last nebraska miniprogram until 2018 at least, which is too bad. i have enjoyed them being on the schedule and their fans are very hospitable.
At several times this season things have gotten pretty heated, and it seemed to reach a peak after the MSU game. Personally, I am of the opinion that Hoke is an excellent coach, and that Borges is an above average OC. Regarding the blocking, I know we are very inexperienced in the middle, but I'm not enough of a coach to know what is really ailing our line. Here is where I turn to you. Lately I have noticed some people who are completely outraged about the staff, but I have a feeling that such people comprise a vocal minority. I put together a Google Form to determine how the majority of MgoBlog readers actually feel about the season and the coaching staff. Please take the time to complete this, and I'll report back with the results.
Edit: No embed.
THE MICHIGAN HAT
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You've had enough time to wallow in the misery of last Saturday. Wear your colors and move on... or go buy an Alabama hat so your life can be easier. Go Blue!
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every week here at MGoBlog and on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out the Friday Fun, my weekly single panel comic based on trending Michigan events, available on Twitter and the home page every Friday.
I believe this photo was taken before the game (Upchurch)
Let’s try this again after accidentally deleting the original version.
1 The Six Factors
|Exp Score||Early Conv||Bonus Yds||Avg 3rd Dist||Adj 3rd Conv||Red Zone|
Gave up a few points in field position, that could be worse…
Actually did better getting early conversions than MSU, that’s encouraging…
Lost the bonus yards, that’s a bit troubling…
Oh wow, that average third down distance is awful…
And that adjusted 3rd down conversion is after adjusting for the 12.7 average…
At this point the red zone doesn’t even matter.
When it went bad on Saturday, it went really bad. Take out the final two drives and my prediction of holding the MSU offense a touchdown below field position is about spot on. Michigan State owned the world when Michigan had the ball. The 12.7 average is the third worst number on the season for any team in any game. It was not good.
2 Individual Performances
QBs: Points Added (opp. adjusted), Win Percent Added (Weekly National Rank)
Devin Gardner: +2, –4% (43)
Connor Cook: +1, +12% (54)
Fitzgerald Toussaint: +0.2, –3% (n/a)
Jeremy Langford: –1.5, +3% (72)
Jeremy Gallon: +4.5, +11% (101)
Bennie Fowler: +7.2, +16% (32)
[Game chart of impending doom followed by doom, follwed by more doom.]
This diary was inspired by the following tweet:
Under Hoke, U-M is 23-2 in games in which it is the favorite. U-M is 2-7 in games in which it is the underdog. (cc: @justcoverblog)
— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) November 6, 2013
I decided to look a bit more closely at the data because this seemed so striking to me. [EDIT: Hallett is incorrect: I have UM 24-2 when favored, 1-7 when not. This makes it even more striking!].
First, I compiled a spreadsheet of all results in the Hoke era, which looked like this:
|Year||Date||Opponent||Location||Result||UM score||Opponent score||Line||Cover?|
(The lines were taken from MGoBlog game previews.)
Results are fairly interesting. First, the losses:
- All losses (9) were away or on neutral fields. (We know this because Hoke is undefeated at home, but still worth restating, I think).
- All losses, with two exceptions, were in games where Michigan was the underdog. Those exceptions were, of course, at Penn State (2013) and at Iowa (2011).
- When Michigan loses, it doesn't cover the point spread, with one exception: the Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina. Of course this is partly a function of the fact that when Michigan is an underdog, it is only a slight underdog (average +5.125, compared to an average of -14.6 when we are favored).
Second, the wins:
- We are undefeated at Michigan Stadium in the Hoke era.
- We have five away wins (out of 25 wins total). In three of those games, we were favored by more than a touchdown (@UConn 2013, @Minny 2012, @NW 2011). In two, we were favored by a FG or less and we blew the other team out (@Purdue 2012, @Illinois 2011). (Note: we were only favored by 1 @ Illinois in 2011. I double-checked this and it's accurate).
- Hence, I think it's fair to say that we have not got a signature win in an opponent's stadium in the Hoke era.
- We have only one win in which we were the underdog: ND in 2011, a game that Brian descibed as "delirious because of the many improbable events stacked on each other" before adding that "Michigan has to fix some stuff—lots of stuff—by the Big Ten season."
- We have five wins in which we were favored by less than a touchdown: @Illinois 2011, @Purdue 2012, the 2012 Sugar Bowl, Nebraska 2011, and ND 2013. In all of those games we covered or pushed (the Sugar Bowl).
Third, the expectations. I looked at games where there was a big difference between the expectation (i.e., the gambling line) and the final score.
The biggest letdowns, where there was a two touchdown difference between the line and the final score, were:
- 2013 Akron at home. We were favored by 38 and won by 4, for a sads score of -34.
- 2013 MSU away. We were 6 point underdogs and lost by 23, for a sads score of -17.
- 2013 UConn away. We were 18 point favorites and won by 3, for a sads score of -15.
- Other letdowns (between -7 and -14) were: Alabama , Air Force , @Iowa , @Nebraska , @MSU , MSU ).
- The biggest happy victories, where the final score was two touchdowns or more than the gambling line, are Minnesota , @Purdue , Nebraska , Illinois , Central Michigan , and Illinois .
The big take-away for me is that this confirms the general impression that Michigan under Hoke wins the games that it should, generally speaking. That's good. On the other hand, we have only one win in which we were the underdog, and two losses in which we were favored, and we don't have a signature away win. I think that sample sizes are small and Hoke is still recovering from the RR era, etc., so this doesn't concern me much.
More concerning is the fact that the three worst letdowns (final score vs. point spread) all occurred this year. Two were wins against teams that Michigan should have destroyed, one was the Michigan State game. This is a reasonable explanation, I think, of the present malaise of Michigan fans.
Just when I thought I was I out, they pull me back in!
I don't know why I am such glutton for punishment, but I am finding this topic interesting (and not just in football sense, but statistically as well). I want to contribute one last time.
Many people on the threads have pointed out that just counting the class experience (basically age) is not enough, you need to count the actual games started as well.
I agree, games started should be part of this analysis.
AmazinBlue pointed out that Phil Steele has published a convenient list of all the games started by the players on the roster before the season began (http://www.philsteele.com/Blogs/2013/JUN13/DBJune08.html). Since the data is so handy, I figured I would go ahead and combine both sets of data and make a handy dandy XY Scatter chart. X-axis is the total combined number of Class Experience (i.e. Frosh=1, rs Frosh = 1.5) and Y-axis is the total number of previous games started.
As you can see from above, Michigan is in a better place than at least four teams (Auburn, UCLA, LSU, and Texas Tech), and surprisingly not that far away from Alabama.
Statistically, Michigan is within one standard deviation from the mean on Total Games Previously Started and just .16 away from one standard deviation for Total Class Experience. That, by definition, says Michigan o-line is not an outlier.
Again, the data says Michigan o-line is young, but not "outlier" young. There are other teams in top 25 who are just as inexperienced and a few who are even in a worse position. Blaming all of our woes on o-line experience does not paint the entire picture.