A note of explanation. There is a slight difference between a goal and a prediction. Goals are – in my case – optimistic predictions. I think each one of them is attainable individually. But, I don't really expect us to reach all eight of them. If we do, I fully expect us to be playing in Tempe.
If we don't come close to reaching them, we won't be playing in Tempe. The further short we fall, the earlier our bowl game will be. Personally, I think we have as good a shot at getting to Tempe as any other team in the country. And, that is the best you can reasonably hope for in August. There are only six to eight teams in the country in that position.
Now, here are the Nole goals. You want to get to Tempe? Here's how:
Yards rushing: 160
Yards passing: 380
Total yards: 540
Yards rushing: 90
Yards passing: 180
Total yards: 270
We don't need to be Nebraska. We just need to be able to rush when we need to - 160 yards is actually pretty modest. We averaged more than that while Cholly was running the fast break. We averaged more than that while Weinke to Warrick was terrifying defensive coordinators weekly.
The passing (380) will be tougher to meet than the 160, I think. In Weinke's Heisman year we only averaged 385. But, I believe this goal is attainable. I think our defense will play better, our offense will get the ball a couple more times a game than they did last year, and more offense will result. I also think Jeff and Daryl understand each other, and the team, as well. I just see a ton of athletes on the field. And, I see us spreading the field and flinging the tater.
Points per game (46) is probably the most optimistic goal I've set. I think Danny Kannell's senior year is the only time in FSU history this scoring level has been reached. But, I think we will be able to punch it in in the red zone and Beitia has demonstrated he is a very capable kicker. 46 is tough, but attainable.
The defense must improve over last year. All four of these goals are essentially the standard that this team set for itself in the 90's. In effect, history set those goals, not me. If last year was an aberration, then these goals are well within reach. If not, then there will be no trip to Tempe.
Team Efficiency Rating (TER)
Now, a word of explanation about my personal little stat, the TER.
First, I'll explain how I calculate it. Then I'll comment on why I like it, and how to interpret it.
Stat 1: Yards per point scored: 540/46 = 11.7
Stat 2: Yards per point allowed: 270/12 = 22.5
Now, just take 22.5 – 11.7 which equals 10.8
That means that the opposition will need, on average, 10.8 yards more offense for every point scored to equal the points scored by FSU.
Finally, multiply 10.8 * 7 = 75.6
So, my goal is for FSU to have a TER of 75.6
Interpreted, that means that FSU opponents will need to gain 75.6 more yards of offense per touchdown scored. In very simple terms, it means FSU would be dominating the opposition, not just winning.
Here is why that is a true team statistic. Offense, defense, and special teams all contribute, positively and negatively, to both components that contribute to the TER. Turnovers, blocked punts, kickoff returns, three-and-outs, all effect both components. Teams that have good field position and big plays on defense and special teams have good TER's. Teams that turn the ball over and give up big plays on defense and special teams don't have good TER's.
In the last two years that the Noles played for the Sears Trophy their TER was 97.6 (2000) and 55.8 (1999). Last year their TER was 7.5. (Miami had an amazing TER of 128 last year.)
If FSU keeps its TER above 50, then we should be in the hunt for the trip to Tempe. I think we will.