football activities as of today. Appreciate your respect of my decision to break with convention, and as the owner of this blog I reserve the right to do that from time to time. If you have any additional feedback (good, bad or indifferent) feel free to email me at email@example.com. Otherwise, all regular POV commenting rules are now in effect – No social statements, no politics, and no personal attacks. Comments are officially reopened. Now lets get back to the welcome diversion of Pitt Football. (Painful as though it may be…)
Up Next: Florida State, by Richard Hefner
Both teams faced a split-squad Bye team last week. Both teams had preseason hype entering the 2020 season, but each teams’ hopes were dashed. Pitt’s hype ended in their 4’th game with a 1-point loss to NC State followed quickly by 3 more losses. Pitt’s record is now 3-4 (2-4) in conference. Florida State hype was toned down after a close opening game loss to Georgia Tech. The hype ended after the 2’nd game blowout (10-52) loss to Miami. FSU record is now 2-4 (1-4) in conference.
Both teams played a member of the FCS Ohio Valley Conference in their OOC game. Pitt played 2019 OVC conference champ Austin Peay (Fly’s open, Let’s go
pee Peay). FSU played the 2017 and 2018 OVC champs Jacksonville State. Put your money on Jacksonville State to win in 2020/21. FCS teams are scheduled to play a conference schedule in the spring of 2021. But NCAA rules limit total number of games played in fall 2020 & spring 2021 to 11. This leads to my weekly mention of The Citadel. Due to playing 4 OOC games in the fall 2020 season, they will only play 7 of their 8-game conference schedule.
When Pitt entered the ACC the first game out of the box was a home visit by FSU in a Monday night game that resulted in a 41-13 loss. That FSU was led by QB Jameis Winston & the head coach was Jimbo Fischer (2010-17, 83-23). By the end of the season FSU was 14-0 and won the National Championship with a win over Auburn in the last BCS bowl game. In the next three years FSU went 13-1 (including a blowout loss to Oregon in the first CFP playoff game) & two straight 10-3 seasons. But by then, the wheels were wobbling badly. The rise of Clemson, off the field issues (including the arrest of that dynamic QB Jameis Winston for shop lifting crab legs from a Publix supermarket in Tallahassee), and a lack of academic monitoring that led to (while Huff III may not think highly of it) NCAA APR problems. Not bad enough for probation but was the lowest of D1 (FBS and FCS) teams and barely above 930. The wheels came off in 2017 with a 7-6 season where FSU had to scramble to find a G5 team to play the week of the ACC championship to garner their 6’th win to be bowl eligible. Jimbo fled to Texas A&M for a guaranteed $75M, 10- year contract.
Enter Willie Taggert( 2018-19, 9-12) to lead the Seminoles. He was an up comer after stints at Western Kentucky & South Florida, He took the HC job at Oregon in 2017 but returned to Florida and FSU one year later. Wheels that come off sometimes take time to fix. FSU and FSU fans did not have time. After a 2018 5-7 season and after a 4-5 start to the 2019, Taggert was fired. It cost FSU over $20M in buyouts to Taggert and Oregon.
Enter Mike Norvell (2020, 2-4) to take the helm. Norvell had an impressive stay at his time at Memphis.
Recruiting at FSU has declined from Fischer’s last two years & Taggert’s transitional year(2018) from averaging Rivals 5.8 4-stars to 5.7 3-stars in Taggert’s last year (2019) & Norvell’s transitional year. Still good but a decline from the golden years.
From October 2019 to October 2020, FSU has had 17 players enter the Transfer Portal. Five of them have left since the ACC started play on 9/12/20.
To help fill their 85-man scholarship roster, FSU took in 7 from the portal
The OT from FIU & CB from Florida Atlantic were All C-USA 2019 honorees.
Who are the identified preseason “Stars”? The names in bold where ACC preseason selections to the All ACC team. Four selections in total.
Based on this chart, the strength of FSU is on the defensive side. Later we will look at defensive stats.
The above chart would normally give names to watch. But in the year of the Covid, normal is not normal. D.J. Matthews has entered the transfer portal (9/15/20) and is no longer on the team roster. Hamsah Nasirideen has missed all 6 of FSU’s games recovering from a knee operation. It will just be Pitt’s luck that Nasirideen will play because he is on FSU’s depth chart as one of 2 “Or’s” behind the previous starter. Link to FSU’s depth chart:
No FSU Oline player made the “Stars” list. Are they pushovers? Are they underrated ? Here are some charts/data to help you make decisions.
Not a bad yards/game average. FSU ranks 27’th of 103 in rushing yards per game. Definitely leaning to underrated. How about Sacks Allowed & Tackles for Loss Allowed. Another chart or three.
I am going with underrated. While Pitt slightly protects its QB from Sacks than FSU, Tackles for Loss Allowed (that combines sacks and true runs tackled behind the line of scrimmage) really swings to FSU. The third chart helps breaks that out with my % of run plays stats.
What about FSU QB? Travis Jordan has started the last 4 FSU games. He was a Louisville class of 2018 signee (Rivals 5.6 3-Star). Redshirted the 2018 season and sat out the 2019 season after portal transferring to FSU. Covid being Covid, he can still get nearly 4 years of starting time at FSU. Here are his passing stats compared to Pickett & Yellen (with & without their FCS games). Only 91 QB’s have made the NCAA eligibility requirements.
If comparing QB’s, Pickett > Travis> Yellen. Yellen will probably start.
Here is the comparison of offense stats.
Overall, the offense goes to FSU.
What about the defense?
As I said when discussing the “Stars” chart, the defense is FSU’s strength -3 DLine men, a cornerback & a safety. The cornerback, Assante Samuel, is the real deal. The safety, Hamsah Nasirildeen, unless Norvell is shucking and jiving, will see some playing time and if past years are any indication will excel (just like my use of excel). Marvin Wilson was thought to be a better DT than Jaylen Twyman. Cory Durden is the starting nose guard according to the depth chart I linked above. Robert Cooper is his backup.
So, let us compare team defense.
All team rankings are out of 103 eligible teams.
Who would have thought that FSU had such bad numbers? Even Reed would say that Pitt has a better pass defense using just these stats based on games played.
What about those defense linemen? Are they getting sacks & TFL’s?
Pitt’s DLine is. FSU is not or at least at this time is not. What is impressive is Pitt is getting TFL’s on nearly 1/3 of all run plays.
Here are some additional stats – penalties & turnovers.
Wow, Pitt is playing a team that is even more undisciplined then they are. Between the flag fest & incompletions, this matchup may take 4 hours to finish.
If KP played at his normal health, I would call for a Pitt victory. That is even with the loss of Paris Ford. But we all know that Joey Yellen is going to start.
JY had a horrendous game against Notre Dame – 10/27 for 101 yards, 0 TD’s & threw 3 interceptions and a rating of 46.2 If JY can match or better his numbers from the Miami game (22/46 for 277 yards, 3TD’s & 0 interceptions 105.6 rating), I would call a Pitt victory. JY will beat his Miami numbers. Pitt wins 24-17.