The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
After a disappointing end to a disappointing season I found myself looking for answers beyond "Al Borges just doesn't know how to use Denard!" and "ESSSSSEEEEEECEEEEEE!" I was curious what, if anything, tangibly separated the two-loss BCS Bowl winning season of yesteryear from the five-loss fumble that saw us fall to (almost) everyone that had a legitimate chance to beat us. Of course, obvious is obvious, and the schedule was unkind, but what else happened? And what does it mean for 2013?
|1st Downs (Rush - Pass - Penalty)||112 - 113 - 24||116 - 101 - 20|
|Rushing (Att - Yds - Avg - TD)||502 - 2389 - 4.76 - 27||514 - 1957 - 3.81 - 9|
|Pass (Att - Comp - % - INT - TD)||318 - 169 - 53.1% - 19 - 20||330 - 198 - 60.0% - 7 - 16|
|Total Offense (Att - Avg - Yds)||820 - 6.07 - 4980||844 -4.93 - 4160|
|Punt Returns (Att - Avg - TD)||16 - 8.81 - 0||20 - 10.15 - 1|
|Kick Returns (Att - Avg - TD)||42 - 22.05 - 0||48 - 23.25 - 0|
|Punting (Att - Avg)||44 - 42.59||58 - 42.36|
|INT (# - Yds - TD)||7 - 127 - 1||19 - 225 - 2|
|Fumbles (# - Lost)||17 - 8||22 - 11|
|Penalties (# - Yds)||62 - 641||84 - 719|
|Time of Possession||30:10.38||29:49.62|
|3rd Down (Att - %)||173 - 50.29%||178 - 35.96%|
|4thd Down (Att - %)||13 - 69.23%||21 - 42.86%|
|Red Zone (Att - %)||46 - 93.48%||42 - 80.95%|
|FG (Att - Conv - %)||21 - 18 - 85.7%||30 - 21 - 70%|
|PATS (Att - %)||46 - 100%||25 - 100%|
|2 Pt (Att - Conv - %)||2 - 0 - 0%||3 - 1 - 33%|
|Record (Home / Away)||6-0 / 2-5||0-6 / 5-2|
|1st Downs (Rush - Pass - Penalty)||148 - 97 -25||94 - 115 - 15|
|Rushing (Att - Yds - Avg - TD)||560 - 2884 - 5.15 - 31||429 - 1712 - 3.99 - 14|
|Pass (Att - Comp - % - INT - TD)||284 - 155 - 54.6% - 16 - 22||374 - 221 - 59.1% - 9 - 12|
|Total Offense (Att - Avg - Yds)||844 - 6.23 - 5261||803 - 5.22 - 4188|
|Punt Returns (Att - Avg - TD)||22 - 9.00 - 0||21 - 9.19 - 0|
|Kick Returns (Att - Avg - TD)||35 - 18.43 - 0||57 - 21.44 - 0|
|Punting (Att - Avg)||46 - 38.04||66 - 39.70|
|INT (# - Yds - TD)||9 - 163 - 1||16 - 121 - 1|
|Fumbles (# - Lost)||19 - 6||25 - 20|
|Penalties (# - Yds)||53 - 458||92 - 802|
|Time of Possession||31:15.15||27:28.31|
|3rd Down (Att - %)||168 - 47.02%||173 - 36.42%|
|4thd Down (Att - %)||17 - 58.82%||21 - 38.1%|
|Red Zone (Att - %)||58 - 84.48%||41 - 68.29%|
|FG (Att - Conv - %)||17 - 13 - 76.5%||15 - 12 - 80%|
|PATS (Att - %)||55 - 98.2%||26 - 100%|
|2 Pt (Att - Conv - %)||1 - 0%||1 - 100%|
|Record (Home / Away)||8-0 / 3-2||0-8 / 2-3|
A lot of this is just useless numbers; much of the difference can be attributed to quality of opponent and the number of road games. A quick look at the non-conference schedule basically has Alabama replacing Western Michigan and Air Force replacing San Diego State--both significant--with UMass roughly equivalent to EMU and ND = ND. That said, ND and 'Bama are #1 and #2, and both of those games were away from the Big House. Ohio is now coached by one of the top 3 coaches in the game (like him or not) instead Finkel and Einhorn. Taylor Martinez learned how to throw. Denard got hurt. Blah, blah, blah.
But I do believe there are some golden nuggets (or perhaps corn nuggets, depending on your half-full/half-empty attitude on Monday Morning) that help explain what went wronger (to quote Kanye) this year. Here are the highlights:
- Turnovers. It's more more than a little disturbing that our turnover margin went from +7 to -9. I did not realize the difference was so vast. This is a -16 swing in the margin category, and could explain the difference in our success all by itself. One of the huge factors here was our mythical fumble recovery rate in 2011; we scooped-up 80% of our opponents dropsies last year and returned to a normal 50% this year. If you replace last year's fumble recovery rate with this year's, however, the difference between the two margins is still is -8.5. We forced more fumbles last year, had two more INTs, and threw three fewer INTs. Not having Countess certainly factored-in here, and I have a conspiracy theory that I will reveal later about the INTs.
- Rushing. It is inconceivable that Borges got dumberer between this season and last. With a year under his belt and an off-season to think about ways to use Denard more effectively, I was hoping for better. That said, the O-line performance was dramatically different. RR is quoted as saying that Molk was worth two wins; I'm sure I did not believe that when I read it, and I'm sure I do believe it now. The Barnum & Mealer circus on the interior O-line did us no favors here, and my conspiracy theory factors in as well.
- Passing. This, to me, is one of the pivot points. I was shocked to see that our 2012 passer rating was actually lower than 2011. Where is the DG effect? Well, it's there. DG posted an astounding 161.66 rating in 2012, with 9.7 yds/att. That puts him in elite company. Only five teams posted better passer ratings than DG this season -- Georgia, 'Bama, San Jose State, Clemson, and West Virginia, and only Georgia had a higher yds/att. Denard's rating, on the other hand, dropped from 139.73 to 126.63. This is a sizeable decrease in rating, and makes no sense when you consider Borges' history of improving passers. Some of this can be attributed to a weaker O-line, but I believe the lion's share is more about...
- CONSPIRACY THEORY. During the off-season and before the 'Bama game, I often said that I believed our success in 2012 would hinge on Denard's progress as a passer. With a year of Big Al's grooming, I was sure Denard would take at least a large step forward, if not a leap. There was no doubt in my mind that using slants, curls, and other quick routes to some effect would open-up some much needed space for Denard to be Denard without 8-9 defenders keying on him. This, of course, didn't happen. Why not? Here is my theory: Denard's nerve injury was affecting him all season long. My evidence is certainly not conclusive, but we do know that Denard had dealt with numbness in his throwing hand in previous seasons, and we are certain that the play on which the nerve finally said "UNCLE!" against Nebraska looked super-ultra-mega-hyper-tetra-uber-harmless. Further evidence showed-up in Denard's passing, even early on. Against 'Bama he missed some easy slants in the first quarter that had been his bread-and-butter in previous years, and his downfield passing was bad this year even if you count Taco Pants as an eligible receiver. I do not believe that Junior Hemingway would have helped Denard much this year; his passing was just bad. And I do not believe that our WRs were that much worse this year. My theory is that Denard's ulnar nerve degraded during camp, and even more so during the season, and that what happened at Nebraska was simply the final straw. Don't get me wrong--I don't think they were giving him cortizone shots just so he could play, but I do believe the injury may have been affecting him all season and the subtle difference it made significantly impacted Denard's already shaky passing ability. The silver lining here is that Denard was never going to be an NFL QB, and now that is not even an option. He's also had almost half of a season to learn how to play not QB (not sure what position he did learn, though) and I look forward to watching him on Sundays.
- Defense. Both the stats and the eyeballs tell you that the defense was not significantly different year-over-year. That said, eight fewer sacks and 11 fewer turnovers are game-changing differences, and while quality of opponent is a factor here, so is luck (fumble recoveries), injuries (Countess), and pass rush (RVB, Martin). It simply is not fair to lay all of the blame for this year's record at the feet of the offense--the defense did not create enough turnovers. The defense MUST make more game-changing plays in 2013 if we are going to have a successful (B1G Championship) season.
- Schedule. Obvious is obvious, but it's worth mentioning that while Hoke hasn't yet lost at the Big House, he's 5-7 on the road. Yuck.
Outlook and mandatory 2013 predictions:
Extrapolating the data points and eyeball examinations leads to lots of different conclusions: some pretty obvious, some hopeful, and some "I have no freakin' idea where that came from." Of course, since this is an internet blog, I'll give you all of them, even though they are entirely amateur. But as a sort of CYA disclaimer, I'll add a DGuarantee 1-5 scale: 5 meaning you can bet the farm it will happen, and 1 being more like a Mayan calendar-type prediction.
- Offense: 3. This one lands squarely in the middle on the DGuarantee scale, which is about as courageous Lloyd Carr on 4th down, but my reasoning (excuse) is solid. I believe you can bet all of your possessions and everything in East Lansing that our passing game will be vastly improved next season. Give that a 5. DG will have a full year to play QB, and he will be the man for the whole year. He was playing at a high level this season, and loses only Roy Roundtree as a WR. While I do love Roy, I believe the incoming Darboh/Chesson effect will more than replace his production. Gallon, who ended the year on a tear, will be a year better and will be dominant. Dileo is The Threat. The O-line is a little bit questionable, but Schofield will hold his own at LT in the passing the game, and given the talent we have replacing the other four spots, I just don't see a dramatic drop-off in pass-blocking performance. There will be some head-scratching sacks as freshmen act like freshmen and do some matador-style blocking on missed assignments, but we had plenty of that this year too, and DG is good on the run. The running game is a 1. I don't have a freakin' clue. It's not going to have Denard anymore, and that's obviously a blow. But it will also be rid of the interior O-line, and will filled with huge, strong, talented players. My prediction here based on flimsy evidence is that our YPC stays in the same 4.75 neighborhood (putting us around 40th nationally) but includes fewer big plays (Denard, duh) and far fewer negative plays. The RB situation is as big a question mark as the O-line--Rawls showed promise but never more than that, Hayes really hasn't had a chance yet, and Toussaint was pretty lousy before his Tarantino-esque injury. Is Drake Johnson going to prove the rating services wrong (I doubt it)? Is Norfleet a DB for good (probably)? There is a very good chance that Derrick Green and Deveon Smith are both on the depth chart next year, and freshmen are always a question mark. All-in-all I expect our total production to look similar to this year in yards, points, and 3rd down conversions. RANDOM SIDE NOTE: Say what you will about Al Borges, the guy converts 3rd downs. Michigan was 6th(!!!) nationally this year, and two teams ahead of us were MWC and CUSA flukes. Only Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Clemson were better in the real world.
- Defense: 4. Yum Yum. Even setting aside the fact that our schedule is much more favorable in 2013, I believe our defense is poised to take a big step forward. Only 5 players are coming off of the entire depth chart, and, while all five were starters, only Kovacs was irreplaceable. Campbell's back-up at DT (Black) might be an upgrade, and the depth with the 2012 and 2013 recruting classes is solid. Craig Roh has a veritable platoon of capable back-ups, headlined by Keith Heitzman, with Wormley and Strobel right behind, to say nothing of the 2013 class. Demens' experience gives way to Bolden's athleticism and instincts (and plenty of snaps) with Ross and RJS available as well. JT Floyd + Raymon Taylor < Blake Countess + Raymon Taylor, and the depth should be FAR better in 2013, with another year of experience for everyone else and an absurdly good recruiting class. Kovacs is the guy that we'll miss the most; his leadership, intelligence, and fearlessness were invaluable. But his replacement will be bigger, faster, and stronger, and Jarrod Wilson got some snaps this year and Furman and M-Rob are waiting in the wings. This is, without a doubt, the most concerning position, as inexperience at safety often equals big plays for the opposition. That said, Beyer, Clark, and Ojemudia are all back at WDE and I believe they'll actually produce a pass rush next year. Black was on a hotstreak at the end of the season can really get after the passer. QWash is a beast and has Pee Wee behind him; Jake Ryan is, well, JMFR. Morgan has turned into a very good player whom I believe is NFL-bound, and T. Gordon returns at safety to hopefully create turnovers ala 2011. I expect both the run defense and the pass defense to improve, the latter more than the former. I think point and yardage averages similar to 2011 will return, with more takeaways than in 2012, and double-digit INTs for the first time under Hoke/Mattison. The only thing keeping this from a 5 is the youth and Kovacs effect.
- Special Teams: 4. What's sad about our 2012 special teams is that they were almost universally better than our 2011 effort and still weren't very good. Our punt return average would be about 40th, but we don't return very many punts (damn you spread punt!). Norfleet was 47th in kick returns. I have to say that of all of Hoke's units, this is the least impressive. But The (other) Threat returns in Brendan Gibbons, and Matt Wile is a more than capable back-up at both K and P, and could start if Hagerup gets kicked-off the team (and I believe he will). Our kick and punt coverage is okay; the guys playing there were mostly young, so I expect improvement.
- Overall: 4. Depending on how you define success, this is either a 5 or a 3. I took the average. If success is more than wins than 2012, it's a 5. The schedule alone should get us two more wins. If success is winning the B1G, it's a 3. The uncertainty at O-line and RB is too much to overcome what should be a much improved passing game and a better defense. Even though the schedule is easier, we still have to beat Ohio and Nebraska at home and Penn State and MSU at on the road. And don't sleep on Northwestern. That said, the non-conference schedule is marshmellow soft and should give the younger players some time to find their rhythm, and opening conference play with Minnesota at home is generous. I believe the biggest hurdles are Nebraska and Ohio, and Nebraska doesn't have to play Ohio (stupid divisions!) but does have Penn State on the road (as do we). The good news on the Corn Huskers side is that they will have faced no one that is good at football before they come to our place; Northwestern the previous week will be the closest thing.
The final verdict is that I believe we finish 9-3, with our youth showing-up just enough to keep us out of the B1G Championship game as Ohio looks poised to win the conference. I think we'll lose to Ohio, and 2 more losses coming from possibly ND, Nebraska, MSU, Penn State, or Northwestern. All that said, a 10-2 finish with losses only to ND and Ohio is very possible, and 11-1 is not out of the question. Beating Ohio is certainly not an impossibility, but I'm not confident a team as young as ours will be next year can go undefeated, and beating them twice seems pretty daunting (a re-match with Ohio in the Championship game seems like a lock if we're able to get there). Our bowl game is anywhere from the Rose to the Outback; with a BCS NCG (at the Rose) an unlikely outlier. 2014 has road games at Nebraska, Ohio, and Notre Dame, but the team should be in full gear by then, and that is when I expect Hoke to raise another banner and challenge for the NCG.
The end of Denard Robinson's Michigan Football career leaves us to ask many important questions into what his time here meant, in so many different ways. We can ask wherre his stats rank among all time greats. We can ask if he will ever be equalled. We can ask about intangibles and what he meant to the program. But I intend to answer a much more lasting question. How hot is Denard Robinson?
Yes, everybody wants a piece of Denard, and who could blame them? But that's not good enough. Below, you will find a scientific inquiry into the actual heat of one Denard Robinson.
In order to answer this question, we must establish a few points. First, Mirriam-Webster defines a calorie as such:
a : the amount of heat required at a pressure of one atmosphere to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius
Blood is approximately 92% Water by volume.
Your heart volume is approximately 280cm3, or .28 liters.
Therefore, your heart contains approximately .2576 liters of water, or 257.6 grams.
According to super-reputable web sources (http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist3.htm), a 180lbs man burns the following number of calories while running.
|Miles per Hour||Calories Per Hour||Calories Per Mile|
As you can see, Calories do not increase per distance as speed increases, giving us an average of approximately 135.5 Calories per mile or .026 calories per foot (.077 Calories per yard)
Denard Robinson's Carreer rushing stats, as retrieved from ESPN.com:
Add in about 1000 lateral yards and Denard Robinson finishes with a total of 5495 yards run inside gameday football stadiums.
A quick bit of math at .077 cals/yard X 5495 yards = 4231.15
4231.15 / the 257.6 grams of blood in your heart = 16.425 degrees celcius or 61.565 farenheit. Added to regular body temperature of 98.6? 160.165.
The American Burn Association has this to say:
How hot is Denard Robinson? He makes your heart burn, baby. He makes your heart burn.
EDIT: My late night, drunk-ass math skills fail me. I'm sorry to say this, but Denard does not make your heart burn. He only warms it.
5495 yrd x .077 cals per yard = 423.15 cals/257.6 grams of water = 1.64 degrees celcius, or just enough to send you to bed with feverish sweats. Somehow... that seems hotter to me.
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.