that makes one of us
Back in August I posted a Stock Watch article on the teams I thought where significantly over or under valued entering the season. In the spirit of accountability here they are again with appropriate amounts of gloating and denial as to their accuracy.
Like Buying Pre-Ipod Apple Stock
Underrated: Ohio State, Notre Dame,
Overrated: Michigan State, LSU, West Virginia, Arkansas
For all three of Michigan’s main rivals, I thought the season would deviate from preseason conventional wisdom and for all three I was surprisingly dead on. All three of them were pushed to extra limits of their deviation due to some extreme luck/variance but all predictions proved true. This is what I had to say entering the season:
Their defense will keep them afloat but unless Michigan St breaks in a new crew on offense at an unprecedented rate, the offense will be this team’s limiting reagent.
If the bounces go Notre Dame’s way this season they have a shot to be a top-10 team.
The Buckeyes are set up for Urban to get credit for an upswing they probably would have had anyway, but it will probably take some significant first year growing pains to keep Ohio from a great theoretical bowl game.
Like the BCS Championship Game.
I correctly pegged LSU to be good but largely out of the title picture, West Virginia’s defense to be a tire fire and Arkansas to be an out and out disaster.
Like Buying Enron Stock in the Summer of 2000
Underrated: Texas, Missouri, Tennessee
Overrated: Kansas State
Texas was the most consistently great team of the 2000’s but the 2010’s have been a different story. I predicted a return to the past glory but with three consecutive data points now, I think its finally time for me to admit that Texas ain’t what it used to be.
I thought Missouri and Tennessee could break into the middle of the SEC this season but between the two of them they finished with two fewer SEC wins than Vanderbilt and Tennessee saw its orange-pant clad coach on the outs.
Never bet against Bill Snyder, never bet against Bill Snyder. Living in Kansas most of my life I should have known better. I thought this year’s squad would be better but have a worse record than last year’s lucky team but I was only half right. The Wildcats were substantially better and came within a rough night in Waco of playing for their first national title.
Like Cash Stuck Under the Mattress
Overrated: South Carolina, Boise State
Both of these teams essentially finished about were they were predicted to.
In Hail To The Victors I predicted 9-3 (6-2). The numbers behind were more in the 8.5 range. That seems about right. Michigan finished within the low end of the range that I (and I think many others) expected entering the year.
Outback Bowl Thoughts
A lot of big swing plays (obviously)
The biggest plays of the game:
1. –67% Thompson to Ellington for the game winner
2. +42% Gardner to Gallon to give Michigan the lead late in the fourth quarter
3. –27% Clowney
4. +20% Connor Shaw sacked to give South Carolina 3rd and 10 on their final drive
5. +19% Craig Roh stops Dylan Thompson for one yard in the final minute
6. –17% Michigan fails to convert the final two point attempt
7. –17% Shaw hits Sanders for a 31 yard touchdown
8. –15% Thompson to Byrd picks up a first down right before the final touchdown
9. –13% Nick Jones is brought down at the 4 after a 70 yard completion in the second quarter
10. +12% Michigan blocks a 42 yard field goal attempt
As you can see from the chart above, there are a lot of big drops and a lot of slow climbs. In some ways this was the reverse of what a lot of us expected. Going in the conventional wisdom was that Michigan might hit some big plays but would be unable to sustain drives. In fact, South Carolina churned out big plays all game long while Michigan put together several nice drives.
Denard Robinson: +1 EV and +0% WPA on 24 plays
Devin Gardner: +7, 58% on 48 plays
Jeremy Gallon: +7, +53% on 17 targets (8.5 yards/target)
Connor Shaw: +11, +27%, 36 plays
Dylan Thompson: +8, +67%, 12 plays
Ace Sanders: +8, +30%, 9 plays (+5, +10% on three punt returns)
I really thought Sanders should have gotten game MVP.
Game Theory Note
I really didn’t like going for two in the third quarter. With that much time left there are too many scenarios where losing that point can come back to get you. While the touchdown alleviated the direct impact of the eventual loss of two points, I think its entirely possible Mattison’s approach changes knowing that a field goal would only tie the game on the final drive.
I’ll get deeper into the numbers throughout the offseason but here are some key areas I see for next season:
- Schedule. No Alabama. All other losses from this season are home games in 2013.
- Not breaking in a new quarterback. Michigan is in the rare situation where they lose a three year starter but are able to transition to an experienced replacement. Definitely a silver lining for this season.
- Key returners outweigh losses. Denard and Lewan will certainly be losses, but its hard to pick a position group that will be worse in 2013 than 2012.
- Borges unleashed. I still have some major reservations about him, but being more in his comfort zone can only be a good thing.
- Quarterback depth. If Devin struggles or gets hurt it becomes very scary. We all have high hopes for Shane Morris, but I’ll have a post later this year showing the total lack of success from true freshman quarterbacks.
- Final year of Rodriguez recruiting/attrition mess. A lot of the high level metrics see next year at a similar level to this one in terms of talent with 2014 being the year that the Hoke era really begins in terms of upper class recruits.
- Offensive line. They’re gonna be young.
Hit up the comments or twitter if there is anything you would like to see from these posts over the course of the off-season.
I’ve been a very vocal opponent of all the Uniformz that we’ve seen the football team break out over the years, and since we’ve seen some hockey successes (and failures) and there’s now talk about basketball “special” unis, and well… I don’t have a lawn, but I do have a suggestion.
Many have noted that we’ve got history and tradition that very few schools can match. With the demand for more revenue from the AD (for new… everythings) some of us have accepted “alternate” jerseys as inevitable. I think that we can have alternate jerseys and they CAN be successful and they CAN look good. Remember, it’s not about being new, fresh, etc. it’s about selling more jerseys. Best way to do that without looking like clowns? History.
Home Blues are untouchable. The UTL jerseys sold well, and looked good on the players, but frankly the ones for sale to the public look awful. Sleeves are too long/too many stripes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
HOWEVA, I’d be fine with Adidas tweaking the road jersey just about annually, it's changed a bunch over the years. I didn’t mind the look of last year’s Sugar Bowl jersey, but I didn’t like that it was our 6thlook in the same year.
ALSO, we should have some historical, REAL, throwback alternates that can be in the rotation for road/bowl games. DB wants to sell other jerseys? Offer these bad boys and wear them:
Bam. Problem solved. There are white alternates for our next 3 years. They even look like Michigan Jerseys! If Brandon thinks he can sell jerseys because we wore them when we were team “coconut shrimp”, he better believe that we can sell the jerseys we wore when we won the ’97 MNC.
This came up in the BBall Uniformz thread http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/basketball-uniformsz-watch-sunday-against-io..., but we’ve worn some good ones in the past. The Fab 5 shorts. The ’89 large block M Michigan blues, etc. Bam, we’ve got 5 basketball jerseys to sell.
- why aren't these in the rotation and for sale?
We’ve tried enough combos here that we should know what works. Try a new one occasionally (the Big Chill ones that didn’t have giant Arbys logos looked OK) but remember what you’ve got to draw from. I for one have ALWAYS wanted a “tournament” jersey with the script Michigan.
If the AD wants to sell jerseys, why aren’t they selling those!?!?!
Block Ms in every color worked, we’ve got the Rangers style Maize, plus the Red Era arc Michigan.
We’ve got good options to choose from in all 3 major sports that we've worn in the past. Change up a jersey a sport (bball change the blues one year, hockey try a new Maize, etc.) to see if we hit a new combo that works, but enough of the special edition one-offs that look like nothing we've ever worn. Let’s use some of these good looking old jerseys as alternates. I'd bet the AD will sell a few too.
This is my first diary, so here goes nothing.
As you all know, the new divisional alignment in the Big Ten will depend mainly on the following two factors: geography, and competitive balance. This diary will attempt to evaluate each of the proposed divisional alignments on the BTN survey based on geography.
I have created a spreadsheet that contains the travel distances from each school in the Big Ten to every other school in an effort to see which divisional alignment is best in terms of travel distance. I used Google Maps directions to obtain the distances. I know that teams fly if the distance is over a certain amount, and therefore these distances may not be useful in some instances, but this can give you an idea of the travel costs for each team.
Here are the straight up distances, along with average distance to other schools for each team:
Here is a list and description of things I will be looking at:
Avg Division Travel (ADT) - Average distance from a school to each of the other schools in the same division
Avg Crossover Travel (ACT) - Average distance from a school to each of the schools in the opposite division
Composite Avg - [(2/3*ADT)+(1/3*ACT)] The thought here is that in a 9 game conference schedule, 2/3 of the games will consist of divisional games, and 1/3 will consist of crossover games. This value attempts to compute the average travel distance for each away game in the conference.
Average Outer - This is a critical stat for comparing the amount of travel in each divisional layout. This value is the average traveling distance to an away game for one of the schools that would be in the Inner-Outer divisional layout. These schools will typically have the longest travel since they are located on the outskirts of the Big Ten footprint. Making travel a little easier for these schools should be an objective.
Average All - This is the average of the Composite Average for each school in the Big Ten
Now, let's look at the divisions:
|Avg Division Travel||375||365||436||448||446||588||658||396||352||498||340||507||840||668|
|Avg Crossover Travel||398||460||493||363||379||697||777||349||476||635||405||382||518||820|
|Avg Division Travel||295||465||263||350||389||410||480||267||320||357||331||265||425||498|
|Avg Crossover Travel||467||375||641||447||428||850||929||460||503||756||413||589||873||966|
|Avg Division Travel||230||233||574||247||245||713||844||236||263||531||194||569||746||804|
|Avg Crossover Travel||522||573||374||535||552||590||659||487||507||497||530||329||598||703|
So, what did we find? You can tell right away that the Existing +1 divsion setup is the worst in terms of geography. The average away game will be 500 miles on the dot from the traveling team's campus. The Outer teams will have to travel an average of 600 miles to opposing teams' campuses.
The East-West setup improves things a bit, which is an intuitive result. The average away game is 451 miles for each Big Ten team.
The Inner Outer setup is less improved, but somewhat surprising is the fact that it is a little better than the current setup. This is because while the Outer Division will have to travel very far for half of its division games, the crossover games won't be very far in most cases. The Inner Division will rarely have to travel very far.The average away game is 484 miles from campus.
Overall, I think the Inner-Outer setup provides the best competitive balance, and it improves upon the current divisional setup in terms of geography. Inner-Outer gets my vote, and it already seems to be the most popular amongst mgobloggers.
(Click the image to view full size)
The game is what it is. We can't change the results-- but I was really thinkin' we'd pull that one out. Hats off to the seniors for fighting so hard and giving so much... your stories deserve a better ending. It's also worth noting how the Michigan fan base is so willing to appreciate talent and OMG HE JUST TOOK VINCE'S HEAD OFF aspect of the game, even when it's the opposition.
Tomorrow I will unveil what is likely the final drawing I'll ever do of a young man from Deerfield Beach. If I do say so, it's a special one-- don't miss it.
Some new formatting news for the New Year:
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Wednesday here at MGoBlog and on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out the Friday Funnies, my weekly single panel comic based on trending Michigan events, available on Twitter and the home page every Friday.
Some time back, I created a small diary (click here to see it) which broke down the wins and losses of UM coaches in the modern era. The gist of it was simple: group wins and losses based on the size of the margin of victory or loss, and see what happens.
A few things stood out from that earlier post:
- Bo's first six years were ridiculous. His teams almost never lost! We'll likely never see a run like that again.
- Carr and Mo were quite comparable to the rest of Bo's career (excluding those six magical seasons).
- Carr's (very) slight atrophying was showing up in a few more close wins than what had been the norm.
Although I wanted to wait a few more years to do this, well, boredom set in, and thus again you get the Graph(TM), with Hoke's first two years included:
The graph breaks down each year into seven different groups: big wins (by 15 or more), medium wins (by 8-14), close wins (by 7 or less), ties (from when these used to occur), and close, medium, and big losses (the same margins apply).
There is also a summary graph for each coach (again breaking Bo into two groups, the first six years and the rest):
Cutting to the chase, we can observe the following:
- Hoke has restored one big part of the Michigan Expectation: a large number of relatively easy wins (dark blue part of the bar). Indeed, he already has 13 of these comfortable victories in just two years; RichRod had only 6 in three years.
- Hoke's current win percentage is in the expected ballpark (around .730, just short of the .750 we saw for Bo after '74, Mo, and Carr).
- Hoke isn't getting blown out a lot (also unlike the RichRod era, alas); an actual defense helps with this.
- Hoke's "close win" percentage is more like Carr's; a sign of the times, or a hint at future troubles?
Of course, all of this is quite premature, and the next few years will help us better understand how the Hoke era will likely proceed. And while 8-5 is OK in a given year, it is clearly not OK in the long run (at least, given the expectations we all have from decades of winning). Thus, as Hoke builds the team into his vision of Michigan Football, will he achieve at the level of Coach Carr (five seasons with at least ten wins, including one Mythic National Championship)? Will he continue to win the games we "should" win by large amounts? Will he secure his fair share of Big Ten Championships? Or (dare I hope) will he put together a run unseen since the legendary early days of Bo? Only time will tell.
My own feelings: having a real defense makes it all possible; stout defense makes most tough games close, and easier games into blowouts. If the offense starts to click, and "Good Borges" becomes the only Borges we see (particularly as the "right" parts are brought in via recruiting), it seems like Hoke is on his way to a successful career at UM.
What are your thoughts?
I will start my final diary of this season by thanking Dave Brandon for another "Wow" moment. He really went retro with the throwback uniforms, to a time before jerseys had numbers. Wait, there were numbers on those uniforms? One of the first things you learn when you start preparing powerpoint charts is don't use a yellow font color on a white background. (Another thing is make your fonts large enough for your audience to see them - and yes, this is a reference to the mini-numbers on the front of the UTL jerseys.)I would have thought that a marketing genius would know that. Maybe if they had made the blue border a little wider, the number would have stood out, or at least been visible. I think the problem was getting into business with Adidas in the first place. My wife bought me a couple pair of sweatpants for Christmas, because it gets cold at the Badminton Club in January. They were made by Adidas and the tags called them, "Weekender Pants." I tried on a pair and had a strange urge to move to Florida and start playing shuffleboard. In keeping with the SitCom theme of the season, I'll share a quote from Seinfeld regarding sweatpants, "You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world, 'I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'" That sums up Adidas and our "wow" jerseys.
Burst of Impetus
* I didn't take notes during the game, so I was sitting here trying to remember what big plays Michigan made to grab the momentum. Then it hit me, we didn't make any. All the big plays were made by South Carolina. Ojemudia did force a fumble, but that was about it. Wile's 52 yard field goal was a nice shot in the arm and set us up for a dramatic fourth quarter. Our longest run was 19 yards and our longest reception was 26 yards. Meanwhile, both USC QBs had passes greater than 50 yards and one had a 64 yard run.
* Subtract the three long plays and our defense held SC to 236 yards on 50 plays. (Subtract the punt return and our Special Teams were pretty good as well.)
* Quoting me after game 1, "We held Bama to only 431 yards. They may be the best offense we face all year. If we can hold everyone else under 431, I’ll be happy." USC gained 426 yards. Am I happy? No, because we lost the game.
* We had been playing with fire all season against shaky B1G QBs. We saw what competent QBs can do against 2nd string CBs, and even then, we almost pulled it out. One more bobble on the Sanders TD and that comes back and then who knows?
* So the question is, why did we give up the big plays when we had been so good at avoiding those all season? Was it really the poor B1G QBs? Or was it the loss of JT Floyd?
* Gordon led us in tackles with 6. Ryan was next with 4. The defense was not on the field very much and the stats reflect that.
* We did manage 7 TFLs on USC's 53 plays. I'll take more of that next season.
* Demens only had 1 tackle. Campbell had 0 (did he play?) and Floyd didn't play. That's three of our five defensive leaders contributing one tackle total.
* Denard carried 23 times for 100 yards. He threw once incomplete. It was nice of USC to respect his passing ability (except for the 2nd failed 2pt conversion attempt.) Did they even bother to scout us? He also caught one pass for 7 yards.
* I don't really read Bill Simmons or Grantland anymore. But one of his "things" is the Ewing Theory. In brief, it states that teams can surprise you by winning AFTER the major star leaves the team. Think of Tennessee winning the National Championship with Tee Martin after Manning graduated. Secretly, in a tiny portion of my brain, way back where my repressed memories lie, I'm hoping that Denard is the next Ewing Theory example and Gardner leads us to the promised land next season.
* Let's hope Gardner develops some chemistry with another receiver besides Gallon. Might I suggest Funchess? Half of Gardner's 18 completions went to Gallon.
Bunches of Funchess
* Gallon had 9 receptions for 145 yards and 2 TDs. He would have been the player of the game had Michigan made a stop on USC's final drive.
And Justice for Rawls
* I noticed one of SC's O-linemen had a tattoo that read, "Justice IV All." Justice Hayes ran twice for 3 yards. Rawls didn't carry the ball.
Norf and Souf
* Norfleet returned one kick for 32 yards and made a tackle. I like his enthusiasm, but I'm worried one of these days he's going to get hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. One of the bigger questions of this off-season is going to be what they do with him, position-wise. Vincent Smith needs to be replaced.
* OK, I do have a section devoted to the referees, so I guess I have to comment on our 9.99 yard first down. There are only three possible explanations. One, the chain is 10 yards, so the ball only needs to get to the end of the chain, not the linky thing on the yard-marker. Two, the official thought the yard marker was leaning out of the way and if it had been upright, it would have touched the ball. (I'm really straining as a Michigan homer to justify that call.) Three, it was a glitch in the Matrix. Did you all check the back of your necks for the data ports like I did after that play? Slight tangent, if the Matrix had been made today, I think they would be able to replace all those huge connectors with one fiber optic cable up your nose, or possibly a wireless link. Man, how technology has evolved over the years.
* I really couldn't understand the refs, and then it hit me, half of the group had bet on Michigan to cover the spread, and half had bet on USC to win outright, so they compromised and worked it out so that SC could win by 5. What else could explain the head referee COVERING HIS MOUTH while he discussed a play with the other refs. I felt like I was watching the WWE. What are you hiding?
* We had 24 first downs to their 17, and 38 minutes TOP to their 22. This was like the Indiana game a few years ago, except we were Indiana. We were grinding it out, 10 yards at a time. The problem with that is you need to be perfect. Any little holding penalty or hands-to-the-face penalty stops your drive.
* Time of possession was 10+ minutes for Michigan in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters, but only 6:31 in the 4th quarter. Instead of tiring out their defense, I guess our offense got tired.
* Net yards rushing, M: 141, SC: 85. That usually correlates with a victory, but being -1 in TO margin and giving up the punt return TD negates that advantage.
* Clowney had 4 tackles, two TFLs, and the hit that SportsCenter is showing on a continuous loop. It must suck being an O-linemen. You stop a guy for 81 plays, have a miscommunication on the 82nd, and the D-linemen ends up on all the highlight shows and gets picked first overall in the draft next year. I'm sure Lewan and Clowney will meet again at the next level. Those are two outstanding football players. I wanted Muppets, but all I got was Bozo the Clowney.
Thanks to everybody who clicked on my Diary this season, even if it was just to get a handy link to the boxscore. Happy New Year, MGoFriends.