Osceola360: News and notes from around college football

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The Osceola360 features news and notes from around college football. This week’s edition looks at ESPN’s preseason College Football Power Index rankings, Ryan Leaf’s return to college football, colleges coaches with the best records against teams ranked in the top 25 teams over the last three years and more:

Analytics seem to rule the day in the how we break down and study sports teams, individual games and even seasons. Most FSU fans must be feeling optimistic if they follow ESPN’s Football Power Index rankings and if you don’t, no worries we have you covered. The Seminoles are ranked 21st in the 2019 preseason edition of the FPI with an index rating of 11.9.

Based off the FPI’s preseason projections the Seminoles will win 8.2 ballgames this season with a 2.4 percent chance of winning the ACC Championship. The FPI also has FSU’s strength of schedule ranked as the 46th most difficult in the nation heading into 2019. Of course, that begs the question where do FSU’s 2019 opponent’s rank in ESPN’s FPI and where does the system rank their schedule? Here are the answers:

Clemson-ranked 1st, 56th ranked strength of schedule

Florida-8th in FPI, 3rd ranked strength of schedule

Miami-27th in FPI, 58th ranked strength of schedule

Boise State-42nd in FPI, 95th ranked strength of schedule

Virginia-43rd in FPI, 61st ranked strength of schedule

NC State– 46th in FPI, 65th ranked strength of schedule

Syracuse– 49th in FPI, 60th in strength of schedule

Wake Forest-59th in FPI, 62nd in strength of schedule

Boston College-65th in FPI, 45th in strength of schedule

Louisville-66th in FPI, 22nd in strength of schedule

Louisiana-Monroe-103rd in FPI, 82nd in strength of schedule

For more details on the FPI and where other teams rank please click on the following link: http://www.espn.com/college-football/statistics/teamratings.

There is always a lot of chatter each season about quality wins and even losses, especially since the inception of the College Football Playoff system. The deeper into the season, the more conversation you hear about quality wins and what weight those wins should carry into the meetings the College Football Playoff Committee holds each Monday during the last quarter of the college football season.

One of the ways to quantify quality wins is by considering wins against top-25 opponents. It should come as no surprise then that over the last three years both Clemson and Alabama lead the way in that category.

Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are 14-2 against top-25 teams since 2016 and Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide are 14-3 against top-25 opponents over the same time frame. The only other major college coach and program with a winning percentage above .500 during those three years is Brian Kelly whose Notre Dame teams have gone 8-7 against top-25 teams. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher is just 6-8 against top-25 teams since 2016. Last year, of course, was Fisher’s first season in College Station. For more on the winningest coaches against top-25 opponents over the last three seasons please click on the link following link to the Daily Caller: https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/14/dabo-swinney-nick-saban-top-25-records-3-years/.

One of my favorite things about college football in the month of July is the variety of preseason teams list, polls and predictions that are published each day and/or week. Sports Illustrated recently released its list of the Top 100 college football players for 2019 and while FSU didn’t have anyone in SI’s top-100 the list featured 15 players, mostly on defense, the Seminoles will face this upcoming season:

100. Andre Szmyt, Kicker, Syracuse

95. Curtis Weaver, DE/OLB, Boise State

75. AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson

48. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

45. Nyles Pickney, DL, Clemson

43. Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

38. Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida

35. Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

34. Shaq Quarterman, LB, Miami

30. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

20. Tee Higgins, WR. Clemson

19. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

15. AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College

7. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

For more on SI’s Top-100 list please click on the following link: https://www.si.com/college-football/2019/07/12/player-rankings-top-100-list-trevor-lawrence-tua-tagovailoa.

Fox Sports has announced that it will go head-to-head with ESPN with its revamped pregame show which will be called “Big Noon Kickoff”. The show will continue to be hosted by Rob Stone but they are adding former Florida and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to their lineup of experts which already include former Heisman winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, both of whom played at USC, along with former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Unlike ESPN’s College GameDay, the Fox Sports pregame show will only run for an hour each Saturday for the hour leading up to its featured game of the week which will kick-off at Noon eastern time. For more on Fox Sports college football pregame please click on the following link: https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/sec-football/fox-big-noon-kickoff-college-football-show/.

If you are planning on attending the FSU game at Clemson later this fall you might want to build in a little extra time to get into the stadium. Last season the Tigers Athletics Department utilized metal detectors at a select number of gates to screen tickets holders as they entered Death Valley. Moving forward with the 2019 season all gates will utilize metal detectors according to report by Matt Connolly of The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. There are more changes and upgrades planned in for the future according to the report.

The change is a sign of the times according to Clemson Athletics Director Dan Radakovich.

“When you are looking at a Major League Baseball game, an NBA game, and NFL game, you’re going through a metal detector. It’s just where we are as a society,” Radakovich told The State. “And we want to make sure to give our fans the best experience and the safest experience that we can.”

For more on the updates coming to Death Valley please click on the following link:  https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/acc/clemson-university/article232499287.html.

Speaking of college football television, former Washington State and San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf is someone who you might see a lot of this fall. Leaf, who was the number two overall pick in the 1998 draft after finishing his college career at Wazzu will be making a comeback of sorts.

After retiring from the NFL in 2001, Leaf starting coaching at the college level (West Texas A&M) before a series legal issues resulted in the former signal caller spending time in jail. After working as an analyst for the PAC-12 network last year, Leaf will be joining ESPN as a college football analyst this season. For more on Leaf’s journey please click on the following link: https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/espn-hires-former-wazzu-qb-leaf-as-college-football-analyst/ar-AAEkawr?ocid=spartandhp.

Please continue to check-in with the Osceola360 for our weekly updates on the latest from around the world of college football.

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