The FSU football team hasn’t played a full game at their best in 2023 through seven games. We’ve seen the offense look elite for stretches and times, downright terrible.
The defense has been the most consistent unit of the two, turning in some outstanding performances each week since the second half of the Clemson game.
The FSU defense has only allowed three touchdowns over the last 14 quarters played. That’s outstanding, and each of those drives was aided in penalties against FSU or referees swallowing their flags and not throwing them as FSU defenders got blatantly held.
One way to measure teams is by using advanced metrics that consider the strength of schedule and garbage time. One I’ve used over the years has been FEI.
No advanced metric model is flawless, because it’s impossible to account for every variable. Ultimately, teams have to start somewhere with preseason projections, and I disagreed with where FEI had the Noles before games got played.
FSU finished the 2022 season at No. 9 overall, with the No. 7 offense and No. 34 defense, and returned more production and experience than anyone nationally.
When I saw in the preseason projections at No. 22 overall, No. 17 offensively, and No. 33 defensively, I scratched my head. However, I know the numbers would work themselves out as more actual game data becomes available.
Through four games, the Noles ranked No. 14 overall, No. 13 offensively, and No. 35 defensively. Those numbers have improved drastically over the past three games. Through seven games, FSU ranks No. 5 overall, No. 12 offensively, and No. 9 defensively.
When it comes to the strength of schedule, only Ohio State has had a more difficult schedule than the teams ranked ahead of FSU. Their schedule ranks No. 19 toughest, and FSU ranked No. 29.
The perceived strength of the team going into the season was the offense, but I think credit is due to Adam Fuller and the defense. They have not allowed more than 24 points in any game, and only two teams have scored more than 17 points outside garbage time.
These offensive and defensive numbers could improve even more over the next two weeks with Wake Forest and Pittsburgh on deck.