Florida State can cover the spread because........
The Rush Dominance Screen is predicated on one large "expectation":
We belive that the team we are backing will keep the other team's offense off the field. A secondary goal for the RDS is to accertain the expected "field position" for the other team.
We want to place the opponent deep in their own territory, and we want to possess an offense that can run the clock and chew up yards. This is an offense that must wear down the other teams defense.
The Florida State/Virginia Tech game presents an obvious, and basic, set of features that can serve to illustrate the simple rationale of the Rush Dominance Approach.
*Florida State is the 3rd ranked defense in the country. They allow only 78 yards rushing per game, and they smother the passing lanes. This team has a phenomenal 3rd down percentage (18.5%), which is the best in the nation.
*On the other side of the ball, Virginia Tech's running the #111 offense in the land, with one of the worst passing games in the ACC. They have been sacked 16 times, even with a VERY mobile QB, and their running game is only sitting at 3.82 yards per carry because Tyrod is helping those numbers. Otherwise, they are getting no push from the line, and no pass protection.
When you think of FSU on offense, do you think about a team that is churing out the same numbers as BYU, Boise State, and Florida? Well they are.
Virginia Tech has another exciting defense, but they are punchless on the pass rush, and teams are still finding it easier to run on them in the second half, due to that pathetic offense. FSU has the offense to move the chains.
That's the other rub: How good is the #33 defense if it has to face the #31 offense? It's a fair question, and in most cases it's a "wash", right?
But what if the #3 (FSU) defense is driving the #111 offense (VT) off the field in quick order? how many notches do you drop a potentially strong defense if their offense stinks? Just ask the Tennessee defense what it's like to take the field after 8 "three and outs"? The defense dies. Look at what happened to New Mexico in the 4th quarter on Thursday.
This is a classic profile for the RUSH DOMINANCE machine. Can we find the angles that REDUCE the expectation of an opposing defense? Can we find certain spots where the stats can be replaced by wear and tear?
In this particular case, we are hoping for a war of attrition where FSU's dominant running game pounds the Hokie defense for 4 quarters. If we have more snaps, then they will fall apart in the second half.
*Our fear is turnovers. The one thing that kills the RUSH DOMINANCE Screen is excessive turnovers. Against VT that is a possibility, but I tend to think that VT MUST get defensive scores to stay in this game. And if FSU rushes for almost 6 yards per carry (on average), then the interception becomes less likely. (By the way, FSU QB's have only been sacked 8 times this year). FSU won't get 6 yards per rush, but you get the picture.
FSU averages almost 6 yards per carry and has only allowed 8 sacks, with an amazing 54% 3rd down conversion rate! That's not an offense that will be blindly winging the ball down the field. So those "pick six" interceptions wont bail VT out like they did in a few games this year.
If FSU plays defense. We will nail this wager.
* One drawback: Strength of Schedule is a concern, but it is certainly not enough to pull back from the wager. In this case, with such a massive disparity between our defense and their offense, we can ignore SOS. The line is priced for that SOS disparity.