We are recording live at 333 S. Main Street, the Bo Store, on this, the 10th anniversary of Football Armageddon. Seth is filling in for an under-the-weather Ace, whom we’ll call in for some hoops later. Come down, bring beer if you like, and pull up chair. Put reader questions in the comments and we’ll try to get to them.
Special guest today: Steve Lorenz of 247Sports
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|WHAT||Indiana at Michigan|
Ann Arbor, MI
November 19th, 2016
|THE LINE||Michigan –24|
|WEATHER||overcast, mid-30s, significant sleet chance|
We thought we'd lost #chaosteam about midway through the season, when Indiana settled into a middling team with a good defense and iffy offense. And then:
fumble on kickoff
blocked FG x2
I'm just a safety away from getting a Bad Football BINGO.
— Punt John Punt (@PuntJohnPunt) November 5, 2016
Indiana trailed Rutgers for a large portion of that game before the Hoosiers managed to cobble together enough plays that weren't fiascos to edge the Cable Subscribers; the next week Indiana led top-ten Penn State in the fourth quarter of a game that ended up much closer than the 45-31 final would suggest. (PSU got a scoop-and-score as Indiana attempted to drive for the tie.)
#chaos, man. I have a Morrissey song for this.
I HAVE A MORRISSEY SONG FOR EVERYTHING
Run Offense vs Indiana
So here's a weird thing: Indiana is a legitimately good rushing defense. They held Saquon Barkley and Penn State to 1.7 yards a carry last week.
I'm sorry. I should have warned you I was going to say that. Are you okay? It's just a bump. You'll be fine.
Anyway: three teams have managed to crack 4 YPC against the Hoosiers: MSU (4.3 YPC), OSU (5.8), and Maryland (5.4). The latter two are highly legit rushing offenses. MSU is... uh... not. They've held everyone else to mediocre days or worse, with their most recent effort the thing that caused you to fall and hit your head moments ago.
How? Well, they added a new defensive coordinator and have a deep fleet of defensive linemen, none of whom out-and-out suck. Nobody can rush the passer much but the worst run grade amongst the eight DL with more than 100 snaps is –2.3, and they have a gentleman named Ralph Green who is a legitimately good run defender as a 305-pound DT. In addition, IU's two LBs—they run a 4-2-5 are suddenly very good. Tegray Scales and Marcus Oliver are both undersized guys who get a lot of protection from the DL, which is almost solely concerned with occupying OL and preventing downfield releases. This allows one or the other to be a free, gap-shooting hitter most of the time. Both guys excel in that role. They have nearly 20 TFLs between them.
Indiana's struggled against the two of the three read option teams* they've gone up against as those offenses can re-balance those numbers and then it's about Indiana getting off a block, something they're not great at. Penn State's inability to do anything stands out as a potential adjustment they've made. Michigan's ability to go read option with John O'Korn is an open question, and even if they want to the OSU game looms. It'll be more of the same from Michigan, with a ton of big formations as Michigan attempts to get a hat on everyone in the front seven and blow out the undersized back seven of Indiana.
That should be reasonably successful if the MSU game is any indicator. All three of MSU's backs had solid 5+ YPC averages on the ground, and no other team on Indiana's schedule is particularly close to the TE/FB heavy manball MSU runs out. Nebraska is the closest thing, and this year they're not particularly close.
Michigan can add guys to the box and force guys other than Scales and Oliver to make the play, and should exceed expectations if you were to just look at the numbers. It won't be a blowout; I don't expect a repeat of the Iowa game, for many reasons.
KEY MATCHUP: DE'VEON SMITH versus THE FISHING VILLAGE. This should be a good matchup for Smith, who is capable of running through tackles of just about everyone in the Indiana back seven.
[Hit THE JUMP for OH MAN THIS LINE against MICHIGAN'S DL is a THING I SAY EVERY WEEK NOW]
This is going to be short because I'm on enough cold medication that I can barely spell my own name. You've been forewarned.
Weekend Visitors: Wilson, Reitmaier Headline IU Game
247's Steve Lorenz has graciously posted this weekend's visitor list for free. Official visits of note:
Top-100 NY OT Isaiah Wilson is already on campus. Lorenz says there is "considerable optimism" on the Michigan end of things from a source close to his recruitment.
Three-star TN DT Rutger Reitmaier is an Oregon commit, which should make Michigan look enticing by comparison. His father didn't downplay the chance of a flip at all when talking to 247's Steve Wiltfong:
Reitmaier's father Rik was recently on the Michigan campus and says the Maize and Blue have a shot here.
"Now Oregon is the leader but I think once he sees Michigan and the coaches, he really likes (Greg) Mattison, They have an opportunity to showcase their program" the elder Reitmaier said. "I was up there a couple of weeks ago, my youngest son plays travel hockey, and (Jim) Harbaugh invited me to meet with him. I was impressed with him and the coaches I met."
Three-star GA FB Tory Carter, an LSU commit, will take his long-awaited official along with high school teammate and 2018 Michigan commit Otis Reese. Michigan also hosts three-star Notre Dame CB commit Elijah Hicks, though his coach makes it sound like a change of heart is exceedingly unlikely.
Five-star MS RB Cam Akers, who's always been considered a longshot, cancelled his planned visit. Unless Michigan makes an unexpected move for USC commit Stephen Carr, it's Najee Harris or stand pat at running back.
Several commits and a handful of 2018 prospects will also be in Ann Arbor. Check out Steve's post for the full list.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
SPONSOR NOTES: Here is an article about a rate hike "relatively soon," and it's not from Macedonian teenagers. Those Macedonians teens, always with their incorrect news hijinks and saying WHAT ARE THOOOSE in Macedonian. Anyway, now is a good time to get a loan, and later will be a less good time.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: Michigan may have had two "deep" safeties, but they were not very deep. This was MSU-level #disrespekt for Iowa's ability to punish Michigan over the top, and this was a relatively conservative safety deployment for M in this game.
One guy would generally bail while the other shot into the line of scrimmage. Michigan also used its safeties as SAM linebackers with some regularity. Here Peppers is over the slot and Thomas is tight to the LOS to the bottom of the shot:
Also sometimes I hate directors. This is a presnap shot on third and six.
There is more than the usual sprinkling of ??? in this chart because of things like this.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Massively reduced rotation. Save an injured Delano Hill the back seven got literally every snap, of which there were 68. Taco Charlton did not leave the field; Wormley only rested on four snaps; Glasgow got 50. Hurst and Godin split snaps about down the middle again; Hurst had a slight edge with 30 to Godin's 24.
Kinnel got 23 snaps as Hill's replacement. Spare parts included Mone(15 snaps), Gary (9), Winovich (3), Lavert Hill(6), and Brandon Watson(3).
[After THE JUMP: [very Kirk voice] WAAAAAAAADLEY]
Fine we’ll bring this back. Don’t skip the tiebreaker.
How this works again:
- Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-0" or "35-0 Michigan", or "28-0 Go Blue", or "42-0 Harbaugh!" etc.
- The three guys who read this part holler at people who post in a different format
- First person (by timestamp) to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, I contact you for an address by your MGoBlog account email, and you give me some time to get that to you.
- If nobody got it right or I don't hear from the winner(s) we push it to next week or let it go.
This Week’s Game:
Michigan vs. Indiana, football edition.
And on the line:
Our friends at the Michigan History Project put together a photographical coffee table book that you’re not allowed to not have anymore. Throw out the one about seashells; nobody’s ever going to open it anyway.
TIEBREAKER: We really want to give one of these away so if nobody gets the score it’ll go to whomever can name the most people in this photo:
No fair reading other peoples’ answers.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. The algorithm finds the winners as it chooses. The algorithm is self-correcting. The algorithm asked Jeeves! The algorithm is from Jersey, but escaped. The algorithm has everything on the table.
We should have known from the start. Ace and I got dropped off at the northeast corner of Kinnick with a simple task: get the parking pass and credentials. We picked up the envelope, untangled the strings on our credentials, and found precisely zero things that were definitely or even slightly resembled a parking pass. We now needed the guys to somehow turn around and come pick us up without bringing traffic to a screeching halt, and from there we needed to go to the parking garage and hope they’d accept the email that said we were approved for parking.
Ace and I crossed the street to wait and ran into Kelly and Jacob, two of The Daily’s beat writers. They were looking for a missing co-worker. Hindsight’s 20/20, but it should have been obvious in that moment that there were four Michigan media members on a corner and not a single thing going right for any of them, and that ended up serving as an omen for the night. We then dove into the van as the guys drove up, pulled up to the parking garage, and were shut down by the attendant. And the one in the next lot. And the one in the lot after that.
We ended up parking behind the equivalent of a coney on the outskirts of campus, running out of time to go to Demorest’s tailgate, and one of us slipped and fell partially down a hill while making fun of someone’s taste in music. It was me. I fell down a hill.
I didn’t notice the blinking neon “Hey, I’m a metaphor and something’s not right here” sign, and a lot of that is because you can usually count on nine games worth of data to be somewhat predictive. According to Football Study Hall, Iowa went into the game with a 5% win probability. They then forced Michigan’s offense into far and away their worst performance of the season en route to a bizarre, special teams-fueled upset. With game and cumulative numbers in hand, we can see how big an impact one bad game has while also preliminarily judging how predictive the performance was.
[Hit THE JUMP to find out how off Michigan’s offense was according to S&P+ and FEI, and a quick look at Indiana’s advanced stats]