Commentary

Land mines for Oklahoma, more

Flaws that could trip up Oregon, Oklahoma and the other preseason top-five teams

Updated: August 12, 2011, 11:21 AM ET
By Jeff Dooley | ESPN Insider
Landry JonesJames D. Smith/Icon SMIThe Sooners' offense is in good hands with Landry Jones, but stopping the run will be key for OU.

All the teams in ESPN.com/ESPN The Magazine's preseason top 25 poll made rank because they have lots of positive things going for them. But nobody's perfect, and to identify the things that could hold these teams back, we sent them through ESPN Insider's Eliminator model.

This week we'll examine five teams per day, picking out the statistical weakness that could trip up each team and the three teams/games that could exploit them (the land-mine games, if you will). Each stat is drawn from our Eliminator model and is a category that correlates strongly to success in college football. The minimum benchmark met by each conference and BCS champ and the average of past champs is provided for each.

Today, we complete the series with the teams ranked No. 5 through No. 1.


5. Florida State Seminoles (10-4 in 2010)

Statistical category: First downs per game

BCS benchmark: 20.4 (22.5 average)

ACC benchmark: 16.5 (18.7 average)

Florida State in 2010: 19.6

The Seminoles finished 62nd in the nation in first downs per game last season but got by just fine on offense in large part thanks to strong numbers in key categories like third-down conversion percentage and red zone offense. (Their scoring offense was solid as well, putting up more than 31 points per game.)

However, FSU's production in these areas could dip a bit, as it breaks in new QB EJ Manuel.


Become an ESPN Insider and read about Florida State's new QB, plus potential weaknesses of the other top 5 teams.