that makes one of us
So this post from the Sports Economist pops up in my feed reader linking to a paper just put out by Ohio State's econ department by one Trevon D. Logan, Assistant Professor of Economics. And hey, it's titled...
WHOA, NELLIE! EMPIRICAL TESTS OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
...and in my world this may as well be...
...so naturally the old interest gets piqued. It turns out that Logan tests three old saws of conventional wisdom about poll rankings, those being:
- it's better to lose early than lose late,
- teams are rewarded for beating strong opponents, and
- "style points" count.
Titillatingly, he finds all three bits of conventional wisdom to be unsupported:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, I find that (1) it is better to lose later in the season than earlier, (2) AP voters do not pay attention to the strength of a defeated opponent, and (3) the benefit of winning by a large margin is negligible.
Wow! It's time to check this paper out.
[Checking] [Jeopardy Music] [Etc.]
Oh, Lord, people from Ohio State are... well, they're not good at doing things. First we must establish what people mean by these old saws. Logan does a fine job of this:
The conventional wisdom of college football dictates that teams who lose early in the season stand a better chance of being highly ranked at the end of the season than teams who lose later. The logic is that teams who lose early have a greater opportunity to climb up in the polls after a loss, and also a greater chance of leapfrogging teams that lose at later points in time. Also, since ranking in the polls reflects recent performance, it is better to avoid losses late in the season. Similarly, the wisdom holds that voters view late losses unfavorably as they are a signal of low team quality.
End of the season. End of the season. End of the season. So how does Logan test this? He gets a database of various AP rankings over approximately the last twenty-five years. The alarming bit: he proudly notes "this is the first study that looks at weekly data for a large number of teams."
Wait... weekly data? When we're testing the theory that losing early is better for your end of season rankings, which come out, you know, once a year?
I test for the conventional wisdom by looking at the relationship between game characteristics and changes in AP point-totals. Since teams play one game only between rankings, this strategy will capture the relationship between game characteristics and AP point changes. In particular, I test the conventional wisdom outlined above with
(2) E(P(t) âˆ’ P(t-1)) = Î“Î²
where I regress the change in AP points from week t-1 to t on the characteristics of the game played between t-1 and t.
Let's say Michigan loses to Appalachian State in week one. To determine how badly this impacts your ranking in January, this paper checks to see what your ranking is in week two.
Ohio State, ladies and gentlemen!
|M sends five and does not get there (pressure -1); Crable picked up. Stocco [Yes, I called him "Stocco" here and had to mentally correct myself several other times. Wisconsin quarterbacks all look alike. -ed] throws behind a well-covered Hubbard. (Cover +1, Englemon +1)|
|O34||2||10||Ace Twins||Nickel||Run||3||Off tackle|
|ABC is in a really wide view here as they introduce the offense and I can't pick out anything specific. Taylor(+1) with a tackle two yards downfield.|
|BG stunts around both a DT and a DE as CGraham blitzes into the spot he vacated. They pick up the CGraham blitz but not the looping stunt; said stunt takes so long to loop around that Donovan has just enough time to get off a throw to a decently covered Hubbard. BG pounds him just after the ball is released. No, on replay Warren(-1) gave up position right away and was beaten easily. (Cover -1)|
|M41||1||10||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Pass||Inc||TE Seam|
|Actually goes to the non-Beckum UW TE as Michigan sends seven(!) guys. BG gets cut but gets up; Ezeh(+1) in unblocked on a well-timed delayed blitz; both get there just as Donovan throws. The resulting throw is long and uncatchable. (pressure +1)|
|M41||2||10||Ace||Base 5-2||Run||1||Zone right|
|Taylor(+1) holds up against a double team and Crable(+1) takes a momentary double without getting sealed; Crable's push and disconnect slows the RB long enough for help to close from the backside.|
|Michigan again blitzing heavily; both linebackers come. Ezeh gets in unblocked due to a UW miscommunication, hitting Donovan as he releases the ball. Adams(+1) reads Beckum's crossing route and comes up to tackle immediately. (Cover +1, pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. A couple of impressive plays on the part of Donovan already. I think this might be the hidden story of the game: Donovan playing his ass off.|
|O18||1||10||I-Form||Base 5-2||Run||-9 (pen)||Counter Trap|
|Adams comes up very hard right in the intended gap between the FB, who's crushed Crable(-1) inside, and the pulling guard. This forces Brown outside and should give Michgian time to react; Ezeh(-1) is late. Good reaction from Trent(+1) holds the play down. Hubbard, who came down to block Adams, picks up a holding call.|
|O9||1||19||Ace 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||25||Improvisation|
|Base personnel; Crable lined up in zone over the slot receiver. BGraham(+1) gets quick pressure from a four man rush but in doing so gives up contain as he's fought inside of the OT. I have a hard time blaming BG here, as the alternative is to sit around not getting pressure, something we've seen a lot of against mobile QBs. Donovan rolls out, finding Hubbard open for a big gainer and a first down. (Cover -1.) Another excellent play from Donovan.|
|Wooo for getting CGraham in coverage against a WR. The outside WR runs a fly, driving Trent off and creating a huge pocket for Hubbard to find another 20-yarder; Donovan overthrows it. (Cover -2, pressure -1). Adams blitzed and was through, but was forced to his knees and could not get to the QB.|
|The pocket starts collapsing from all sides as Donovan finds Beckum open on a stop route. He can't step into the throw and sails it. Um... pressure +1.|
|O34||3||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Slant|
|Trent(+2) jumps a slant, breaking up the play and nearly intercepting the ball. (Cover +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q.|
|O45||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 4-4||Pass||0 (penx2)||Interception|
|Donovan gives Henne's INT back as Crable shoots into the backfield and forces a horrible throw; Adams picks it off. (Cover +1, pressure +1). A stupid, legit roughing the passer call follows. Crable(-3). A late hit on UW evens out the yardage.|
|Are you kidding me? Michigan is in a 4-4 with two safeties as UW comes out in a big formation, then splits Beckum out. The man covering Beckum: Tim Jamison. It's irrelevant, as Trent(-1) has given Hubbard a huge cushion, which UW exploits for an out; Trent can't make an immediate tackle and Hubbard drags him for another five yards. (Cover -2)|
|M41||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||5 + 15||Option|
|Crable levels Donovan, picking up a completely garbage PF; meanwhile the pitch is out and the FB makes a nice cut block on a charging Adams; linebackers are nowhere to be seen. Adams had a really tough assignment here and I'm not sure what he could have done other than this.|
|M19||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||7||Iso cutback|
|Englemon at the LOS for another guy in the box. Stunt gets Jamison(+1) right in the intended POA, forcing a cutback. On the backside Taylor has gotten a little penetration but not much. BGraham(-1) left unblocked, is owned by the fullback, creasing the backside and getting Smith into the secondary. Ezeh(-1) again late and cannot tackle at the hole.|
|M12||2||3||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||2||Iso|
|UW unbalances its line, tipping run with a covered up TE. Also no Beckum. Ezeh(+1) blitzes from the corner and gets stood up by the FB, but disengages as the RB passes and makes a diving tackle.|
|M10||3||1||I-Form Big||Base 4-3||Pass||10||Waggle throwback|
|We do have extra guys in the box on these last two plays, evening up the blocking. UW goes with the waggle, shooting Beckum out to the backside of the formation. CGraham(-1) loses him and whoever the safety is is just gone. Appears to be Englemon(-1). (Cover -2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 4 min 1st Q.|
|O25||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||5||Iso|
|Both DTs single blocked and pretty much controlled; Taylor avoids a minus by flowing down t
he line and tackling. Johnson(-1) however, was pancaked and blown out of the play.
|O30||2||5||I-Form||Base 5-2||Run||6||Off tackle|
|Taylor(-1) can't take on a double, crumpling on contact and allowing the second guy to get out on Ezeh. CGraham(-1) runs up into the hole, meeting the FB and getting plowed backwards. Result: first down.|
|O36||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||34||Flag|
|Beckum is the third "wideout." He's a matchup problem, that guy. Crable lines up over him in zone; they run the flag again, it's wide open again, and this time Donovan makes the throw. Getting bludgeoned by this route. (Cover -2). Crable is basically a DE now and he's trying to cover the best receiver on UW. Wait... is this man? I think it might be man. Oh god. I can't tell.|
|Crable(-1) blitzing into this play action; he comes up too far inside and gives up contain. Donovan scrambles for good yardage.|
|M19||1||10||I-Form||Base 5-2||Run||3||Off tackle|
|Same power off tackle they've run much of the day; this time Crable(+1) blitzes and stands up the fullback in the backfield, forcing Smith to bounce it outside. Ezeh(-1) gets caught up way to the inside, turning a potential TFL into a three yard gain.|
|Crable knifes through the line but can't keep his feet; the extra moment or two allows Donovan to hit the other UW TE, who's slipped out of the backfield to provide a late option. CGraham(+1) tackles immediately. (Cover +1)|
|M11||3||2||I-Form||Base 5-2||Run||1||Off tackle|
|Johnson(+2) drives into the backfield, picking off the pulling guard with his man's butt and creating a huge mess at the POA. Brown attempts to cut back behind it but falls and the drive ends.|
|Drive Notes: FG(27), 0-10, 12 min 2nd Q.|
|O41||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||3||Iso|
|Johnson(+1) again drives his guy backwards, fouling the hole and causing a cutback. Taylor(+1) has also driven his man back a bit and disengages to tackle; Adams(-1) had an opportunity to stick this for a small loss or no gain but whiffed.|
|O44||2||7||Ace||Base 5-2||Pass||Inc||Middle screen|
|The middle screen that's killed us the past couple years against Wisconsin re-emerges; we have apparently figured it out. ("Killed us" in last year's game == got a couple first downs.) Ezeh(+2) reads this and is there as the ball shows, breaking it up. (Cover +1)|
|As soon as Ezeh(-2) gets chopped and flies wildly past the QB, we're dead meat. CGraham has shot into the line and Jamison has stunted around him, leaving acres of space as Michigan mans up. Donovan can run for days. (Pressure -2)|
|Yeah, you know those effective runs from the Oregon game that we shelved? This is that. Other UW TE comes in motion and sets up over the guard, looking like he's going to help on a frontside run. The play starts and the blocking looks like a zone stretch; the TE comes to the backside and cuts Crable. A slow-reacting CGraham(-1) doesn't scrape(!) correctly, allowing an OL to get out on him. Bam, Smith into the secondary.|
|M29||2||1||I-Form||Base 5-2||Pass||24||TE Post|
|No pressure(-2) on Donovan at all. He has a huge pocket and can step up unfettered; this he does, finding Beckum just in front of Warren, who is draped on him and ready to rake as the ball arrives. A perfectly placed ball prevents him from making a play.|
|M5||1||G||I-Form Big||Base 4-4||Run||4||Off tackle|
|Crable does a good job crashing down on this but Ezeh(-1), even though he's seen this play like a half-dozen times already, just waits to get blocked by an OL. He gets off it and since Crable's crashing delays the RB he has a chance to make a play near the LOS, but he whiffs on the tackle. Also -1 to BGraham, blown way off the ball.|
|Waggle bootleg to give Donovan a run-pass option. He might have the TE open but decides not to chance throwing over Crable and heads for the corner. BGraham can't quite get there in time.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown,0-17, 7 min 2nd Q. Impressive drive from UW here.|
|O35||1||10||I-Form||Base 5-2||Run||1||Inside zone|
|No pull from the guard and the FB shoots off to cut the unblocked backside DE: this is a zone play. Taylor(+1) absorbs a double team and flows down the line to tackle after the G gets a tardy release; BG and Johnson also do well to cut off any room.|
|Both TEs in two point stances. Delayed blitz from CGraham doesn't get there, Taylor bullrushes a guy back into Donovan, which might cause him to shorten up his stride and sail it a bit. No plus but no minus on pressure. Donovan tries a bomb to Beckum that's well covered by Warren(+1, cover +1)|
|One of the many plays that make me scream profanity during the game. BG gets a break here as Brown, trying to pick up a blitzing CGraham, picks off the guy blocking him; he gets in for what looks like a drive-killing sack but Donovan spins free and miraculously manages to keep his balance, split through the mess of OL and DL and roll out. He signals Hubbard downfield and hits him for a 30-some yard completion. I find it hard to blame anyone in particular on this except maybe BG. I mean, what is Harrison supposed to do here after six seconds covering a guy a foot taller than him? I dunno. BG(-1) for missing the tackle. Pressure(-2) for losing contain.|
|M37||1||10||Ace Twins||Nickel||Run||5||Zone right|
|Slocum in; he takes a momentary double, then stands up the OL and closes what looks ike the intended crease. Johnson's(-1) single blocked and handled, creating a crease between the two DTs. Ezeh(-1), unblocked, does not react. CGraham was trying to deal with a huge Wisconsin OL and managed to not give ground.|
|Slightly different blocking scheme here as Crable's blocked on the first level whereas before he has been let free for the FB to handle. Maybe this is designed to go outside? Think so. Crable(+1) beats his guy and eventually draws attention f
rom three badgers; Ezeh(-1) overruns to the frontside and CGraham(-1) is obliterated by an OL; a cutback lane opens and Smith takes it.
|M26||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||12||Iso|
|Johnson(-1) crushed out of the hole and way to the outside, creating a cavernous gap CGraham can't hope to fill. Taylor(-1) also blown back by a double. He gets blocked by the FB; Ezeh(-1) is caught inside waiting for a cutback that never comes and can't close him down to the outside. Englemon(-1) whiffed on a tackle downfield.|
|M14||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||-10 (pen)||Pitch sweep|
|UW shifts before the snap, pulling TEs to create huge overload to one side. Jamison drops off the line and lines up as a WLB. They run a pitch play which gets down to the two, but largely because Crable(+2) had shot into the backfield and was held to prevent a major TFL.|
|Adams blitzes and doesn't quite get there; the two linebackers, delayed, do, forcing a throw from Donovan. (Pressure +1) It's way overthrown and just as well for UW as Warren(+1, cover +1) has Beckum blanketed.|
|Taylor(+1) reads the draw, fighting inside to close down the desired gap between the DTs; CGraham also does a good job of coming up. As Brown cuts it outside Taylor fights back to the other side of the OL and dives to make a tackle at the LOS.|
|Five guys blitz but no one gets there; Donovan has a nice pocket. (Pressure -1) He finds Hubbard open enough (cover -1), but misses.|
|Drive Notes: FG(39), 7-20, EOH.|
|O20||1||10||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Run||8||Off tackle|
|Sort of on the formation. Beckum not quite on the line in a two point stance. One WR lined up just to the outside and back of him; TE offset behind him. Wisconsin then flips the formation, moving the TEs to the other side of the field, then bringing in the other WR as the RB goes from offset to directly behind the QB: they've moved from an obvious pass formation into a run formation that overloads the other side of the field. Crable switches sides, then starts motioning for a timeout that the refs don't give him. Jamison and Johnson get split but Johnson's absorbed a double team so there's no one to block Ezeh(-2), who sits back , fails to attack the hole, and lets Hill â€“ in the game for a couple carries â€“ burst by him.|
|O28||2||2||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||2||Inside zone|
|Odd alignment by the D with Jamison in a two point stance; he passively accepts a Beckum block. Weird, but looks like his assignment. Johnson slants into the backfield but is taking Donovan on a rollout fake; Crable shoots into the backfield from the other side as Michigan brings a run blitz; the FB takes him out but Hill's path is altered. Taylor(+1), doubled, holds up and makes a diving tackle as Hill passes. Still a first down.|
|O30||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||2||Draw|
|Adams brought as a blitzer. He's taken out by the fullback; Taylor's gotten some penetration but allows the RB to slip behind his block. Ezeh(+1), unblocked, makes a tackle after a small gain.|
|Harrison sent on a blitz; Wisconsin has a wall of blockers out there and Donovan has tons of time. (Pressure -2). Can't find anyone (cover +1), starts rolling out towards Harrison then flips around and starts running for it. Crable can't track him down... Donovan's a fast dude.|
|O39||3||1||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||2||Iso|
|Pure straight ahead power from a FB as UW puts out a huge set in the backfield. Good job by Johnson to penetrate but he can't get there in time; Slocum in but not able to make a play.|
|O41||1||10||I-Form||Base 5-2||Pass||-10 (pen)||TE Out|
|No pressure(-2) at all; excellent pocket and Donovan has plenty of time to step up and fire. The TE runs an out in front of Warren in zone coverage; Warren is close enough to take a diving stab at the ball and attempt to rake it out but it's just beyond his reach and a completion. Carimi gets called for holding; BG(+1) drew it but it was unnecessary.|
|O31||1||20||Ace 3-wide||Base 5-2||Run||10||End-around|
|Same flip UW executed on the first play of the drive. Ezeh(-2) gives up contain immediately; Adams(-1) comes up hard but too hart, allowing Jefferson to beat him to the corner.|
|O41||2||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||19||Hitch|
|Blitz from Michigan; Ezeh(+1) plows right into the center and starts driving him back, forcing Donvan to throw; he finds Hubbard on a comeback route in front of Warren(-2, cover -2), who compounds the meh coverage by whiffing on a tackle and yielding significant YAC. (Pressure +1)|
|M40||1||10||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Pass||7||Waggle scramble|
|Waggle action from UW; they use a pulled TE to block the backside DE and give Donovan some time. Coverage(+1) is good and Donovan decides to scramble. Ferrara(-1) overruns the play and Johnson(-1) was pancaked, so there's no one to clean up as he cuts back and scrambles.|
|M33||2||3||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||-2||End-around|
|End-around to Beckum(!); this time Crable(+2) is shooting in from the strongside unblocked. He's past the FB â€“ who seems to let him go â€“ and the RB, almost too far upfield to make a difference on the play but he grabs Beckum's leg and eventually hauls him down for a loss.|
|Again with the long-looping stunt of Graham around the DT and DE; it is about to get to Donovan but it's too late as he finds Jefferson wide open on a comeback route in front of Englemon. (-1, Cover -1, pressure -1)|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||4||Iso|
|Mouton in the game as an extra LB. Taylor(+1) drives into the backfield towards the hole, closing it just as the FB passes. Smith has to cut it back; the linebackers have all run themselves to the frontside of the play and gotten blocked, so it takes Englemon coming up to make this tackle. I should hand out a -1 somewhere... Mouton.|
|M16||2||6||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Pass||8||Stop|
|Mouton out, Jamison in in Crable's usual place over the TE; he drops into coverage. Crable playing as a WLB. Beckum motions out to be a seco
nd receiver and runs a simple stop route in front of Trent(cover -1).
|M8||1||G||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||5||Naked bootleg|
|Hey, wow, haven't seen this in a while. Run all the way here with no one in a route. Crable(-1) gets cut to the ground, opening up the backside; Warren makes an adequate tackle to prevent a TD.|
|Hill in, and we send out the big boys: NT Taylor, DT Slocum, DT Kates. Our DEs are usually DT Johnson and sometimes DT Graham. They run at Slocum(-1), who's stood up by one blocker. Taylor(+1) has burst into the backfield and delayed the progress of a couple pulled guys, forcing a Hill cutback and an eventual tackle just short of the goalline.|
|Full credit to CGraham(+2), who launches himself forward, plowing into the FB, stoning him, and driving back as Hill arrives, eventually sticking him short of the endzone. Taylor(+1) also helps make this play, eventually driving the center back and preventing Hill's added momentum from driving the pile forward. At the time I just thought "oh, god, put me out of my misery" but if things go a bit differently in the fourth quarter this could have been a deciding play.|
|Drive Notes: FG(18), 7-23, 5 min 3rd Q.|
|O23||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 6-2||Run||3||Iso|
|Johnson(+1) slants past his blocker into the desired path of this play, forcing a cutback. Patterson disengages to tackle as the RB passes him near the LOS, but can't prevent him from falling forward.|
|No pressure(-1) from a four-man front; Hubbard wide open in front of Trent(-1, cover -1).|
|O36||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 6-2||Run||7||Off tackle|
|Greg Banks(-1) is doubled, immediately crumbling and getting pancaked. Crable(-1) stoned by the FB as a guard and Beckum pull around from the strongside of the formation. Taylor's again fought to get himself into the hole â€“ I can't believe what a monster game he's having given the results on the field â€“ but Johnson(-1) is easily handled by his guy and can't do likewise; there's a major gap between them.|
|O43||2||3||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||3||Iso|
|Jamison(-1) is stunting around the DT and right into this hole; he should at least take out the FB and allow a linebacker to close unblocked; instead he shoots upfield uselessly. Ezeh(+1) and Taylor do a good job of closing the hole, but the momentum of the back bowls them over and he sqeezes out near the first down.|
|O46||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||5||Inside zone|
|Michigan slants hard to the left, which means Taylor takes himself out of the play and Ferrara(-1) is slanting into a double team that crushes him. Ezeh, blitzing up the middle, comes up hard but the back can slant away from him because of the large gap. Adams makes an arm tackle as he passes.|
|M49||2||5||I-Form Big||Base 4-3||Run||4||Delay|
|Highlight of this one provided because I'm not sure exactly what to term it and not precisely sure what everyone's responsibilities are. Anyone who can chip in, please do. We're laying back and blitzing hard at the snap; Ezeh(+1) meets the C and stands him up, making this hole smallish â€“ think Brown should cut back here into big space as Ferrara's run himself way out of the play and into trouble, but he does not â€“ but Adams(-1) does not fill it, instead moving outside to follow the fullback, which appears to be Crable's responsibility. Result is that the RB can slip up this crease for four as Ezeh and Slocum disengage to tackle.|
|M45||3||1||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||0||Iso|
|Johnson(+1) slants hard inside as Jamison(+1) loops around behind him on what's not really a stunt but a sellout to stop the hypothetical iso. Both guys get there, stuffing this at the LOS and forcing a punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-23, 14 min 4th Q.|
|Taylor(+1) gets interior pass rush and nails Donovan as he releases the ball(pressure +1); it's a bit of a duck. Warren(+1, cover +1) is there to rake the ball out as it arrives. Stevie Brown in the game.|
|O30||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Base 5-2||Run||-1||Off tackle|
|Same formation UW ends up in after the flip, but they just line up in it this time. M shows man press. And end-around draws two players two it, potentially opening up a running lane. Crable(+1) blitzes from over the WR and is not blocked; BG(+1) slashes past his blocker and into the backfield; the pair tackle for loss.|
|O29||3||11||Ace 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Middle screen|
|Adams is creeping forth at the snap â€“ a spy, maybe? -- but not blitzing, so he's in perfect position to read this screen and break it up(+1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-23, 12 min 4th Q.|
|O24||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||2||Draw|
|Johnson(+1) does a good job holding up against a double team; Ezeh sort of comically plows into the back of one of his teammates and falls as the running back approaches the LOS, which forces a spin and eventually a fall due to the traffic the immobile Johnson has created.|
|Crable(+1) shoots past a blocker but is flat-out tackled, opening up a huge gap for the RB to exploit. No call. Ezeh(-1) got blocked right out of the play and ther was no second-level help.|
|BGraham(+1) fights outside of his blocker and gets into the hole the FB is running up into. He gets blocked out of the play but he's successfully stripped the RB of his crease and his lead blocker. Johnson(-1) gets blown back by a double, forcing Ezeh to go around the guy still blocking Johnson and whiff an arm tackle; he gets pushed a couple yards downfield and turns this from 0 into 3.|
|O41||2||7||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Run||0||Inside zone|
|Actually more of a 6
-2 as CGraham comes to the LOS and Adams moves up to be a second linebacker. Crable gets upfield and Jamison is doubled, creating a large crease between the two; Adams(+2) comes up and fills with authority, tackling for no gain.
|O41||3||7||Ace||Base 6-2||Pass||Inc||TE Out|
|Michigan crowding the line, threatening major blitz. They come with seven guys and have Brown come up to play spy, leaving three downfield recievers in man coverage. No one nears Donovan (pressure -2). He finds Beckum; Adams(+2, cover +2) is all over him, diving to break the pass up near the sticks.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-23, 9 min 4th Q.|
|O26||1||10||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Pass||29||PA Flag|
|Adams comes up as an eighth man in the box; Wisconsin runs a play-action fake and sets up as Michigan shows man free. Warren(-1) gets beaten on a flag route by Hubbard; Donovan hits him on it. Nice pocket this time (pressure -1, cover -1)|
|M45||1||10||I-Form||Base 5-2||Pass||Inc||PA Out|
|Ezeh sent on a blitz that the UW FB screws up real bad, moving out to block Crable, who's already dealing with an OT, and allowing Ezeh a free shot on Donovan. The resulting, hurried throw is well wide. (Pressure +1) Donovan bangs his finger on Ezeh's helmet; Allen Everidge comes in. Question: why was Donovan, who had clearly hurt his finger, allowed to sit on his butt in the middle of the field? I've seen neck injuries that took less time. Obvious gamesmanship by Bielema; it's up to the refs to get Meathead under control.|
|M45||2||10||I-Form||Base 6-2||Run||2||Off tackle|
|Michigan stacks the line and comes; Jamison stunts into the gap that's attacked but is blown out of there by an OL. Johnson(+1) has driven into the backfield and disengages to tackle at the LOS.|
|M43||3||8||Ace||Base 5-2||Pen||-5||False start|
|BG(+1) nearly gets past the OG and is very close to being held. He doesn't get to Everidge, but does convince him to scramble out into an onrushing Jamison(+1). Everidge just gets rid of it. (Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 21-23, 6 min 4th Q.|
|M33||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||1||Inside zone|
|Adams comes up for an eighth guy in the box; both Johnson(+1) and Taylor(+1) stand up to double teams, Johnson splitting his and leaving an OL in the hole looking for someone to block. As the RB reaches the hole he bangs into the OL and Taylor reaches over to tackle and finish the play.|
|M32||2||9||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||19||Iso|
|Taylor(-1) gets effectively scooped; there's a crease between the two DTs as Johnson gets some penetration that might be voluntary on the OL's part. CGraham(-1) comes up to fill and gets pwned by the FB. Brown(-1) misses a tackle, turning this into 10 additional yards for UW.|
|M13||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||7||Off tackle|
|BG(-2) obliterated by the OT, falling flat on his ass immediately. Ezeh(-1) and CGraham(-1) get blocked out of the resulting hole; another big gainer.|
|M6||2||3||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||6||Off tackle|
|Same play; this time Brown cuts it to the backside. Jamison(-1) ran himself out of the play; Johnson(-1) blown back by a double team, and woop touchdown.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-30, 3 min 4th Q. Charting stops here, as the rest of the game is academic.|
That was horrible.
Pretty much. Wisconsin had 12 drives and scored on six of them. Two of UW's field goals were chip shots; Michigan was fortunate to hold in the redzone. Early on, I was just "oh, okay, Donovan is making some great throws." Late, though... ugly.
It is worth mentioning, though: Donovan did play a great game and Travis Beckum is an impossible matchup.
It seems to me that some of the blame on the UM defense is related to the offense's lack of production. When the offense is constantly going three and out the defense gets tired and tends to reach to make big plays. This leads it open to both missed tackles and big plays. It seems when the offense is able to move the ball the defense can stiffen up and hold the other team in key situations. But when the offense is ice cold the D seems to give up more ground.
Is this fair? Or are they unrelated?
[Actual question from actual reader. -ed]
I think there's some blame to be assigned to things that aren't the defense, but it's not due to fatigue. Look above: after a couple stops Michigan gives up five consecutive scoring drives of significant length, both in terms of yardage and plays, one of which is right after halftime. If we were seeing an exhaustion effect it wouldn't start in the first quarter and end midway through the third. And if there is an exhaustion effect, it's just as much on the D for being unable to get on the field as the O for being unable to get off it. Maybe if Michigan started off with a series of three-and-outs and put together a noble front before crumbling, I could see it. But not here.
The item that might mitigate the D's performance: Zoltan's suddenly crappy punting -- the past two weeks he's regressed badly -- and Michigan's consistent inability to stop any kickoff return before it reaches the 35. Look at UW's drive starts early: 34, 18 (bad pooch punt), 45, 25 (bad punt), 41, 35. That's losing the field position battle.
Chart. This one's a doozy.
|Jamison||3||2||1||No pass rush at all. What happened to this guy?|
|Johnson||8||7||1||Caved several times; several other times made nice plays. Confusing day.|
|Taylor||11||3||8||I thought he was great, but grant you that you might be skeptical. Nine tackles is a hell of a number for a DT, though.|
|Crable||9||7||2||Stupid PF was a huge turning point.|
|Banks||-||1||-1||A hidden source of damage: sparsely used backups, collectively -4.|
|Ezeh||8||15||-7||Not ready for prime-time, IMO.|
|C. Graham||3||6||-3||Is who he is.|
|Trent||3||2||1||Gave up a couple outs, otherwise not tested much.|
|Warren||3||4||-1||Relatively tough day.|
|Adams||6||3||3||Should he be playing LB?|
|"Pressure"||10||18||-8||This should color your views of the DL significantly.|
|"Coverage"||15||17||-2||Okay, not great; flag routes killed them.|
A huge positive score for Taylor and a huge negative score for Ezeh jump out. Taylor I'm pretty confident on after checking the box score and seeing the aforementioned nine tackles. That's outstanding for a DT, especially since AFAIK every one of them was at or near the LOS. He was a standout.
Ezeh... well. Is UFR presdisposed to hate linebackers? I don't think so. I went back to a few games last year and found no negative scores except a 1-2-(-1) put up by a wounded Burgess in the OSU game. Is it reasonable that he's playing really poorly? Yes, he's a redshirt freshman in a run defense that's consistently gotten gashed up the middle; Michigan was so worried about their linebackers they brought in their first JUCO in ten years. So the ugly number above is legit, IMO. Ezeh is the Ryan Mallett of the defense, forced on the fiwaeld a year (or two) early.
Arrrgh Crable aaaargh.
Yes, pretty much with the personal fouls and the containment issues and all that jazz, but do note he was positive for the game despite taking a -3 on the first PF (the second, being complete bullcrap, did not draw UFR-scorn). He remains a net positive on the defense and will be important against Ohio State. If he can make Boone look as silly as Florida's southern-speed laced DL did, we might have a chance.
I would also like to point out that Meathead has a basic lack of football knowledge if he thinks Crable would get ejected for two personal fouls.
Taylor and Jamar Adams.
Ezeh, Crable, and everyone assigned to rush the passer.
What does it mean for Ohio State?
If Michigan's performance against Michigan State was a "please ask again later" in re: Michigan's run defense versus a pounding, between-the-tackles ground game, the Wisconsin game was "outlook not so good." Beanie Wells is way better than anyone Michigan's faced the past two weeks and the Ohio State offensive line is likely to be at least the equal of MSU and UW. Unless we have some magic schematic mushroom in our pocket, expect Wells to go nuts.
The passing game will be more even, IMO, and will require Ohio State to play off the run -- note that this is not "set up" the run; a first-snap play action bomb would terrify me -- to neutralize a Michigan DL that's highly effective at getting to the quarterback when there is no threat of a handoff but could not get to Hoyer or Donovan on play action or even just your average run-pass down. If Boeckman makes a mistake here or there or a blitz gets in or one of our DBs makes a play or two... but it'll take a fluke event or three to keep Ohio State from moving the ball effectively.
Yes, despite the Illinois game. Illinois has J Leman. He is a real American hero. Do we have real American heroes? Not on defense. Not at linebacker.
The Yankee infidels are dying by the thousands.
LSU's athletic director on Les Miles:
"From what he's expressed to me recently, Les is very happy at LSU and not interested in Michigan," O'Keefe said Tuesday. "He's extremely pleased with his contract and with the support from the university he has received."
Les Miles to Mike Tirico:
"I'm not paying attention to what-ifs," Miles said, before letting maize and blue color his words. "Coach Carr's a great coach, and he should stay as long as he's able, and I'll root for that team, not only this Saturday, but every Saturday that I'm alive. I give little or no thought to any other opportunity."
Les Miles on Jim Rome today:
Rome: Have you or your reps had any discussions with Michigan about possibly replacing Lloyd Carr.
Miles: Absolutely not. I am completely and 100% focused on the task at hand. We play Ole' Miss this weekend. The opportunities in front of my football team are great and I'm not turning an eye in any other direction than the preparation for this football team.
Rome: Les, would you say unequivocably then that LSU is where you are going to be next year.
Miles: You know I love this place. This is a place that I enjoy fully. And again, I'm turning no attention towards any other opportunities and just focused on the job at hand.
They are dying on the walls by the thousands!
Ok, not insane. A few weeks back there was a minor internet OUTRAGE at the comments of Associate Deputy Assistant Athletic Director Guy Michael Stevenson, who came off as a hopelessly out-of-date fuddy-duddy when quoted saying stuff about how being loud at football games is unethical.
But not so fast, my friend! The Michigan Review talked with Stevenson and got a clarification:
"If you believe that sport is governed by rules that are supposed to be neutral with respect to giving teams any advantage, then making too much noise in a stadium is unethical," said Stevenson. It would be unethical because of the influence fan behavior could directly have on the outcome of the game, by changing field position or extending possession times by leading to first downs. Stevenson emphasized that he was asked to discuss fan ethics, and referred to NCAA rules as guidelines for ethical behavior.
But those rules are no longer enforced by officials, and since fans no longer have to worry about incurring penalties against their own team for their rowdiness, fans should be involved and passionate, Stevenson said.
(Via Varsity Blue.)
The Review also did an interview with me over the phone a month or so ago; I do wish they'd edited out some of the vagaries of speech that make me sound dim, but what can you do? No, not issue a fatwa. Bad reader. Bad, unforgiving, very confused reader.
How to see. Tomorrow's basketball game against Georgetown will be the first time a Beilein team faces actual opposition. It's on ESPN360, which is not a channel but is rather an internet service. Do you get it? Probably not. I'll take "Reasons The Big Ten Network Exists" for $1000, Alex. You can check to see if you are amongst the blessed few here.
Question: is it possible one of the blessed few could capture the game and post a torrent?
Timmy B. He runs. He runs. He runs.
Update: Review interview link broken; now fixed.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
It's neck and neck for number one, but not a tie. The average above is approximate; LSU does have a tiny lead with 1299 points to Oregon's 1295. How can Oregon be second with more first place votes than any other team? Four flatly indefensible votes from people placing Oregon outside of the top four. These come from Big Red Network, Eagle In Atlanta, Pitch Right, and Saurian Sagacity. The former two rank Oregon #5, the latter two #7. All voters have LSU in the top four; this is your difference. Further discussion in Wack Ballot Watchdog.
Let's just be clear: Oregon is a one-loss Pac-10 team in a year when there is only one undefeated BCS team, and that team has currently played the 97th toughest schedule in the country. Oregon, OTOH, has played the nation's 12th toughest schedule, gone 3-1 against Sagarin's top 30, and beaten top-ten Arizona State. (All facts stolen from SMQB.) If you find LSU more appealing or no-loss Kansas more appealing, fine. But there can be no justification for placing Oregon lower than #3 at this moment in time.
Elsewhere: Michigan plummets eleven spots to #23, which seems unduly harsh given a road loss against a good team minus both starting QB and starting RB, but I might be a little biased; Mizzou leaps West Virginia; Hawaii slides down to #20 -- #13 in both the coaches and AP polls.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- The Oklahoma voter: Corn Nation.
- Corn Nation also drops Ohio State down to #16, five slots below the next most pessimistic voter.
- So about the four Oregon doubters: BRN's vote has the least impact since freakin' Hawaii is #2 in their ballot and LSU is #3; Kansas #1 and OU #4 round out the top five. It's still pretty unjustifiable.
And then the absolutely most cracked-out ballot of them all: Saurian Sagacity, a blog new to the poll this year that's spent much of the year at the top of the Mr. Bold list with ballots that make no sense. Ladies and gentlemen: Arizona State up five to #4. Oregon down 3 to #7. Last week -- LAST WEEK -- Oregon 35, Arizona State 23 in a game that was 35-16 going into the fourth quarter.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Sometimes Mr. Bold is just a guy with a kind of weird opinion on a team or two. This is not that, though. Dawg Sports submits an truly awful ballot: Arizona State plummets to #20. Kansas is #22. Cincinnati is #8. Attempted justifications are here and they are rife with contradictions; suffice it to say when you're the only one ranking either ASU or KU outside of the top ten and you put them in the 20s, you are way off base. I mean, look at the distributions: Kansas and Arizona State. When you can be that thrillingly wrong on two separate teams -- one of whom, ASU, has one loss against the nation's 27th-toughest schedule -- you've turned in a terrible ballot.
Someone finally wrests Mr. Numb Existence from Double Extra Point and it's... Every Day Should Be Saturday? Really? No Penn State #10 this week or something? Evidently not, and whenever the margin creeps under 1 it's a doubly impressive display of hive-mind reading.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
Awwww, goddammit. Not again. For the record, the CK Award claimed yet another victim as Cal fell to 6-4 against USC. And what part of "do not #&$! with the CK Award" does Russ Levine of Football Outsiders not understand? Especially as Michigan is playing not guaranteed-to-blow-it Michigan State but rather Oh God Ohio State this weekend?
>#*$@. Just... just... goddammit. The appearance of two other Michigan blogs, including this guy, doesn't help either. Hoist upon my own Picard.
Straight Bangin' Award has been the near-exclusive province of Florida and USC blogs this year and this week is no exception. Four of the top five are blogs representing those particular schools, including #1 and #2. This week's winner: Conquest Chronicles, which has USC #20.
This week: see above, replace new #2 (tie) Conquest Chronicles with Saurian Sagacity.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive belongs to Dawg Sports for what I believe is the third time this year. Deranged swings! Woo!
Mr. Stubborn is Building The Dam, unmoved by the events of last week: Michigan down only two, UConn only four, no one up vast amounts or anything. Etc.
Poll coming early PM.
Video trouble? Try VLC.
|M20||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Wisconsin has a corner rolled up over the backside, obviously showing zone, and goes with a shifted defensive front that lines an NT up over the C and has a DT over Boren. Kraus and Boren double the DT but get no push; Boren(-1) eventually falls. Meanwhile, the NT is the responsibility of Mitchell and slants behind Kraus as the play snaps. Mitchell has no chance to block him and does his best to follow him down the line. As Brown cuts up behind Long's block of the DE, the NT closes to tackle; a host of unblocked second-level Badgers follow. This play was doomed from the start.|
|M21||2||9||Ace 3-wide||Run||14||Brown||Zone right|
|Butler on the left side of the line; same shift by Wisconsin and Michigan runs away from it. Kraus gets squared up on the NT as Mitchell heads out to the second level; Boren(+1) blows the DT way off the line w/ help from Long(+1) and Butler(+1) manages to get in front of and drive the DE back. Brown pops through a hole and into the secondary. (Replay)|
|M35||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||9||Mathews||Long handoff|
|Mathews working on the freshman corner for good yardage. (CA, 3)|
|M442||2||1||I-Form Big||Run||6||Brown||Zone left|
|NT Newkirk slants left at the snap, running himself out of the play and into the block of Butler. Wisconsin compensates by blitzing linebackers right up them middle. Mitchell(+1) chops one; Moundros(+1) does the other; Brown cuts up smartly into the vacant area.|
|O49||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-1||Brown||Zone left|
|Hayden straight-up crushes a scoop block by Boren(-1) and Kraus(-1), ending up right in Brown's path. With nowhere to go he attempts to cut back; he's not Mike Hart.|
|Uh... okay. One WR on second and long. Debord will do this several more times and throw out of it, which is, IMO, completely insane. At this point Wisconsin has one all-star corner and then freshmen and losers. Why allow Ikegwuonu to cover the only receiver on the field? Why not force the nickelback on the field? I dunno. Anyway, Ikegwuonu gives tons of cushion and Michigan takes the simple out. Henne loops the ball awkwardly and makes this a tougher catch than it should be. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Henne turfs one. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 8 min 1st Q. Henne does look wonky to start.|
|MLB bites on the play action and the WLB in zone coverage freaks out and starts heading to the sideline in an attempt to cover a WR after biting a little bit himself. Butler comes open and Henne hits him for a first down. Pass is a little low but reeled in. (CA, 2)|
|Inverted TEs, one of whom is "TE" Vince Helmuth. We often run draws from this formation, leaking the FB inside, and that's what we do here. Wisconsin is prepared for this, shooting two linebackers into the backside gap. Helmuth takes out one of them, but his counterpart forces Brown into the line; Brown bangs into an OL and goes down amongst a host of red shirts, driving for a few yards he did well to get.|
|The horribly thrown interception. (IN, 0, protection 2/2). Had Mathews for a first down otherwise. Goodbye, Henne.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 6 min 1st Q. Henne out, Mallett in.|
|M32||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||9||Arrington||Long handoff|
|Wisconsin brings up an extra guy, expecting run, and... hey! They took advantage of a soft corner. It's the freshman again. Throw was well in front of Arrington, presaging further wildness. (CA-, 3)|
|Not a stretch, close to what I'd call an Iso in any other offense. Left side of the line gets good push, but no creases appear. Hodge sticks Brown just short of the first down.|
|Not sneaking it on third and an inch seems needlessly reckless, but it works. Mitchell(+1) makes a good reach block, knocking back the DT and creating a bit of space for Minor. Good thing, too, as the other gaps were filled by hard-slanting badgers.|
|Arrington on a comeback route; Mallett waits and waits, finally throwing it wide as he nears the sidelines. It looks like Manningham is wide open here. (IN, 0)|
|I dunno, like WTF man. The weakside DE is totally ignored as long shoots out to the second level immediately; Minor gets a handoff on delay action and the unblocked DE makes a TFL. I'm at a loss to explain this play. Maybe it could work if the DE freaks out and goes after Mallett, but in this offense backside DEs are left unblocked all the time as the tackle shoots out to the second level, so as soon as the play snaps the DE is thinking run. Butler was off the line; maybe he was supposed to pull around? I don't understand this play at all. Video included in case someone wants to theorize as to what's going on here.|
|Good protection, as UW only rushes three. Mallett can't find anyone, eventually rolling out and taking a sack. (TA, 0, protection 2/2) On replay, good coverage with plenty of bumping from UW. No one open; can't blame Mallett there.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 1 min 1st Q.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Pass||17||Arrington||PA Flag|
|Excellent protection; draw fake t
o Minor. Mallett scans, pumping once before finding Arrington, who's beaten the freshman Henry, on a flag route. Mallett throws; the pass is a bit low but catchable, Arrington digs it out. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
|M37||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-2||Minor||Zone left|
|Kraus(-1) blows right past the backside DT, leaving him for Mitchell on a reach block; Mitchell does not make this block. Minor is forced to cut back into an unblocked linebacker. This play is explored in more detail below.|
|M35||2||12||I-Form||Pass||Inc||Arrington||Post and go|
|Arrington torches this Henry kid again, getting yards past him; Mallett overthrows it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Hayden splits a double from Boren(-1) and Kraus(-1), coming straight up the middle and sacking before Mallett's routes can develop. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-10, 11 min 2nd Q. FTR: Debord calling a diverse game here. Unless you think any play featuring an Alex Mitchell reach block is a bad playcall, there's not much to criticize.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Big||Pass||Inc||Arrington||PA Out|
|This is where I don't understand this formation. Okay, you've run play action and gotten Mallett lots of time. But the only actual receiver in the route is covered by Ikegwuonu. And I mean this literally: there is one receiver in the route. Michigan's run this a couple times before, but it's an all-or-nothing strategy that banks on a really convincing run fake. Ikegwuonu is in man and doesn't buy it; Mallett throws it anyway and it's nearly picked off. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M20||2||10||I-Form Twins||Run||3||Brown||Zone left|
|Eight in the box for UW and Hayden gets a jump off the ball directly into the path of the play. Mitchell is just trailing the backside DT hopelessly when Moundros(+1) slams into him (the DT), driivng him back and pancacking him. Mitchell gets in on the act, generally shoving people and turning this into a small gain as Brown cuts back behind Kraus and Boren trying to handle Hayden.|
|Mallett's drop is ridiculously deep â€“ ten yards â€“ and he fails to step up into a nice pocket the OL has provided, so eventually a guy comes around Schilling but it's not his fault. Mallett thinks about rolling out, then flicks a perfect pass off his back foot to a guy 25 yards from him. Uh. Okay. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Seven guys in the box and the linebackers are shifted to the TE's side of the line; Mallett checks off and hits Arrington on a post after looking off a safety. Could be a little more accurate â€“ Arrington pulled of his feet â€“ but Mallett looks like a real quarterback on these back-to-back throws. (CA+, 2, protection 2/2)|
|O42||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||5||Brown||Zone right|
|Good job by Mitchell to get a solid shove on the DT. Moundros(+1) pounds a linebacker back off the LOS as he shoots into the hole; Brown follows him for a pounding five-yard gain.|
|O37||2||5||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Minor||Zone left|
|Schilling asked to reach-block Newkirk, but Newkirk is slanting so hard to the playside he's immediately behind him and has no chance to block anything; Newkirk flows down the line and tackles at the POA. Without his presence this is a six-to-eight yard gain, IMO.|
|Mallett can't find anyone open, but smartly scrambles around pressure to buy time. He motions Mathews to head downfield and lofts up a bomb to him. He's well covered â€“ amazingly well covered, #3 here did a stellar job â€“ but Mathews comes over his back to make a simultaneous catch and pick up the first down. Is Mathews blanketed? Yes. Is this a bad decision? Not really. He didn't have any other options and it's third down. Even if intercepted this is a nice punt. (CA+, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Manningham beats Ikegwuonu, who falls, and jets into the endzone. (CA, 3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown,7-17, 4 min 2nd Q. An 80 yard touchdown drive gives false hope. At this point Mallett looks acceptable; it's almost all downhill from here.|
|M18||1||10||I-Form Twins||Pass||Inc||Manningham||PA Fly|
|Manningham has a step here; Mallett throws it well short and to the inside. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M18||2||10||I-Form Twins||Run||6||Brown||Inside zone|
|Wisconsin only has about six guys in the box here, though they're clearly in zone and two DBs are looking in at the snap, prepared to jump a run. Brown ends up cutting back as the frontside is jammed up. Long(+1) and Kraus(+1) have creased a large area to the play's rear and Butler(+1) has cut of the backside DE. A safety comes up and with no one on the second level it's just him and Brown; theh ole is big enough for Brown to schoot past him and fall forward for a nice gain.|
|UW sends the house â€“ seven guys â€“ getting a corner in unblocked. Mallett throws off his back foot, winging a pass into the sidelines. Manningham was open for the first down. (IN, 0, protection 0/1, team)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-20, 14 min 3rd Q. A Zoltan MIND BULLET on an otherwise crappy day for him gets Michigan the ball back in UW territory.|
|Eight in the box, and we run straight ahead with no zone blocks. Boren(+1) does a good job on Hayden; Kraus gets out on the MLB. Moundros has trouble with another LB attacking hard; Brown's forced to cut up inside instead of head out into open space. The backside DE, unblocked comes into tackle near the LOS. Brown falls forward.|
|Ikegwuonu has this blanketed; this ball should not be thrown. Manningham ends up playing DB. (BR, 1, protection 2/2)|
|O35||7||Shotgun 3-wide||Pen||-5||--||Delay of game|
|Wisconsin rushes three; Hayden is in the path of the throw, leaps, and knocks it down. (BA, 0, protection 1/2, team)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-20, 13 min 3rd Q.|
|Manningham open on the out for about nine, as UW is stacking the box. Thrown to Tacopants. Woo, Tacopants! (IN, 0, protection 2/2).|
|UW still has eight in the box, and this is going nowhere. Hayden breaks free from Boren's(-1) block, taking a swipe at Minor in the backfield but missing. The WLB gets sucked inside too far and Minor manages to get the corner after getting knocked back and jetting out to the sideline. All the RB here.|
|M29||3||1||I-Form Big||Pass||4||Manningham||Long handoff|
|Well, if they're going to play off, sure. Ikegwuonu pissed afterwards. (CA, 3)|
|Way, way, overthrown. Not even Tacopants can get to that one. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M33||2||10||I-Form Twins||Pass||0||Arrington||Long handoff|
|Maybe one too many times to the well.... maybe it's late? Don't know. Henry was pretty far off at the snap. (CA, 3)|
|UW sends the house again; good pickup; Mallett throws it way wide and high to Manningham on an out. Better coverage this time, though. (IN, 0, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-23, 3 min 3rd Q.|
|Hard to tell what happens on this play, as ABC is devoting significant screen space to people doing "Jump Around", but it looks like the usual: tough reach block on the backside, this one Schilling's, does not work and when there's a slight disruption on the frontside fails reach block results in a minimal gain.|
|Excellent pocket, Manningham sort of open but not really, Mallett throws it in the dirt. A commenter wondered if Tacopants had a 2'6" sister named "Tacoskirt." Yes, yes he does. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Mallett picks Manningham out just as he passes the first level in the zone but before the safety can come up and lays it directly in his hands. Carter takes a bad angle, falls, and Manningham is off to the races. Divers alarums. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-23, 13 min 4th Q. Yeah... well. Okay.|
|So a stunt gets Newkirk in and Mallett knows he's going to get crushed. He chucks it up for grabs; it's picked off. Jesus Christ. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, team)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 14-23, 12 min 4th Q. At least that was quick.|
|M14||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||5 + 15||--||Scramble|
|Pocket holds up well, but Mallett can't find anyone. He scrambles out of the pocket, scanning downfield for potential receivers, then decides to take off and get what he can, which is five yards and a late hit penalty. Legit, as there's no reason for Levy to bang helmets with Mallett after he's down. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Manningham is open for a seven or eight yard gain, but Mallett throws it way too far downfield. It's almost intercepted; Manningham, going for the ball, bangs into the DB and the ball falls to the turf. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|M34||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||PA Wheel|
|Mathews actually lined up as a TE, albeit off the LOS; he runs a wheel route that gets wide open against Levy and could be a 15-20 yard gain. Mallett loops it but throws it short, Mathews can't dig it out. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|A blitz/stunt gets a UW guy loose right up the middle. Mallett is sack-- OH GOD WHAT ARE YOU-- RUN, CARSON, RUN! (Uh... N/A, N/A, 0/2, team)|
|Manningham beats Ikegwuonu this time and Mallett finds him between levels in the zone; Manningham drops it. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|50||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc +10||Arrington||Improvisation|
|Levy blitzes around the edge; Mallett steps up and starts rolling out. He doesn't really have to roll out, as there's a nice pocket, but maybe it's good to get away from Levy. He finds Arrington open but throws it in the turf. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Manningham was mugged by Ikegwuonu; holding call.|
|Should be a simple pitch and catch, but Mallett throws it a bit low. Not so low that it's an impossible catch; Arrington overreacts to it a bit and manages to get under it, eventually dropping the ball. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|UW only rushes three, which simplifies things; huge holes everywhere in the line. Long(+2) helps out by completely obliterating his guy, kicking him all the way to the other side of the field and making it really obvious where Minor soult go. Butler kinda whiffs on his block but the player in question is forced to head outside; Minor cuts up smartly and into the secondary.|
|Beautiful pocket; Mallett loads up and goes for the endzone. Ikegwuonu is in better postion than Manningham and makes su
re the pass is incomplete. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
|Wisconsin sends the house; seven players cross the line â€“ I've almost never seen a game with this many crazy-ass blitzes on both sides â€“ and one gets through up the middle after a stunt. Mallett finds Arrington on a corner route but throws it too long. I... well. It's (IN, 0, protection 1/3, team), but that's admittedly harsh.|
|UW obviously just rushing three with eight guys nowhere near the LOS. Mallett drops back in a nice pocket and throws to Arrington, who separates from the DB and lays out to catch a perfect throw. (DO, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-23, 7 min 4th Q. Is this not the least impressive 86 yard touchdown drive you've ever seen?|
|Nearly picked off by Casillas as I think Butler was supposed to get a bit of a pick on his zone drop and did not. Mallett's throw is a little behind Arrington, so it's a completion instead of a pick six. BR? CA? Dunno. Benefit of the doubt. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Boren(-1) driven back by Hayden; no holes. UW had a seventh guy in the box here... Mallett probably should have checked off.|
|Butler(-2) gets beaten by the DE and flagged for holding; Mallett moves up into the pocket, then starts scrambling around like a madman, eventually taking an enormous loss and attempting to hurl the ball to Minor underhand as he gets sacked. (BR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Thrown directly to Ikegwuonu. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 21-23, 4 min 4th Q. Oy.|
|The Mallett dumpoff this ref decides is a sack because he doesn't like the cut of our young man's jib. Mallett was in trouble because Schilling(-2) was humilliatingly thrown to the ground by a linebacker and woop guys on top of him. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Dropped. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Mallett steps up, finding Arrington just in front of a safety, but the safety lunges to break it up. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Actually open and a quasi-decent throw, just too long. Mathews lays out but can't make a near impossible catch. (CA-, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-30, 2 min 4th Q. Charting ceases.|
This guy was Mr. Super Fun Awesome Guy out of high school?
Yes. Evidently. We should really check the--
We busted out a similar disclaimer during Henne's 2005 nadir: four of Mallett's CAs were long handoffs. When he went, or rather attempted to go, downfield the results were awful: 12 good (CA + DO) results and 19 bad ones (IN + BR + TA), a 38% success rate.
So, was this the worst game by a QB in UFR history?
Yes. The previous gold standard was the 2005 Wisconsin game in which Henne had a whopping 11 INs and the legend of Tacopants really began to take off. But even in that game Henne's ratio was 10:14, a 41% success rate. Before 2005 things get murky and are not backed up by nice numbers, but it was probably the worst performance by a Michigan quarterback since Navarre gave away the 2001 OSU game, and even that was more a spate of hideously bad intercept
ions than Mallett's relentless series of bad reads and inaccuracy.
This is where the mitigation goes: yes, he's a true freshman and yes he has an enormously high ceiling. I still love his pocket awareness, his feel for moving away from pressure (most of the time), and his rocket arm. I am not suggesting that Mallett is destined for failure. It's just that at the moment he sucks real bad. He's going to have to work his ass off to hold off Steven Threet, and I say that having never seen Threet do anything at all.
Maybe Mallet was just under seige?
To some extent, okay. Yes. Protection numbers:
Protection: 55/69. Boren -1, Kraus -1, Butler -2, Schilling -2, Team -8.
I know a huge number for "team" is unsatisfying, but I could not assign blame for many of the stunt screwups, partially because many of the shots were wide-angle and picking out exactly what happened was difficult.
Anyway, the blocking grades out at 80%, not great, but it wasn't last week versus MSU. Mallet had a decent amount of time and when he didn't it was usually because Wisconsin was bringing a huge rush.
Arrington gets in on the parade of uncatchable balls this week; the rest of it is about as you might expect, with a couple of unusual drops from the main guys but in limited opportunities to prove they can catch routine balls.
Hey, how about that Debord!
I will give him this: his playcalling was relatively diverse and did not put Mallett in a position to fail; this was all on him. It was kinda shocking, actually, but in retrospect Michigan got down 10-0 right away and played the entire game from behind, so out came the scoring offense even with the freshman quarterback going FAIL FAIL FAIL. If you ever needed proof that Michigan thinks a diversified offense with a fairly even run/pass split on first down is the best way to score and deliberately chooses something else whenever they can, this game was it.
Uh... Mallett. Yes. I think so.
Oh, lord. I actually though Brown did a fine job taking what was given him on his limited rushing opportunities. Moundros got a couple nice blocks, and Long was a rock as per usual.
What does it mean for Ohio State?
Hopefully damn near nothing. If Mallett plays, we lose. If Hart does not play, we probably lose.
Other than that obvious conclusion, at this point we know the zone running game is highly susceptible to getting overplayed when we use it so much; maybe the precious counter trap or just plain zone counter will re-emerge to give Buckeye DL something to think about. Ohio State fans are very nervous about their starting DTs but our run game will allow their slight but relatively quick guys to penetrate without having to worry about taking on a drive block; unless Hart pulls some magic out expect another disappointing performance.
Schilling did okay, but after last week's severe troubles with the Sackmaster it's clear Schilling-Gholston is this year's biggest individual mismatch in The Game. I am not optimistic.