Breezy & warm for our game day, so you may want an extra light layer but you can keep the heavier winter coat from last weekend in the closet! We have a low pressure system passing to the north, bringing through a warm front tonight and a cold front tomorrow. Because of that, temps will actually be warmer Saturday morning than Friday night, and we'll also have not only clouds to deal with, but the chance for a few sprinkles throughout the day Saturday. The better chance for rain arrives Saturday night into Sunday. It's a very similar forecast for A2.
Last week we needed the hot coffee and fired up that crockpot to keep us going - not so much the case this week! If you're up and out there early, temps will be around 60 degrees! What you'll notice while loading up tailgate supplies is not only the warmth, but also the breeze. Winds will have stayed up through the overnight, out of the SW at a steady 15mph, with a few gusts up around 20mph (you'd see some white horses on the lake, small trees sway). So hopefully you have the tent ties and napkin rock from last week still handy :) Expect lots of clouds, and don't rule out a light rain shower. We'll be up to the low 60s by mid-morning.
Normal highs this time of year are in the mid 50s, so to talk mid 60s - yup, we're plenty warm! 65 degrees to start this game (!) with lots of clouds and the chance for a sprinkle here and there. You may see a little brightness trying to break through the clouds but it won't have a ton of luck. Winds have shifted a bit to come out of the WSW at around 13mph (leaves, small twigs will be in constant motion).
68 at the half with lots of cloud cover still across the stadium. That small chance for a little drizzle is still with us too, unfortunately. Winds are still up at about 12mph out of the WSW (you'd still see some crests breaking if you were watching waves on a lake). Last weekend they briefly ran out of hot chocolate in the 3rd at the concession stands... I think they'll be ok this week!
Winds will be out of the W by the time we end the game, and down to around 10mph (leaves rustle). We remain in the mid 60s with limited sunshine, so the bright spot of winning will have to be felt in your heart rather than showing so much in the sky haha! If you're planning on being out for the evening, temps will fall to the low 60s for dinner-time. By then winds will turn lighter, out of the NW at around 5mph (just enough to feel it on your skin) but we'll also see our rain chances increase. If you're planning on hitting up some of EL's nightside haunts - c'mon y'all it's almost Halloween :D - there's a better possibility of you running into a passing shower. Temperatures will have dropped to near 50 degrees as you're trying to get home and winds will have shifted to come out of the N, so you might want that extra layer you began the day with. Let's go blue, bring Paul home!
Christina Burkhart is the morning meteorologist for ABC in Flint, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!
after a brief hiatus, back at it. as usual, let me know if there are any glaring errors.
I watched the game, incredulous as Washington State was somehow putting up a fight against my beloved Wolverines. I was nervous, fidgety, and screaming at the television. But the overwhelming feeling was one of expectation, almost entitlement. We WERE the better team. We SHOULD be the national champion (GTFO, Nebraska). I wasn't watching the game to just to see if we'd win, I was watching the game to confirm what I already knew: Michigan was the best team in the country.
Fast forward 19 years. When I watch Michigan, for the first time since 1997, I am watching not just to see the result, but to validate my belief that this is a transcendent team--one of the truly great Maize & Blue squads of all time.
The comparisons are natural. While some are manufactured, many are remarkably similar. Sure, modernity (more plays per game) changes the numbers and feel, but there are loads of apples to line up against apples here.
- QB - Brian Griese vs. Wilton Speight. While many fans remember Griese as the steady leader of our National Championship team, few recall that he was almost universally viewed as the weakpoint of the team. In fact, there was a QB controversy during fall camp--Griese barely beat out Tom Brady. Griese was a game manager (sound familiar?) not a game breaker, and fans wondered if he could be counted on to deliver if the defense ever faltered. His passing stats: 175/277 (63.2%), 2042 yds (7.4 YPA), 14 TDs, 5 INTs, 138.2 Rtg. Wilton Speight is viewed in a very similar light: many fans weren't sure he should be the starting QB, and he hasn't been a consistently great enough performer to inspire complete confidence in the offense. His stats so far: 114/182 (62.6%), 1447 yds (8.0 YPA), 13 TDs, 2 INTs, 150.80 Rtg.
- RBs - 1997 was definitely a "rush by committee" team. Chris Howard led the team with 180 carries, but freshman Anthony Thomas had 130 rushes. Two more Wolverines--Chris Floyd and Clarence Williams--each added nearly 60 carries and over 260 rushing yards. The 2016 version is even more balanced: Smith has 79 carries, Issac 63, Evans 49, Higdon 43. The big difference is that Howard mustered 868 yards at 4.8 YPC--the clear leader of the rushing attack--while no one else had 530 yards. This season, I'm not certain Smith will finish as our leading rusher (though he will be #1 in carries, barring injury) and we already have four players with over 330 rushing yards. The '97 squad also lacked game-breakers, with no RB averaging more than Howard's 4.8 YPC, while the '16 version has four players averaging over 5.2 YPC, and two players over 8.3 YPC.
- WRs/TEs - Wow. My memories of Tai Streets and Jeremy Tuman were way off. While the game was played differently and felt much different in 1997, I was shocked to see that our leading receiver was Chris Howard (35 catches). Streets had just 24, and Tuman and 27. Woodson added 11 more, but three RBs had over 20 receptions while only one WR (Streets) grabbed more than 20. In fact, the #2 WR--Russell Shaw--had just 19 catches. Streets had just 349 receiving yards and four TDs. Contrast that with Darboh, who has already caught 30 passes for 499 yards and 5 TDs. Chesson has 18 grabs for 275 yards and a score, and Butt has 26 receptions (310 yds, 4 TDs) to Tuman's 27 (404 yds, 4 TDs). Other than Woodson, Tuman was the big play threat in our passing game.
- OL - The 1997 Offensive Line was excellent. From left-to-right: Jeff Backus, Steve Hutchinson, Zach Adami, Chris Ziemann, and Jon Jansen. Only Adami would not play in the NFL, and he was All-Big Ten in '97. Of course, Hutchinson and Jansen would go on to become All Americans, and Backus would be a first round draft choice.
Verdict: I think QB is a push. While Speight's numbers are better, Griese seemed to have the "it" factor as a leader. While I am shocked to say this, I would take this year's group of RBs over the '97 squad. Howard was an underrated player and is better than Smith, but the supporting cast in '16 is way ahead of the '97 group. WR/TE is the easiest call on the team: the 2016 tandem is excellent in all phases of the game, and Butt is probably the best TE in school history. The 1997 OL gets my vote, but lets remember that Hutchinson and Backus were still freshmen. That said, Adami, Ziemann, and Jansen were excellent, and I just don't see the same talent level on our current line.
So who's better? I would pick the 2016 offense. The 1997 offense was 44th in YPG and PPG. The 2016 offense is currently 28th in YPG and third in PPG. Long way to go and our rankings may drop a bit, but it's hard to see Michigan falling out of the top 15 scoring and the top 40 in YPG.
Some other amazing offensive stats for the 2016 team:
- Our scoring average of 48.7 PPG is more than 15 points better than the 2011 team, which had the best numbers since 2006.
- Has a college team ever had four RBs with over 500 yards rushing? Can someone find this out? Barring injury, this team will do that easily.
- Including McDoom and Peppers, this team has four players (with at least 10 carries) averaging over 8.3 YPC.
- Khalid Hill (Hammering Panda) has 8 rushing TDs on just 15 carries. #2 in rushing TDs was a surprise to me--Karan Higdon has 6 TDs on just 43 carries.
- Just four players have double-digit receptions this year: Darboh, Butt, Chesson, and De'Veon Smith.
- If Speight can keep his QBR where it is (150.80), it will be the highest rating for a Michigan starter since Drew Henson posted a 152.7 in 2000. In 1991, Elvis Grbac had 161.7 rating, largely on the back of Desmond Howard's 19 TD catches.
We need some wallpaper for #HateWeek, right? Of course.
The MSU rivalry has always been the most important rivalry to me. I live in Lansing, so many of my friends and family members are Spartans. For the last decade, it has not been very fun to live amongst the Green and White.
However, this year has been great fun. The Sparty fans in my life have been unusually quiet. It's almost as if they are sitting quietly in a burning room. Just like the famous dog from the very popular comic. That's where the idea for this wallpaper came from.
And for all your trash talking needs, here it is in comic form.
Aaaand for good measure, here's a GIF.
— Joe Sports (@joefedewa) October 27, 2016
Week 8 Conference Wins Update
“Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy.”
- Miss Havisham (Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations)
At eight weeks and seven games in, the season has reached a point where most teams have had the benefit of a Bye (except LOLRutgerz & Iowa). It’s also a point where teams have had sufficient opportunity to meld new players and emerging talent into their systems, and take stock of who will be the key contributors from here on out. Teams who will contend in the end are those that have shown steady improvement and a competitive drive despite adverse circumstances. For Michigan, this week amounted to the second of two scrimmages sandwiched around its Bye week, ostensibly concluding a mid-season training camp of sorts. The focus turns now toward preparation for the visit to East Lansing coming up. For Michigan’s rivals, this week could not have gone much better from Michigan’s point of view. The Buckeyes, in its loss to Penn State, continued to exhibit weaknesses in its schemes, play calling, offensive and defensive lines, and then coupled all that with abject failures to execute in the clutch. Sparty, meanwhile, appears to be in the throes of a deathly downward tailspin that should auger in neatly come mid-afternoon on Saturday. If Sparty is merely performing some death-defying tricks to lull the Wolverines into a false sense of security, it’s an Emmy Award-worthy performance.
The impetus of this diary is the desire to characterize the competitive landscape of the Big Ten Conference through the synthesis of total win probability distributions for each of the teams. The distributions are derived from the relative expected points ratings from Bill Connelly (S&P+), ESPN (FPI), and occasionally Ed Feng (The Power Rank). The key is that the ratings are based on expected points, which are in turn translated into win probabilities. Each of these three ratings are generated from their respective advanced statistical analyses and metrics. In doing so, they achieve varied results ... some more pleasing than others depending on your point-of-view.
Anyway, here you will find further ruminations on said statistics into still more statistics as a means for enabling further discussion, jumping to conclusions, flying off of the handle or goading your rival. Also included is a fresh look at the all-important head-to-head win-differential probability distribution for the matchup between a select pair of contenders in the B1G East.
Schedules, Margins, Probabilities & Distributions
B1G East Schedules & Margins Rundown
The table of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their expected in-conference win totals, it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.
First off, let’s be clear. Ohio State remains as competitive an opponent as they come, and it is well-known and documented that one loss does not break a season in the context of the B1G or National Championship picture, as these very same Buckeyes demonstrated in 2014. Unless of course, things end up tied with a winning opponent, which the Buckeyes also demonstrated in 2015. So all of a sudden the B1G East is set up nicely for a potential three-way tie scenario among Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State! More on that later.
Michigan, by virtue of a half-throttling of Illinois, continues as the #1 ranked team in all the land as per S&P+. U-M has doubled its lead now to four spots over OSU. Penn State, to its credit, managed to hang around with OSU into the fourth quarter, and found the proverbial “way to win” by cashing in on a single play that had an effective 10 point swing. The Nits thereby continue to move up the S&P+ ranks and now stand at #16 - good enough for 4th best in the B1G, and 3rd in the East.
Looking at the S&P+ probabilities, the Wolverines lead the B1GE with about 8.6 expected B1G wins, ahead of the now 2nd place Nittany Lions by a cool 1.4 expected wins. The Buckeyes trail the Nits by a narrow 0.2 wins. Michigan is the only team in the B1G at this point expected to exceed 8 wins. U-M and PSU are both favored in all of their remaining games. As such, OSU is no longer the favorite in The Game. Woe upon Northwestern who faces OSU next week, but beyond that, the OSU matchup versus the still-unbeaten Huskers may make or break the Buckeyes’ prospects heading into The Game.
Indiana, despite dropping its game with Northwestern, remains in the fourth spot, but at about 3.8 expected wins is now 3.2 wins behind PSU. However, the Hoosiers are underdogs in only two of its remaining games, which should make them bowl eligible. Meanwhile, Maryland reclaimed its place on the bowl-eligibility bubble by getting a critical win in knocking off Sparty in College Park. Only 0.3 expected wins behind Indiana, the matchup between the Terps and the Hoosiers next week - which stands at a 51/49 split - will be the key in determining which team will likely secure a bowl bid.
The FPI results differ slightly, the most notable difference that Michigan holds the #2 spot, followed by OSU still holding on at #4. In turn, M tops all teams in the B1GE with just over 8.3 expected wins, now ahead of OSU by a cool 1.3 expected wins. For the first time this season, FPI results now show U-M to be favored in all of its remaining games; the only game in which OSU is not favored is The Game. The margin, however, is only 1.8 points. Penn State, after its stunning upset of OSU, has separated from all others as the clear #3 in the B1GE at nearly 6.8 expected wins - less than 0.3 wins behind OSU - and is also favored in all of its remaining games. Maryland, with about 3.7 expected wins is an underdog in 4 more games; and Indiana, expecting about 3.2 wins is an underdog in 2 games. The Maryland-Indiana matchup may well reverse that balance, as FPI also sees this game as a 51/49 split. MSU, meanwhile, is favored in only one more game this season: LOLRutgerz. MSU is not favored on the road in Champaign. What would Sparty do without LOLRutgerz?
Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings. The numbers here look...pretty good!
B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions
The bar plots below show the expected total overall wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last line plot is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.
The “big take-away” from this round of distributions is that Michigan stands apart from all other with the highest mode, and that mode, dear reader, is the mode of an undefeated 9 wins! Whats more, OSU and PSU both show modes of 7 wins - that’s right, a 2 win separation. Now granted, PSU’s distribution is skewed strongly toward 8 wins. OSU is more balanced around 7 wins, but still with a considerable likelihood of 8 wins (which can be interpreted in more than one way), but the point is this: a bit of a log jam has emerged at the 8-win mode. That is the aforementioned three-way tie atop the B1GE over which many of the pundits are getting their panties in bunch. A quick computation shows that the much ballyhooed three-way tie among Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State has a probability of about 8%, largely because as the overlay shows, it’s almost 5 times as likely that OSU and PSU will lose at least one more game and Michigan will win out. Nonetheless, by virtue of the new B1G tie-breaker rules, overall winning percentage eliminates PSU first from the three-way tie since they lost an OOC game to Pitt, and OSU can only move ahead by winning The Game.
Indiana now sits at 4 wins leaning a bit toward 3 wins, whereas Maryland sits at 3 wins leaning toward four. Their upcoming game will be a battle for potential bowl-eligibility. MSU has settled into the single win mode, but with a strong, hopeful lean toward 2 wins, while Rutgers will most likely go winless in the B1G. Clearly, with the Buckeyes’ backs to the wall, the B1GE divisional championship at this point is Michigan’s to lose. The likelihood of UM having an undefeated season at stands at 61.8% (up from the 18.8% before obliterating Rutgers) or about 3:2 odds in favor.
Once again, a similar looking logjam in the B1GE at the 8-win mode. FPI works out to a similar likelihood of the three-way tie as S&P+: 9%, largely because as the overlay suggests, it’s almost 4 times more likely that PSU and OSU lose at least one more game and UM wins out.
The FPI results differ somewhat from the S&P+ results above. UM registers a mode of 8 wins (and one loss), but skewed strongly toward an undefeated 9 wins. UM registers a 43.4% chance to win out. From there, a smaller separation of 1 win exists to the 7 win mode occupied by Ohio State and Penn State. OSU shows a slight lean toward 8 wins; PSU slightly toward 6 wins. From there, a 3 win gap separates the next closest teams, Maryland and Indiana, with modes of 4 wins and 3 wins, respectively. Sparty lags further behind, clinging desparately to a mode shaded slightly toward 2 wins, only one win ahead of LOLRutgerz. LOLRutgerz at MSU - the Slobber-Knocker of Self-Loathing - is shaping up to be an instant BTN Classic.
Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.
B1G West Schedules & Margins Rundown
The next table of schedules shows the overall schedules for the B1G West based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. Again, the last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.
The S&P+ results for the B1GW have coalesced around Nebraska and Wisconsin as the principal contenders, with about 6.6 and 6.2 expected wins, respectively. For Wisconsin, this weekend’s matchup with the Huskers will be critical in its bid to advance to the B1GCG. If the Badgers lose, they’re likely out of contention. Having traversed most of the gauntlet that was their early season schedule, however, the Badgers now sit in the catbird seat as the only team in the B1GW favored in all of its remaining games. If the Badgers secure the win coming in as an 8.5 point favorite, and provided they win out as they are favored to do, they will be a virtual lock for the B1GCG ... unless the Huskers can knock off the Buckeyes in Columbus on November 5 and finish with only one B1G loss.
Northwestern, Minnesota and Iowa have congealed into a second tier of likely bowl-eligibles. Northwestern, now expecting nearly 5.1 wins, has an edge of nearly 0.3 wins over Minnesota. From there, Iowa lags another 0.4 wins. The resurgent Wildcats are headed toward the buzzsaw of Buckeye team coming off a loss, so the Cats’ resurgence may take a hiatus this weekend, but still, the Cats can expect to be bowl-eligible. The Cats are still favored in 2 of their remaining games. Iowa appears to have reached its high-water mark, being a favorite in only 1 of its 4 remaining games (at Illinois). That one win however, may suffice to make the Hawkeyes bowl-eligible. Similarly, Illinois is favored in only one remaining game (Sparty). Lastly Purdue, after letting Darrell Hazell go, will be mailing in the rest of the season.
FPI results have Nebraska leading the B1GW with the same 6.55 expected wins as S&P+, with Wisconsin trailing by a slightly wider 0.6 win margin. Like S&P+, FPI has the Badgers favored in all its remaining games, with the Huskers underdogs in its next two games. Northwestern follows more closely in the FPI results at 5.3 wins, with Iowa in the 4-spot another 0.6 wins back. Wrapping up the likely bowl invitees is Minnesota at about 4.3 expected wins. who is as the teams in contention and expecting to have winning B1G records. As with S&P+, Nebraska and Minnesota are both underdogs in two of their remaining games. Northwestern is a 3-game dog, and Iowa is favored in only one of its five remaining games.
Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.
B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions
The bar plots below show the expected overall win distributions for the B1G West teams, in alphabetical order.
The story in the B1GW continues to be how close the race to Indy remains. Five teams have modes in the 4 to7 win range. Nebraska is currently the only team with a mode of 7 wins, while Wisconsin is at 6 wins, with both teams leaning toward the mode of the other team. Northwestern and Minnesota are both balanced on the 5 win mode. Iowa is now at the 4 win mode after its loss to Wisconsin, but is skewed toward 5 wins. The only team remaining without a loss of course is Nebraska, but has only a 1.5% likelihood of staying that way. The Huskers also have the best - and only - chance of a one-loss season in the B1GW at 14.1%.
The FPI results tell a similar story. Nebraska shows a 7 win mode, leaning toward 6 wins; Wisconsin is at the 6 win mode, leaning now toward 7 wins. Meanwhile, Northwestern is showing some separation from Iowa and Minnesota at the 5 win mode and leaning strongly toward 6 wins. Behind the Cats are the Hawkeyes, also at the 5 win mode but leaning toward 4 wins. Minnesota continues to lurk at the 4 win mode, with a skew toward 5 wins. As such, those five teams are at least hopeful bowl-game qualifiers. To the credit of Purdue and Illinois, they both look a game better than LOLRutgerz and Sparty at this point.
Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.
Michigan vs. Ohio State Big Ten Wins Differential
The win-differential distribution simply shows the likelihood of one team (say, Michigan) finishing with a conference record that is some number of games better or worse than another team (say, Ohio State). Keeping in mind that in the event of a tie, the winner of the head-to-head match up determines the tiebreaker … the probability of the teams having identical conference records (i.e. a win differential of zero) heading into the final head-to-head meeting is then pro-rated in proportion to the win probability of the head-to-head game. The same principle also applies to the probabilities of either team having a one-game lead going into the head-to-head (i.e. win differentials of +1 and -1). This is because a team trailing by one game would still clinch the tie-breaker by winning the final head-to-head game. Thus, the total likelihood of Michigan finishing ahead of Ohio State is the sum of all the maize-and-blue shaded bars (i.e. U-M wins two or more games than OSU), plus a proportional split of the -1, 0 and +1-differential bars. It’s worth noting that this total likelihood does not indicate the likelihood of making it to the B1G Championship, as it says nothing about how other teams in the B1G East do, or even how Michigan or Ohio State do in the absolute sense. For example, if both teams were to finish tied in the B1G at 7-2, which means that UM and OSU would be losing 2 games each, at which point another team (Penn State) may have a snowball’s chance.
Beginning as usual with the results of the S&P+ analysis, the chart below now shows that following the Buckeyes loss to Penn State, the most likely outcome (65.5% likelihood) is that U-M is one game up heading into Columbus. Nonetheless, The Game will still likely decide who will play for the B1G Championship. What’s more, looking at the head-to-head matchup, the win probability for Michigan has expanded to 67.4% (that’s a cool 7 point margin!), so UM collects a 44.1 point share of the 65.5 points for the likelihood of winning when coming in up one (and finishing ahead two games). OSU collects the remaining 21.3 points.
The second most likely scenario, now with a 25.2% likelihood, is that UM comes into Columbus two games ahead of OSU. Of this possible outcome, UM collects the entire 25.2 points, of course, because UM would still be assured of finishing one game ahead of OSU.
The third most likely scenarios that UM comes with the same record as OSU. This scenario has a 5.7% likelihood, of which UM collects a 3.8 point share for its likelihood of winning and finishing in one game ahead. OSU collects the remaining 1.9 points.
The fourth most likely scenario, with a likelihood of 3.3%, is that UM comes into Columbus three games ahead of OSU. All 3.3 points for UM in this case.
Two other vanishingly small scenarios register on the chart. Noodling through those is left as an exercise for the reader.
In total according to the S&P+ ratings, Michigan now has a 76.8% likelihood of finishing the season ahead of OSU - better than 3:1 in favor!
Painting a slightly less rosy picture, here is the same chart based on the FPI ratings following the week 8 results. This shows a slightly narrower margin for UM in the race against OSU to the B1GCG. However, as with S&P+, the most likely outcome is that UM heads into Columbus up one game on the Buckeyes. In the head-to-head matchup, UM is rated high enough to overcome OSU’s home-field advantage, giving Michigan a 54.6% likelihood (a 1.8 point margin) to win The Game. To sum it all up - according to FPI, UM now has a 68.3% likelihood of beating out OSU at season’s end, or a little better than 2:1 chance.
Here’s a link to the chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.
Bonus Section: Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Big Ten Wins Differential
It seems like a good time to take a closer look at the primary contenders in the B1GW since they will meet on the field this weekend, those contenders being Wisconsin and Nebraska.
So here are the S&P+ results after running the differential analysis rubbing the Nebraska distribution against Wisconsin. Very interesting indeed, and quite different from the UM-OSU rub. In this case, the most likely outcome is that Nebraska is ahead of Wisconsin for all games outside their head-to-head matchup. However, Wisconsin is favored by such a significant margin (8.5 points or 70.8% likelihood) in the head-to-head matchup that the balance of all probable outcomes tilt in Wisconsin’s favor.
And here are the FPI results for the Nebraska-Wisconsin differential distribution. The plot thickens as it were. In this case, the most likely outcome, similar to the S&P+ results, is that Nebraska is ahead of Wisconsin for all games outside their head-to-head matchup. Also, Wisconsin is favored in the head-to-head matchup, but by a slightly less significant margin (6.8 points or 66.9% likelihood) in the head-to-head matchup. The end result is that the balance of all probable outcomes tilts in favor of Nebraska, not Wisconsin. This is yet another illustration of how close this B1GW race is.
Here’s a link to the chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.
So there you have it. Evidence continues to mount that Ohio State is eminently beatable, particularly in consideration of the anticipated matchups in the trenches - a place where inexperience and a lack of bulk can have deleterious effects that cannot be overcome. Among the three opponents shared in common with OSU (Rutgers, Wisconsin and Penn State), Michigan is arguably more advanced schematically and more consistent in its ability to execute. Michigan obliterated Rutgers on the road even more thoroughly than OSU did at home. OSU’s OT win at Wisconsin yielded 23 points to the Badgers compared to UM’s 7 points allowed, and OSU’s 23 points in regulation matches UM’s touchdowns and field goals attempted. And then there’s Penn State, the same team that Michigan had pummeled into garbage time by the end of first quarter, OSU allows to hang around into the fourth quarter. Tsk, tsk.
The prospects for Michigan football to play in the Big Ten Championship Game continue to trend in a positive direction, while a still competitive game awaits for OSU (vs Nebraska) which may expose further weaknesses and vulnerabilities, or at provide a barometer to gauge the Buckeyes’ progress. In all, it bodes well for this Michigan team as it continues to work toward its goals to compete for the Big Ten Championship, and beyond.
Yours in football, and Go Blue!