at least it's not just us?
Below are the strength of schedules for all Big Ten teams from 2011, as well as Michigan’s opponents in 2012 (note that Massachusetts isn’t listed, more about that later).
If you want to look at the rankings for opponent win percentage for all 120 FBS teams for 2011, check out my website.
Teams who had tough schedules in 2011, and easier schedules in 2012, should, theoretically, improve their win total. By contrast, teams who had easier schedules in 2011, and tougher schedules in 2012, should decrease their win total. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way.
The opponent win percentage is simple based on the combined wins and losses of a team’s opponents (includes bowl games and conference championship games, as well). Note that the rankings do not include games played against FCS opponents.
Once every team in the country has a finalized schedule for 2012 (I’m looking at you, Big 12 and Big East), I’ll throw together the 2012 Strength of Schedule, based on the win totals from 2011.
|8||Penn State||Big Ten||62.1429%|
|53||Ohio State||Big Ten||54.0230%|
|55||Michigan State||Big Ten||53.9474%|
|80||Air Force||Mountain West||50.4132%|
A few notes (on teams other than Michigan and their non-conference opponents) (Note that my projections will include postseason play, too):
Illinois –Illinois’s home conference games are all winnable – Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue. The road games are brutal, though: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, finishing up with an easier game at Northwestern. Illinois’s non-conference schedule is a bit tougher than the 2011 version – Western Michigan, at Arizona State, Charleston Southern, and Louisiana Tech. Early projection: Illinois decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 7 in 2011.
Indiana –Hands down the worst team in the Big Ten; schedule was among the toughest due to games against Michigan State and Wisconsin. The Hoosiers have a relatively forgiving non-conference schedule, playing Indiana State, at Massachusetts, Ball State, and at Navy. Early projection: Indiana increases their overall win total in 2012, from 1 in 2011.
Iowa –The Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor and East Lansing in 2012, and also make trips to Evanston and Bloomington. The home games, outside of Nebraska, are easily winnable (Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue). Iowa plays Northern Illinois (at Chicago), Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Central Michigan in 2012. Early projection: Iowa increases their overall win total in 2012, from 7 in 2011.
Michigan State –Illinois’s road Big Ten schedule is tough, but the Spartans will have it just as bad at home, as on the road. Michigan State plays Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern at home, while traveling to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Michigan State’s non-conference schedule is tougher than the one from 2011 (which isn’t saying much, since 2011 was pretty easy) – Boise State, at Central Michigan, Notre Dame, and Eastern Michigan. Early projection: Michigan State decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 11 in 2011.
Minnesota –Partly a byproduct of how bad the Gophers were, also a byproduct of having played Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, all of who had at least ten wins. Minnesota’s non-conference schedule allows the Gophers to improve – at UNLV, New Hampshire, Western Michigan, and Syracuse. Early projection: Minnesota increases their overall win total in 2012, from 3 in 2011.
Nebraska –The Cornhuskers had a particularly challenging schedule in their first year in the Big Ten, having to visit tough environments in Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin. The Huskers will play Ohio, Michigan State, and Iowa on the road (as well as Northwestern). Nebraska has one non-conference game to schedule; they will play Southern Miss, at UCLA, and Arkansas State. Early projection: Nebraska increases their overall win total in 2012, from 9 in 2011.
Northwestern –Easiest schedule out of all the Big Ten teams. Having to replace QB Dan Persa will be tough, but at least QB Kain Colter has experience. The Wildcats will need that experience, as they travel to Michigan and Michigan State on back-to-back weeks; Northwestern also travels to Penn State and Minnesota on back-to-back weeks. The Wildcats host Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. Northwestern’s non-conference schedule in 2012 won’t be easy, playing at Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Boston College, and South Dakota. Early projection: Northwestern decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 6 in 2011.
Ohio –Talk to a Buckeye fan and they will tell you it was one of the toughest years to stomach, between the NCAA investigations, Jim Tressel, and the losing record, Ohio is looking to forget the 2011 season. 2012 will likely be better, but the Buckeyes won’t be in the postseason. The Buckeyss have a soft non-conference schedule in 2012, playing Miami (OH), UCF, California, and UAB. Early projection: Ohio increases their overall win total in 2012, from 6 in 2011.
Penn State –Oh boy, where do I start here? Penn State’s non-conference schedule has been notoriously soft in recent years. Yes, they did play Alabama the past two seasons, but other than that, its been extremely forgiving. Penn State's schedule turned out to be the toughest because of playing Alabama, Houston, Nebraska, Wisconsin (three of which won double digit games). Next year it gets tougher with games against Navy and at Virginia. Penn State also plays Ohio University and Temple. Early projection: Penn State decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 9 in 2011.
Purdue –Purdue plays five of their first six games at home; an early start would put Purdue in great shape to improve on their 2011 record. Unfortunately for Purdue fans, they catch Michigan and Wisconsin on back-to-back weeks, but at least they are at home. Purdue also plays Penn State and Indiana at West Lafayette. Purdue will make trips to Columbus, Minneapolis, Iowa City, and Illinois. Purdue’s non-conference schedule in 2012, absent Notre Dame, is forgiving; the Boilermakers play Eastern Kentucky, at Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, and Marshall. Note that Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State are on back-to-back-to-back weeks; three straight losses could send Purdue into a tailspin. Early projection: Purdue decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 7 in 2011.
Wisconsin –The Badgers have it relatively easy for their Big Ten road games in 2012. Wisconsin will travel to Indiana and Purdue, but they also play Nebraska and Penn State on the road. Wisconsin’s 2012 non-conference schedule looks like four wins – Northern Iowa, at Oregon State, Utah State, and UTEP. Early projection: Wisconsin matches their overall win total in 2012, from 11 in 2011.
With that said, what are the early thoughts on Michigan?
EDIT: Thanks to Harmon98 and bluebrains98 for pointing out a serious problem. Problem is corrected. For those who are asking, this is based on the 2011 season, with 2011 opponents.
Lake City (FL) Columbia offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil may be the most sought-after lineman in the class of 2013; he's already ranked as a five-star to Rivals and 24/7, a four-star to Scout, and he's on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. The 6'6", 275-pound junior holds early offers from Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, Purdue, USF, and USC, while Texas and LSU are keeping a close eye on him. Tunsil has already taken visits to Florida and Georgia, but while it may be difficult to pry him from the grasp of the SEC, Michigan has positioned themselves well in his recruitment. Read on to find out his top five and more:
ACE: How is everything going with your recruitment? Which teams are showing you the most interest?
LAREMY: It's crazy, and a lot of them!
ACE: How do you handle the pressure and attention of being an early five-star recruit?
LAREMY: Take it one day at a time. I just keep working and getting better.
ACE: Who's your recruiting contact at U-M?
LAREMY: Coach Funk and Coach Montgomery.
ACE: Any early favorites right now? If you had to name a top five, who would be in there?
LAREMY: Michigan, LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
ACE: Do you have any visits planned for junior days or camps during the offseason? Any places you'd be interested in checking out?
LAREMY: I'm not sure yet, but I have Michigan in mind!
ACE: What attributes about a school will factor in the most in your decision?
LAREMY: The coaches, academics, and tradition.
ACE: When do you think you'll make your decision?
LAREMY: Signing day. [To be clear, that would be 2013, not 2012. Laremy's got a few offers to sift through first.]
Signing day is fast approaching and anticipation is rising to fever pitch. So where will Michigan's 2012 class wind up ranked? I thought I would do a little prognosticating with a heavy dose of disclaimers. This analysis is based only on Scout, since they provide the most visibility into their ranking system. Their scoring system is somewhat arbitrary (maybe even a little silly?) and the final rankings are not profoundly meaningful, as I'm sure we all know. Still, we are just trying to have a little fun here as we bide our time ever so impatiently.
Also, I am referencing their "Commitment Tracker" which contains information some may classify as dubious. The finalist lists are somewhat suspect, and the predictions of the two analysts are arguable (some of the picks are from outside the finalist lists). So, take it all with a mountain of salt and let's have at it!
Here are the current top 10(ish):
So how might this change from now to Signing Day? Let's focus first on Michigan's prospects. Here are the most likely additions to the class and the number of points they would add to Michigan's point total:
So if Michigan were able to bring in the mother lode and sign all of these prospects, it would push their total points to 4810 (counting only top 25) and move them into the #1 slot! (if nobody else signed anyone). Of course, it is highly unlikely that Michigan will strike pure gold while everyone else strikes out, so let's look at this a bit more realistically.
It does seem likely that the Maize and Blue will add to their current commitments and a jump of 600 points or more is not out of the question. So which schools would be in a position to finish above them? This will depend on whether the other schools have roster space to add more scholarship players and how likely they are to land additional blue chips.
On the subject of how they might close, I considered how many prospects in the Scout 300 they are considered finalists for. I also make note of who at least one Scout analyst thinks they lead for. Of course, they could also sign additional players outside the top 300 and each such player would add about 75-125 points to their total. Let's look at each contender.
Alabama- With 27 commits, they can only add one more at most? (I may be mistaken, but I believe the SEC is planning to limit schools to 28 this year). They are in the running for 6 top prospects and are projected by at least one analyst to lead for two: Eddie Goldman (worth 298 points) and Dalvin Tomlinson (209). The Tide will be tough to roll.
Texas - I'm not sure how much room they have beyond their 24 commits, but they are finalists for 4 top prospects and lead for one: Dalton Santos (215). Michigan could pass them if the Longhorns come up short.
Ohio State - There is some question as to whether the Buckaroos are already over the scholarship limit. We will have to see whether or not that is an Urban myth. They are listed as a finalist for 7 top prospects and are said to lead for 2: Armani Reeves (fergodsakes no!) and Kyle Dodson (207). Assuming they stay within their limits, it would seem Michigan has a good chance to pass them up in the final rankings.
Florida - The Gators, at 20 commits, may have available space (or not; available scholarship info is hard to come by and I'm not going to turn a fun little exercise into a major research project). They are finalists for 8 top prospects and are projected to lead for two: Stefon Diggs (299) and Nelson Agholor (217). Still, Michigan should have a big enough cushion to avoid becoming gator bait.
Miami (YTM) - The Hurricanes already have 31 commits so (wait, what?!) so I really don't know what to make of that. They are listed as a finalist for 5 top prospects and projected leader for one: Tyriq McCord (208). If Miami passes Michigan in the final rankings it's time to open up yet another NCAA investigation.
LSU - Listed as a finalist for 3 top prospects and a leader for none; highly unlikely to close the gap with the good guys.
Notre Dame - Not known for oversigning, the home stretch for the Irish may be limited by available slots. They are on the finalist list of 9 top prospects but the Scout guys don't see them landing any of them. Barring unforeseen leprauchan chicanery, likely to remain behind Michigan.
South Carolina - With 24 commits in the fold, only 2 top prospects on the radar (with no projected signings) and a sizeable gap, they Gamecocks are unlikely to rise in the pecking order.
Florida State - The Seminoles are the real wild card with only 16 current commits and 9 top prospects in the wings. Four are predicted signees: Ronald Darby (300), Eddie Goldman (298), Jameis Winston (299), and Tracy Howard (298). With the ACC apparently determined to win the oversigning cup, Florida State seems to be the team most likely to close strongly. It's even possible they could jump MIchigan, but I wouldn't stick a spear in that.
UCLA - With a class of 25 already, and no projected signings among the blue chippers, the Bruins are too far back to maul Michigan in the rankings.
The Rest - Everyone else is most likely too far back, point-wise, to threaten Michigan's final class ranking. Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Georgia, Auburn and Stanford may be candidates for a strong closing stretch.
Well I hope we all had fun and are not taking this too seriously. Anyway, there is actually an outside chance that, if all the planets align properly, Michigan's recruiting class could finish with the top ranking on Scout. More likely. a third place finish seems about right. I highly doubt we could drop below the #5 spot. The one thing we can almost certainly predict is that there will be some surprises. We will all know soon enough.
Edit: - I corrected the point values associated with each recruit caused by a slight misunderstanding of Scout's formula. It was mostly just a point or two adjustment upward. More importantly, as elaydin points out, Scout only counts the top 25 recruits, so I made that adjustment as well.
Today we are going to breakdown the Powerplay goals from the Michigan win over Notre Dame on Saturday night. (Ignore the mouse burnouts)
Here we start out with our basic cycle, Notre Dame is in a normal 2-2 box penalty kill. Notice how far the forward is playing up, he will not be able to get back fast enough for and lose puck or rebound.
Like stated before, the ND forward could not get back in time so anything that gets through to the right is a goal. Quick shot from the wing goes wide left and around the back boards, Wohlberg gathers and starts the cycle again.
Once again the forward is playing Pateryn high, streching the box out. Guptil is screening and no one in gold is paying attention. Pateryn cranks it and gets super lucky, the shot just misses hitting the forward because his hips are swinging to the right.
After a faceoff win and a good keep in, Treais brings the puck down to face a pretty normal rush situation.
Treais uses a great shot fake to freeze the defensemen, who loses position going down to block the shot.
The move was great, the defender is beat, but the angle is bad. The only way Treais scores is if the goalie guesses wrong.
Summerhayes takes away right post and 5 hole. He is wrong, and the bent knee gives A.J. just enough space to fit it in left side.
Cass Tech linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone was just the fourth player to commit to Brady Hoke's class of 2012, doing so last April. The consensus four-star recruit has since won a state championship with the Technicians and played in the Army All-American Game, and he's looking to continue that run of success at Michigan. I got the chance to chat with Royce over the weekend—via text, hence the short-ish answers—and we discussed his goals for his freshman year and career along with a few other topics:
ACE: How was the Army Game for you? It had to be fun being there with James [Ross, Royce's childhood friend] and your future teammates.
ROYCE: Yeah, it was a great experience. Everyone competed and had fun.
ACE: What are your goals for your freshman year?
ROYCE: Get my weight to 235 [Royce is currently listed at 215 on Rivals, though he looked bigger in person this fall], learn the defense, and see if I can at least get in the rotation.
ACE: You and the whole 2012 class come in with some big expectations. Do you ever feel pressure from that, or more just excitement?
ROYCE: Just excitement because everyone in this class is all about getting better and getting on that field.
ACE: What's it like to know you'll be playing for Greg Mattison as your defensive coordinator next year?
ROYCE: It's good to know you have a coach that knows what he's doing and not leaving when you get there.
ACE: When your Michigan career is over, what do you want to look back on and say you've accomplished.
ROYCE: [I want to say I've been an] All-American and All-Big Ten in my sophomore, junior, and senior year.
ACE: Do you expect to go out on top at Michigan like you did at Cass Tech?
ROYCE: Yeah. I plan on getting a national championship when I get there and before I leave.
The recruiting rankings are front-paged this week as we have a change at the top. Unfortunately, you probably know the change, and you're almost certainly not going to like it: Ohio State jumps Michigan after picking up four recruits (and the Wolverines losing Caleb Stacey, though that wouldn't have mattered in terms of the standings). Otherwise, the team rankings hold steady as we near signing day. Action since last rankings:
1-15-12: Taylor Decker changes commitment from Notre Dame to Ohio State. Illinois picks up T.J. Neal.
1-16-12: Penn State picks up Jordan Lucas.
1-17-12: Ohio State picks up Joey O'Connor. Gunner Kiel changes commitment from LSU to Notre Dame. Minnesota picks up Roland Johnson.
1-18-12: Ohio State picks up David Perkins. Minnesota picks up K.J. Maye.
1-20-12: Camren Williams changes commitment from Penn State to Ohio State.
1-21-12: Caleb Stacey changes commitment from Michigan to Cincinnati. Nebraska picks up LeRoy Alexander. Zach Jackson changes commitment from Illinois to TCU. Illinois picks up Justin Hardee. Minnesota picks up Ben Lauer.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so they are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.