this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Last week UMgradMSUdad went over B1G football against the spread for the first week. He had commented "But if anybody else is interested in doing it, I say go for it." So I did. If you'd like anything else tracked, let me know and I will consider it. Unless it's tracking the top-25, I don't believe I'll put time/effort into that. Any top 25 team that's relevant to Michigan will be tracked, given they're in our conference.
I Bet You $20 I Can Get You Gambling By the End of the Day
|Week 1||Week 2|
|Michigan||-34.5||-31.5||59-9 (CMU)||+18.5||-4||-5||41-30 (ND)||+6|
|Ohio||-35||-34||40-20 (Buff)||-14||-28.5||-28||42-7 (SDSU)||+7|
|Michigan St||-27||-28||26-13 (WMU)||-15||-24.5||-21.5||21-6 (USF)||-6.5|
|Indiana||-24||-25||73-35 (Ind St)||+13||-14||-12.5||35-41 (Navy)||-18.5|
|Illinois||-24||-17||42-34 (So Ill)||-9||+7.5||+8||45-17 (Cinci)||+36|
|Northwestern||-3||-6.5||44-30 (@Cal)||+7.5||-16||-17||48-27 (Syr)||+4|
|Penn State||-7||-8||23-17 (Syr)||-2||-24.5||-28||45-7 (EMU)||+10|
|Nebraska||-27||-31||37-34 (Wyo)||-28||-31||-28||56-13 (S Miss)||+15|
|Iowa||-3||-3||27-30 (N Ill)||-6||-24||-26||28-14 (Misso St)||-12|
|Wisconsin||-44||-44||45-0 (UMass)||+1||-45||-45||48-0 (Tenn Tech)||+3|
|Purdue||+7.5||+10.5||7-42 (Cinci)||-24.5||-17||-17||20-14 (Ind St)||-11|
|Minnesota||-14.5||-13.5||51-23 (UNLV)||+14.5||-15||-16||44-21 (N Mex St)||+7|
- The B1G went 8-4 ATS last week, improving on their 5-7 record from the first week.
- As you can see, Michigan has done very well ATS in their first 2 weeks, the best in B1G.
- Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Minessota are the only other B1G teams that are 2-0 ATS.
What about next week? Can't make money on past spreads...
Show Me the Money
|Michigan St||-28||-24/-26||NL||Young St|
- Hoke is 3-1 ATS when playing MAC teams at Michigan, with his only loss coming from beating EMU by 28 with the spread of -28.5.
- Michigan has covered 3 straight games at home.
- Hoke is 11-6 ATS at home.
- Gardner is 5-2 ATS & 6-1 O/U as the starting QB with the last 4 home games going over the total.
- Hoke has been favored at home by over 30 points twice, and covered in both contests.
- Terry Bowden & the Zips were 1-11 last year, but went 6-6 ATS and are 0-2 ATS this year.
- Before last week the Zips had went under the total in 8 straight contests. Last week they went over the total by 13.5 points; looks like they had subs, and it was crazy.
With a total of 57 and a spread of 37, the team totals project to be Michigan (47) and Akron (10). The limits on team totals aren't as lucrative, but I don't see Akron scoring 10 points. Or at least I don't want to see that.
If interested, here are past ATS records for the B1G:
What's your best bet?
This week’s factor favorite (Upchurch)
1. The Six Factors
|Field Pos||Early Conv||Bonus Yds||Avg 3rd Dist||Adj 3rd Conv||Red Zone|
|Offense||15.3 (42)||55% (40)||211 (36)||7.0 (81)||+14% (13)||7.0 (1)|
|Defense||23.4 (80)||41% (30)||145 (35)||5.1 (34)||+8% (75)||3.4 (26)|
*Game score first, season long national rank in ()
Notre Dame had a field position score advantage, mostly thanks to The Worst Pass Ever. Michigan dominated early conversions while more manageable third downs. Brian Kelly teams have traditionally been geared this way, strongly managing third down distance at the expense of facing more of them. Gallon’s big catch a run providing most of the gap in bonus yards as Mattison’s defensive plan limited yards beyond the sticks.
While Michigan continued to be a very good 3rd down team on offense, Notre Dame did well on third down when they had the ball, even beyond the more manageable distances that they faced. The story of the game though was the red zone. Notre Dame made 5 trips into the red zone and came away with 17 points, Michigan made four trips and scored 28. Michigan won by 11.
Two games into the season the national rankings don’t mean much with cupcakes galore and outliers, everywhere. Still, 18 teams have made at least seven trips to the red zone in competitive situations this season, only Michigan and Oklahoma State have scored on every trip. It’s not going to hold up all season, but the evidence is mounting that Gardner is a red zone genius.
It is also amazing that other than Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver and west Texas there are essentially no FBS football recruits between the Pacific coast and I-35. It will be interesting to see what happens with this as geographical boundaries continue to overlap with the ongoing conference expansion.
In the comments I pointed out that this maps on to overall demography. The Mathlete's map of recuits
is not significantly different from the US Census' map of population density by county:
But demography can't explain everything. Some states produce more football talent per capita than others.
Football Study Hall published a blog post today about Where FBS recruits come from, in which they tracked FBS recruits from 2008 to 2013 in raw numbers and per capita (click to their article to see the raw data). Mapped using Google Fusion, the result is the following (click to embiggen):
Map showing FBS recruits per capita by state
This map illustrates the recruiting advantage of the SEC and the South generally: Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida are all well above average in terms of the number of FBS recruits they produce per capita. Texas and Oklahoma are also above average -- and, unfortunately for UT, so is Utah.
The recruiting advantage of Michigan and Ohio
State is also thrown into relief. Although Michigan is below average in the number of football recruits it produces (0.61 recruits per 100k, vs. the national average of 0.75), the state of Ohio is well above average (1.31 recruits per 100k, 9th in the nation), and is of course a consistent and significant source of recruits for UM and OSU.
Nope, Not Déjà Vu:I just sat there in the Big House stunned. I looked over at my two sons (both are in their 30's) and they had that same terrible, horrible, awful look on their faces. THE interception had just happened and I knew we all were thinking exactly the same thing – "Not this again". The comfortable lead had evaporated in less than a few seconds. Would a turnover lead to our doom?
Nope, not this time. Whew!
Synopsis for Turnovers: Here is the overall summary for all games by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game). Michigan's TOM for the game was +1 and for the year it is now zero – ranked #48. Turnovers were not a primary factor in determining which team won the game.
Norfleet fumbled another punt but no other player has fumbled at all which is a great sign. According to the folks at NFL stats total fumbles (not fumbles lost) shows the best correlation to offense performance. But, Gardner threw THE interception, and now has 3 for the year. M is ranked dead last (#125) for interceptions thrown percentage at 7.4% which is the second stat that correlates to offensive performance.
Countess intercepted two passes and M is now ranked #36 with opponent interception thrown percentage of 3.6%. There were no fumbles by ND but M is still ranked #15 for forced fumbles.
National Rankings: All rankings include games between two FBS teams ONLY and are from TeamRankings except for forced fumbles which is from CFBStats. The four columns with *** show the best correlation to offense and defense (per Advanced NFL stats).
For the past few years, I have attempted to create an objective look into conference superiority. I was sick of the SEC love, and felt that I could develop a metric which allowed for an accurate indication of how the conferences stacked up, sans TV contracts, media bandwaggoning, and regional affiliation.
Before, I used a method that assigned points to each conference based on the W/L percentage of the conference they beat, which I called CPR (Conference Power Ranking). The more I picked over it, the more I realized that the CPR had one fatal flaw - beating Purdue was exactly equal to beating Ohio State or Michigan. It assigned the same number of points. My argument was that over the course of a season, those would balance out, but that was a pretty hollow argument.
This year, I've come up with what I consider a better method of tracking conference power, which I have dubbed the MOVE Rating. Sounds sweet, right? That's because a metric is only as good as it's acronym (Margin of Victory Evaluation). Has a nice ring, right?
So what is MOVE? Because of a small sample size (10-20 out of conference games against a BSC Qualifier for each conference), I set out to attempt to make every game an average vs. average scenario. I feel I have achieved this by using the following formula to handicap the games:
-(Team CMARG-Opponent CMARG*) + AM = MOVE POINTS
*expressed as the EM or expected margin
In this formula, CMARG represents a team's "conference margin" (margin of victory, but a negative number represents an average loss) in that school's conference. So To give an example, Michigan's CMARG over B1G schools last year was 16.38. This means that Michigan beat the "average" B1G team by 16.38 points. That formula is simple, add up all the margins of victory, including negatives, and divide by the number of conference games. Instant CMARG! So since Michigan won by 16.38 over the average B1G team and Alabama won by 24.12 over the average SEC team, the EM (expected margin) of that game was Alabama -7.74. The final tally saw Michigan lose by 27.
That is represented by this for Michigan:
-(16.38-24.12) + -27 = -19.26
and this for Alabama:
-(24.12-16.38) + 27 = 19.26
What that boils down to is that the AVERAGE SEC team was 19.26 better than the AVERAGE B1G team, according to the results of that match. This also accounts for bad teams. Por ejamplo, Illinois lost to Arizona State by 31 points. The MOVE Rating on that game saw Illinois lose 0.40 points for the B1G, as Illinois was expected to lose by 30.6 points, the EM on that game. Their CMARG was -23.38, while Arizona State's CMARG was 7.22.
So now that you see a couple of games worth of MOVE ratings, all you have to do is throw all of a conference's MOVE scores in a pot and divide by the total number of games to receive a MOVE rating for the conference. It's important to note that I am only evaluating the 5 auto-qualifying conference at the time being. I may expand my data to the entire FBS if I have enough time.
Now, there are still some flaws to this system. It does consider each conference to be equal, so if your conference plays a bunch of ACC schools, there will be a bit of a uptick in your MOVE as compared to if your conference plays a bunch of SEC schools. I plan to mitigate that in one of two ways - either take all the conference vs. conference MOVE ratings and divide by 4, or by comparing the MOVE rating for each game compared to the opposing conference MOVE rating, find the difference, then assign a "MOVE2" rating. How much did you beat a team by MORE than the average team beat that conference? For the time being, we will just allow the MOVE rating to stand on it's own.
Ready to see some numbers? I decided that to test my system, I would go back to 2012 and plug in all the data. Let's just say I was disappointed with the results.
Here's your first look at actual data. It's listed in decending order by the MOVE scores. What it says is that the SEC is, on average, two touchdowns better than the average AQ team. Yikes. Also notice that aside from the dismal ACC, the B1G did not do well. Not well at all. What happened to me disproving the superiousness of the SEC or the baditude of the B1G? I'll go conference by conference, but first a couple of notes.
GAMES = Number of games played against AQ schools, including bowls.
W% = Win percentage in those games.
MARG = Average margin of victory (or loss) in said games.
MOVE = Average MOVE score in those games.
- Having a MARG that is noticeably higher than your MOVE indicates that, on average, you are sending out your better teams to play against inferior opponents. For the B1G, think the opposite of "Rose Bowl, Illinois vs USC".
- If you add up all the MOVE scores in this chart, it will not equal 0, however if you multiply the GAMES by the MOVE, then divide by the total number of GAMES, it will be close. It does actually 0 out for auditing, but the fractions are rounded, so the number is a bit off.
On to the conferences...
- The ACC looks worse than they actually are, as more than half of their games are against the SEC.
- Their best performance was actually a 9-point Boston College loss to Northwestern. BC was a 22-point dog, as Nortwestern was good and BC lost to a weak ACC by an average of 15.25. They gained 13 points in that matchup, despite walking away with a loss.
- The most out of whack stat? A 7-point Clemson win over Auburn netted an ugly -36. That's because Auburn was a 43-point dog, after being smashed by the SEC and playing a Clemson team that went 7-1 in the ACC for an average CMARG of +19.13.
(As the B1G is our conference, I will go team by team. It's... not pretty.)
Illinois - As mentioned before, Illinois lost by 31, and yet still almost broke even against an undermatched Arizona State team. They netted -0.40 MOVE on the year.
Indiana - Did not play an AQ school all year. Sadly, this made them the B1G's third best performing team, as 9 B1G teams scored a negative MOVE score.
Iowa - Netted a 0.04 for the year for losing by 3 to an Iowa State team that performed only slightly better in the Big 12. They finished second in the entire B1G in MOVE. With a 0.04. Maybe the ESPN talking heads were right...
Michigan - With great power comes... a 16.38 CMARG. This caused us to lose 19.26 points to Bama, and 13.88 points to South Carolina. We were actually 8.88 point favorites in the SCar game, as their CMARG was only 7.5 in the SEC. The problem with being the big boys in a conference is that you have to produce. We did not, even in a close loss to SCar. Our MOVE for the year, fourth worst in the conference with -16.57.
Michigan State - A 1-point win over TCU in their bowl game netted a -1.25 on the year. Both MSU and TCU were very close to average, with MSU gaining a 1.25 CMARG and TCU holding a -1.00 CMARG for the year.
Minnesota - Conference MOVE champion! Minnesota represented the B1G better than any team, by averaging a -10.38 CMARG, while falling to Texas Tech by only 3 points. This gave Minnesota a 1.82 MOVE rating on the year.
Nebraska - In a word, bi-polar. How else do you explain a CMARG of -0.33 while going 7-2 in the B1G? Oh yeah, giving up 70 to Wisconsin and 63 to OSU will do that. But it is worth repeating, Nebraska went 7-2 in the B1G last year and STILL managed to have a negative margin of victory. That's amazing. Overall, they perfomed to expectations in their OOC schedule, losing to UCLA by 6 but gaining a fraction of MOVE (EM was -6.03) and giving a fraction of MOVE to Georgia by losing the bowl game by 14 (EM was -13.56). They finished at -0.21.
Northwestern - Won all three of their games, but due to an un-NW like 5-3 record in conference, gave up -1.33 MOVE. NW exceeded expectations against Vandy and Miss State, but lost -13 MOVE points to BC in their 9-point victory.
Ohio State - The expected margin of the Cal game was 25.25, but they only won by 7. Good for the third worst MOVE in the league, at -18.25.
Penn State - Speaking of bad, PSU gave -21.75 MOVE to Virginia in the 1-point loss. The EM on that game was 20.75. The -21.75 was their total on the year, good for second worst in the B1G.
Purdue - Bad. They managed to go -25.72 on the year by losing to Oklahoma State by 44. Worst in the conference.
Wisconsin - Charitable to the PAC-12. In two losses close losses, they gave double digit MOVE points to both Oregon State and Stanford. Finished with a -10.67 MOVE.
- Second only to the SEC in MOVE. They actually outperformed every conference they went up against, even though they had the average of a 3-point loss to the PAC-12.
- Baylor and Texas led the way with 28.03 and 24.34 MOVE ratings, respectively.
- The low point of the year saw Oklahoma State, a 2-TD CMARG favorite lose to Arizona by 21, good for a -35.11 beatdown. Oklahoma State, clearly concerned about how this would affect their MOVE, then throttled Purdue by 44.
- The MARG was higher than the MOVE for the PAC-12 in each conference they played. This is because bottom feeders Colorado, Washington State, and Utah all played no AQ schools.
- A 2-8 PAC-12 team in Cal lost to OSU by 7, gaining 18.25 points for the PAC-12. The aforemetnioned Arizona was the big winner though, getting 35.11 points for their 3-TD victory over Oklahoma State.
- All (begrudgingly) hail your power conference. The SEC was 12-5 against AQ schools and on average, an SEC school is worth 2-TD more than their non-SEC equivalent. That really hurts me to write. The good news is that the SEC is looking far weaker this year.
I won't be releasing any MOVE data this year until November, as the stats don't mean much until we get deeper into conference play. The good news is that the B1G has already gone 3-0 against AQ schools. Last year, it was 5-11 (the Lions special) all year. So going 2-11 will be a push type thing. OSU whould beat Cal, from there we only need 1-2 wins to exceed last year. The SEC will also see a big dropoff, as heavyweights Georgia and Florida have already lost OOC. As they are expected to do well within the SEC, that will translate to losing points as well.
HOW THE CONFERENCE IS DOING TWO GAMES IN
We are now two games into the season in the Big Ten, and although the average of two performances is not a lot to go on and we are still trudging through the non-conference opponents, I thought it might be interesting to see where everyone sits on a few basic metrics.
There are in fact two teams that have now scored 100 points or more already, and yes, one of them is indeed our team. The other one is Indiana, as you might suspect, as their conference-best 108 points is bolstered by their opening week embarrassment of Indiana State. Those 73 points were followed up by 35 more points in a loss to Navy, so Michigan is in fact the only currently undefeated Big Ten team with 100 points or more (actually, precisely 100 points for us). The conference averages are below:
Well, if you’ve paid attention to the conference as a whole, then you know that this title goes to the team that has likely played the most lopsided matchups of all to date – Wisconsin. The two teams that I have destroyed by the Badgers combine for precisely zero points. Michigan would actually towards the middle of the conference right now, having given up 39 points for an average of 19.5 per game (over two games, I know). Current averages:
It is in this area that the effects of playing a largely unappealing non-conference slate are likely most apparent, and I don’t doubt that the numbers will moderate in a month or so. The current leader here is again Wisconsin, averaging a cool 602 yards of offense per game even against the stout defensive fronts of Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech. Michigan sits around the middle, awash in a sea of teams that are generating anywhere from 400-500 yards per game so far. Here’s how that looks:
Wisconsin and Michigan State are within 20 yards of being the best teams in this arena right now, and it’s incredible considering the competency of the offenses that these teams have faced to date. The top five here – in terms of the average – are rounded out by Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan in that order. On the extreme end of the spectrum, as scary as Northwestern looks on offense, they aren’t doing an awful lot to stop people right now.
RUSHING OFFENSE & DEFENSE:
The two teams in the conference that you might expect to go to the ground a lot (and they do almost 70% of the time, at least in the past couple seasons) have been doing just that. Wisconsin and Nebraska are the clear frontrunners for rushing offense to date. Michigan is in the lower half at an average of 204 yards per game.
On defense, the stingiest team when it comes to rushing is Michigan State, followed closely by Penn State and Ohio State. Actually, five teams right now – Michigan included – are sitting below 100 yards per game allowed on the ground, which isn’t a bad start at all. Average are below:
PASSING OFFENSE & DEFENSE:
The Big Ten has been doing a lot in the air in these first two games, with four teams coming in at 300 yards or more on average for passing offense. Nathan Scheelhaase put on a nice little show against the same Cincinnati team that pummeled Purdue and as a result, they lead the current averages in the conference. Michigan is a respectable fifth here:
When it comes to stopping things in the air, you might guess that – in the case of Michigan – Saturday sort of hurt the average a little, and you would be right. We are currently seventh in the conference in pass defense, but there are ten games left in the season (well, the regular one). The best team right now? Wisconsin, followed by Indiana, who of course played against a triple-option team last week.
DOWNS AND OTHER ITEMS:
I shall confine this to Michigan specifically since this is getting rather long -
Michigan's ability to sustain drives ranks high in comparison with the rest of the conference. Although we averaging 23.5 first downs per game - which so far is a middling Big Ten performance comparatively - we are converting 59.6% of our third downs and holding opponents to a 41.4% success rate. So far, so good for the two games we have played.
SPECIAL TEAMS STUFF:
I will just let you look at these – we’re towards the middle on both.