Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
Preseason Prediction: Michigan will end the year with a +8 Turnover Margin (TOM) or better (2011 was +7). The prediction for TOM for M for this year is based on the prediction that M will be a very good team again this year and is not based on the actual TOM of last year. (Very good teams will have a TOM of +5 or better.) Turnover Margin for the year is currently – 4.
Psychic?: From last week "This is a recurring problem that is not going away and it is very likely that Denard will miss major portions of the next 4 games." Gardner started out shaky but after not playing QB for over a year what else could we have expected? If Gardner had not made that one spectacular play (which seemed to turn everyone's confidence around), it may have been a very scary game.
I am as confused as everyone else as to why the coaches decided to gamble with Bellomy as the backup this year. I had (erroneously) thought that Bellomy had shown himself to be the better QB. That hardly seems likely based on the immediate switch to Gardner for this game. Yes, Denard had never missed an entire game but running QBs are always at risk and DRob is not the biggest in physical size. Just another question we will never know the real answer to.
Michigan Football: Michigan had just 18 pass attempts and 41 rushing attempts for a 66% run play percentage. Overall M has a 62% run play percentage (ranked #11). In 2011 M ranked #11 at 65% run play %.
M forced 2 more fumbles (Kovacs & Clark) and recovered one (Avery). The fumble recovery was at 2:49 of the 4th quarter and was completely meaningless. Gardner threw the one pick. Michigan now has 14 different players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass.
For giveaways, Michigan is ranked #14 in fumbles and #6 in fumbles lost but is #124 in interceptions thrown %. Even if you take out the 4 interceptions thrown by Bellomy, M would still be ranked #123 in interceptions thrown %. The good news is that in B1G games, Robinson/Gardner have been much better with an interception % of 2.4% (which would be ranked #45).
For takeaways, M is ranked #71 in forced fumbles, #67 in fumbles recovered, #90 in takeaway fumble recovery %, and #66 in interceptions.
Synopsis for Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Turnovers resulted in a net of 0.41 expected points benefitting Michigan. Eliminating the meaningless fumble recovery at the end of the game, turnovers benefitted Minnesota by 3.41 EP.
The folks at Football Outsiders – FEI are also doing weekly "Revisionist Box Scores" that strips out TOs, Special Teams, and Field Position. FEI calculates the value generated by each drive and then lost on the drive up until the turnover, as if the drive had concluded at that spot on the field. Thru Week #10, FEI has 16% of games where TOs were significant.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
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).
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the line of scrimmage for the offense. Therefore, the impact of a TO also depends on the yard line where the TO is lost and the yard line where the TO is gained. Each turnover may result in an immediate lost opportunity for the team committing the TO and a potential gain in field position by the opponent. Both of these components can vary dramatically based upon the down when the TO occurred, the yards the TO is returned, and whether the TO was a fumble or an interception.
Here are the details for the game.
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO may directly result in lost EP for the offense but (B) only modifies the EP for the team gaining the TO because the team gaining the TO would have gotten another possession even without the TO (due to a punt, KO after a TD, KO after a field goal, etc.). The Net EP Gain must take into account the potential EP gain without the TO. The EP gain without the turnover is based on where the field position would have been for the next possession if the TO had not occurred.
The expected point calculations are based on data from Brian Fremeau at BCFToys (he also posts at Football Outsiders). Fremeau's data reflects all offensive possessions played in 2007-2010 FBS vs. FBS games. I "smoothed" the actual data.
Here is a summary of the smoothed expected points.
(Click the image to view full size)
Don't know about the rest of you... but I had a hard time feeling good on Saturday night, even after a strong win that spoke very well about the program. First, watching Notre Dame "un-lose" their game in triple overtime was just plain disturbing. But even worse was the whole experience of 'rooting' for Michigan State to win, and ultimately being let down by their shortcomings and occasional ineptitude.
And, of course, it cost us dearly.
So even after the compelling performance by Devin Gardner against a pesky Minnesota team fueled by overconfidence and a sidelined Shoelace... going to bed after the Bama-LSU game still felt like... a loss. And I wanted to address it in this week's strip, even if it meant digging up emotions I've since moved on from. Apologies if it's done the same to you.
On Thursday Tom... wakes up.
CAPTION CHALLENGE RESULTS
Congratulations go out to the winner of the first ever Blockhams Caption Challenge! Our first ever winner is a young, talented and sarcasm-free writer named Brian Cook, who took home over 20% of the 400 reader votes.
For the victory Brian will win an all expense-paid trip to this weekend's Northwestern game, complete with excellent tickets, a tailgate party, media accessibility, and even a meet and greet with media personalities Heiko Yang and Ace Anbender. Thanks to the proprietor of MGoBlog.com for donating this excellent prize package to the winner.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog,
and at least every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to
check out Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
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During his first offensive coordinator job at Portland State University (1986-1992) under famous HC Pokey Allen, Al Borges coached one of Division II's most talented quarterbacks in John Charles.
Charles' career at PSU was brief. He played only his junior and senior years at PSU, but broke dozens of passing records at the Division II level and won several post season awards. Charles is most famous for leading the Vikings to an improbable 1992 52-26 trouncing of Boise State on the road, a game that later cost Skip Allen his job at Boise State and motiviated Boise State administrators to hire away Allen and his entire staff (including Al Borges) to Boise State in 1993.
As a junior, Portland State finished 11-3. Charles went 201 of 331 (61%) for 3,527 yards, 41 TDs and only 11 INTs. As a senior, Charles was 194 of 281(69%) for 2,944 yards, 24 TDs and 8 INTs.
Here is some footage of John Charles' quarterbacking exploits vs. Boise State in 1992, running what many regarded as the most complex offense in the nation. Note the variations of offensive formations, tons of 3+ wide, single, 2- and 3-back sets, lots of pre-snap motion, screen passes, reverses and all of it with the QB under center.
Today John Charles runs his own quarterbacking clinic in Camas, Washington called AirOne Quarterback Academy.
Al Borges provides his own testimonial of John Charles below:
"John Charles was one of the finest fundamentals quarterbacks I ever coached. His courage in the pocket and overall understanding of our offense made him one of the finest quarterbacks I've ever coached. He has great communication skills and is a valuable resource to anyone he comes into contact with. I've been fortunate enough to coach four first-round draft picks at the quarterback position. John was as good as any of them."
Prediction for Northwestern: The FEI Forecast for this Saturday is Northwestern 22 – Michigan 21 with a 52% Probable Win Expectation for Northwestern. Another toss up game? NSFMF! FEI is wrong yet again and M wins this one 31 —13. M has the #3 ranked Strength of Schedule and NW is #69 in SoS. In National statistics, M & NW are ranked about equal in scoring offense (#50 & #53) but M is ranked #13 in scoring defense with 16.8 PPG and NW is ranked #43 allowing 24.2 PPG.
Michigan's offense continues to be excellent (4.81 PPPo) against poor teams (AFA, UMass, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota) but has struggled (0.90 PPPo) against every good team (Alabama, ND, MSU, Nebraska). Northwestern would be classified as a poor defensive team.
Fremeau Efficiency Index: Not much movement in the FEI. In the detailed chart below, GE represents the raw data for FEI before adjustments for opponents. M is ranked #28 in GE and overall FEI is #34. This seems about right since M has lost 3 of the 4 games to their highly ranked opponents.
The S&P Ratings (Also from Football Outsiders) is a play based analysis (rather than possession based) and M is ranked #20 overall, #19 in offense, and #20 in defense. The S&P ratings DO include games against non-FBS opponents (go figure).
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in FBS vs. FBS college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.
National Rankings: The rankings for offense and defense are based on scoring (yardage statistics are inherently flawed). These are simply raw numbers without any adjustments for opponent, garbage time, or anything else. The data is from TeamRankings and includes only games between two FBS teams.
FEI Details: Here are the FEI numbers for Michigan and their opponent ( Football Outsiders FEI ).
Points Per Possession: Cumulative PPPo is 2.5 for the offense and 1.5 for the defense. M finished 2011 outscoring opponents by almost a 2:1 margin with PPPo for offense of 2.8 and defense of 1.4. The 2 charts show the raw data for offense and defense with the number of possessions adjusted for "kneel downs" at the half or end-of-game (maximum deduction = 2).
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).
It's Michigan versus Minnesota week, at Minnesota, which means one thing. A University of Michigan quarterback is going to have a career day. In 2008, Nick Sheridan was 18 of 30 for 203 yards and a 127.8 QB rating. In 2006, Chad Henne was 17 of 24 for 284 yards, 3 TDs, and a QB rating of 211.5. That may not have been his best performance, but I don't ever remember seeing a QB rating greater than 200. In 2003, John Navarre was 33 for 47 for 353 yards and 2 TDs. During my college years, we put up these scoring numbers at Minnesota: 49, 52, 58, and 44 ('89, '91, '93, '96.) I guess what I'm saying is, we shouldn't have been surprised by what transpired yesterday, but after that first quarter, I'm betting that I'm not the only one that was shocked by the next three quarters. After 9 consecutive TD-less quarters, we scored 5 in the next 3.
Burst of Impetus
* We stopped Minnesota early on a 4th and 1, but promptly turned the ball over on an INT, so net impetus = 0.
* Michigan started the 2nd quarter trailing Minnesota 7-0, with the ball at our own 9 yard line, due to less than special special teams. Rawls got the ball for 4 of the next 5 plays, and we pushed the ball out to our 34. However, the drive was about to stall as we faced 3rd and 17 from the Minnesota 45. Gardner was chased out of the pocket, did some Gardner things, and found Dileo WIDE open in the end zone. Boom, 7-7. The team collectively took a deep breath, regained their confidence, and controlled the impetus for the rest of the game.
* Minnesota had a chance to get right back in the game in the 3rd quarter, but decided to run a fake FG on 4th and 16. It would have been a great call on 4th and 1 or 2, or even 5, but 4th and 16?
* 22 Michigan defenders recorded a defensive stat, lead by linebackers Kenny Demens and Jake Ryan with 10 and 9 tackles, respectively.
* Our one sack was from a patented Jordan Kovacs heat-seaking-missile style blitz that also forced a fumble. Unfortunately, that was the only pressure on Minnesota's QB, as Michigan registered 0 QHs.
* Michigan recorded 7 TFLs, led by Ryan with 3. He returned to super-human status this week.
* Floyd had 2 pass breakups and Morgan had 1.
* Minnesota was held to only 275 yards total offense. However, they managed to eek out 21 first downs from those meager yards.
Ermahgerd Dehrvern ERMAHGERDNER
* Gardner threw an early INT, but then settled down. That's what experience will do for you.
* He finished 12 of 18 for 234 yards and two TDs passing.
* Gardner also ran 10 times for 21 yards and a TD, but subtracting sacks he was 7 for 44, for a healthy 6.3 YPC. He also showed an ability, time and again, to make the first tackler miss.
* For anyone who thinks height is overrated in a QB, the Devin/Denard case study should be exhibit A. I got the sense that Devin's height allowed him to see open receivers better, particularly on the bomb to Dileo.
Bunches of Funchess
* Michigan receivers had long catches of 47, 45, 47, and 22 yards. It was that kind of day.
* Jeremy Gallon caught four balls for 72 yards and a TD. Chris Martin of the B1G Network continuously criticized Gallon for being inconsistent this season. Has anyone in the MGoUniverse felt like that? Where did that comment even come from? I wouldn't make a big deal of it, if he only said it once, but he must've come back to that three more times during the telecast. Did someone tell Martin that Gallon was a pre-season All-American, or something? I just don't get it. I'll take Jeremy Gallon on my team any day.
And Justice for Rawls
* Is Thomas Rawls our new #1 running back? Except for Toussaint's last run, I'd have to say yes. Rawls had three more carries than Fitz, and they were about even in yards until Fitz' last run. Granted, I'm just a casual fan watching from home, but I see Rawls break tackles, move the pile, and fall forward for extra yards. I see Fitz getting brought down by the first defender he faces.
* Fitz, Rawls, and Gardner all ran for TDs.
Norf and Souf
* Ugh, where do we begin. Our net yards per kickoff was 33.8. Their net was 43.7. Our net punt was 29.3 yards. Their net was 41.3. So every time we had an exchange of punts or kickoffs, they gained the equivalent of a first down.
* Even Norfleet comes in for a little blame this week, as he brought one kickoff out of the endzone that he should have downed. We had a penalty on the play and started the drive at our 9. When you are starting a new QB in the 9th week of the season and he's been practicing at WR all year, I want to give him every chance for success. Starting from the 25 instead of the 9 could have been a big advantage. However, it didn't matter this week as we had scoring drives of 91, 90, 86, 79, and 50 yards.
* Jerry Kill did not appear to agree with a pass interference penalty against his gophers. I hope the lip readers at home weren't easily offended. I tend to think that shoving a WR with both hands in the chest, and then grabbing an arm to prevent the receiver from reaching for the ball is pass interference, but maybe that's just me. The refs may have felt bad for Jerry, because they appeared to give the gophers three make up call PI penalties on a drive later in the game.
* Memo to the B1G Network: No more Chris Martin, please. And by the way, a 45 yard TD pass does not count as a Red zone score. You actually have to be in the red zone for that to occur.
* Minnesota had some great names, lead by Martez Shabazz and their kicker, J. Wettstein. Sorry Minnesota, no little brown jug for you, but at least you have a wet stein. Lincoln Plsek caught a pass, now he just needs to buy a vowel. And Cam Botticelli made three tackles. Somewhere, Elaine Benis is asking why I'm writing about her shoes. (I know that's a stretch, but I had to continue the sitcom theme we've been exploring this year.)
* How about a little game theory from ItBS. Why did Minnesota spike the ball with 16 seconds and two timeouts left in the first half? They proceeded to throw two incomplete passes and miss a 55 yard FG with 2 timeouts still in their pocket. Also, I'd normally agree with Kill going for it on 4th and 1 early from our 40, but under the circumstances, I think you punt the ball and keep the pressure on Gardner.
Outside the Boxscore
* I spent a lot of time last year discussing our myriad uniform combinations - throwbacks, shoulder stripes, pink accents, helmet numbers, etc. Fortunately, I haven't had to go there this year. But I did notice something on the base of the Minnesota players' helmets. It says "Ski-U-Mah." Being the inquisitive sort, I started looking into the origin of this. It dates way back to the old tongue of the Sioux nation. Apparently, Ski-U-Mah is Sioux for "Man without jug."
(fact checkers, knock yourselves out, am going purely off memory)
I walked by the TV my Dad was watching, asked him who was playing. Michigan – Ohio State. About 60,000 in the stands, not a vintage year for UM or Ohio. I watched maybe 3 plays. We lost.
In fact, one week that year Notre Dame, Indiana, and Purdue were all ranked in the top ten.
Purdue, Minnesota, yes, and, Indiana all tied for first. Purdue having gone the year before, it was ineligible for the Rose Bowl.
Next tie-breaker: who went most recently. The Gophers actually subbed for the Buckeyes in 62, when the faculty vote went against Woody, as they saw no reason why Ohio should go out west to play UCLA, having already whomped UCLA out there in the regular season.
Or, maybe they just did not like Woody. You decide.
So, Indiana made its only trip. I believe they were the first second place Big Ten team to lose the Rose Bowl.
That was back in the days when you could rake up the leaves, pile them on the drivewaway, and burn them. Even in the suburbs.
And only one or two UM games were televised each year, so, tend the burning leaves and listen on the radio.
Now, I am a serious Michigan fan.
Now a football player myself, having been way over the CYO weight limit in grade school, with high hopes of running through the tunnel in four years.
The good? I did start both ways.
The bad? We lost all out games.
Listening on the radio. In the upstairs of the neighbors' garage.
UM dropped the opener to Cal, at home, but has won 8 straight.
The Buckeyes are undefeated, consensus #1, the super sophs, who could not play the year before, freshman being ineligible.
Kern. Tatum. Stillwagon, et. al.
Close at the half, 21-14 Ohio.
Then, the roof fell in at Columbus.
48 for Ohio, and Dr. Strangehayes goes for two.
My hatred of Buckeyes begins. Unabated to this day.
I did not know it, but my career had peaked, having been called up to the championship varsity team for a cup of coffee. Though not playing.
My Dad buys us tickets for the showdown.
This is a juggernaut Buckeye team, defending national champs, going for the Big Ten record for consecutive conference wins. They enter the game having never trailed, for even a minute, the entire season.
17 point favorites.
A win sews up back to back titles, as the Rose bowl no repeat rule is still in effect.
If UM wins, they go to the Rose Bowl.
Though WJR sports director Bob Reynolds announced during the week on his 6:15 p.m. Daily radio show that the conference Ads had already voted to send UM
The game is not nationally televised.
My first UM game was a 7-6 loss to Georgia, I think 1965.
(The next time an SEC team ventured north of the Mason-Dixon line was Alabama at Penn State last year.)
I also saw Ron Johnson's record setting performance against Wisconsin in 1968.
Don Canham has taken over as AD and hired Bo when Bump Elliot retired.
Seems hard to believe these days, but NO ONE was marketing college football.
ABC did not even pretend to show the best game each week, and limited the appearances a team could make in one year.
A couple of years later, they telecast Indiana at Wisconsin, 9th and 10th in the league at the time.
Wisconsin won to break a long losing streak, and the fans tore down the goalposts.
So, Canham advertised tickets in Columbus. And sold about 40,000 to Buckeye fans.
I remember having to stop on 94 westbound at 23. Solid Buckeye traffic.
One charter bus covered in a gray blanket with scarlet letters:
Today: Michigan. Tomorrow: The World.
We are there early and seated in plenty of time, for the first sellout of a non MSC game since, who knows.
The Buckeyes score first. They kick the point, but UM is offsides, so Strangehayes goes for two. And misses.
So when we score and kick the point, for the first time that season, Ohio is behind.
Turns out, they were not a come from behind team.
Our 24-12 halftime lead holds up, scoreless second half.
The crowd counts down the clock, the players hoist Bo on their shoulders, and the upset of the century is complete.
And a legend is born.
This time, I sent in for two tickets, take my Dad for his birthday.
One morning he sees in the paper that the game is already sold out, and ruefully apologizes for having missed the boat.
I am delighted to tell him we are covered.
The super sophs are gone, so Ohio is in a rebuilding year. They lose at home to Colorado, MSC, and to Northwestern.
Don't laugh. If you read our media guide, Northwestern was the only ranked team our 11-0 squad beat that year.
The Big Eight reigned, as Nebraska finished #1, Okalahoma #2, and Colorado, losing only to #1 an #2, finished 3rd in the polls.
Why I remember this stuff. . . . . .
So, ten and 0 UM up against 6-3 Ohio. Rose Bowl trip is already sewn up, with narrow win at Purdue the week before.
We trail 7 -3 before getting our only touchdown.
"Touchdown! BIlly Taylor!" one of the most played Ufer recordings. Sprung by a block by FB Fritz Seyferth. What is forgotten is that Fritz made the 4th and one the play before that kept the drive going. As well as scoring our only TD in the Rose Bowl, a 13-12 loss to Stanford.
The Buckeyes are driving when we make the pick that drives Strangehayes into one of his tantrums, breaking the down markers.
We complete an undefeated season.
Overview: the 70s
Bo lost his first game to Sparty. Woody lost at Ann Arbor in 69, 71, tied in 73, and lost in East Lansing in 72 and 74.
He won all the rest of his conference games all those years, plus 1968.
After that MSC loss, Bo lost only to Woody until being upset by one team per year 76-78, and Woody went until a 78 loss to Purdue before losing to a non-Michigan based Big Ten school.
These records will not be duplicated.
And if you think the Big Ten is bad now, after Purdue fell off around 72, the Big Two and Little Eight featured an extremely weak Little Eight.
The way the schedule works, this game is after thanksgiving.
The Ohio game sells out early, again beating my Dad's ticket order.
To get him into the game, I buy the student season tickets of a bunch of friends who are not going to the games.
Back in the day, no student ID required. Students paid half the full price for tickets.
So, I found myself with a bunch of tickets to the other games to sell, and ended up in the ticket broker business through 1981.
So, for the first time, both teams enter the game unbeaten and untied, 10-0.
I am sure I can make a fortune selling tickets on the street the day of the game. But, most students are still home for the holiday weekend, and you can get tickets for face value or less. Another lesson in humility.
Bo gambles early with a pass, which is picked off.
I am told that Bo would say to Woody before the game, “I'm running right. Try and stop me.” Talk about predictible offenses.
Having listened to the replay on WTKA a few years ago, I was struck by one statistic: Ohio penalties: zero. Zip. Nada. Not a one.
Down ten zip in the fourth quarter, fourth and one, as Ufer says, everyone knows it will be Shuttlesworth up the middle, but, No! Franklin takes the ball outside and bootlegs untouched into the end zone!
The crowd reaction is the loudest noise I have heard in my life.
We hold them, get the ball back, and drive for a tying field goal.
And my Dad says, not likely we can score three consecutive possessions, after being shut out all day.
This is the game the Michigan player called time out after an incomplete pass, or out of bounds play. Bo was not happy.
Lantry missed about a 57 yeard FG near the end, but we students all assumed we were going to the Rose Bowl. Ohio had been the year before, conference records even, head to head even.
I was driving home from Ann Arbor when I hear the result of the athletic directors vote. 6 to 4 to send Ohio. By rule, a 5-5 vote would have sent Michigan.
Dennis Franklin broke his collarbone during the game; the Ads did not want to lose to the Pac Eight again in the Rose Bowl, so they voted to send Ohio.
I had trouble maintaining control of my car.
I will see Bert Smith in hell, or know the reason why.
And Ohio went on to beat USC, 42-21. We would have one that game.
I was planning on going to the game in Columbus, but sustained an injury in MSC's victory over Woody.
I was in the student section with my friend, the last time I wore green and white, actually.
Ohio unbeaten, untied, and number one in the country.
13 to 9 Ohio, with a couple minutes left. The punt pins Sparty back at his own 12 yard line.
In a daring call, on first down, Denny Stoltz sends his fullback, Levi Jackson, off tackle. He goes 88 yards for the touchdown. 16-13 MSC leads.
I am thrilled! However, thrilled as I am, I am even more inebriated and am unable to negotiate a landing after jumping in the air, twisting my left ankle.
I was, literally, feeling no pain.
No OT in those days. Woody drives all the way down the field to the one yard line.
No tying field goal for him.
No timeouts. Ohio snaps the ball, one official throws the flag. One official is waiving his hands, snap not off in time, game over. A third official signals touchdown when the Ohio running back crosses the goal line.
It took an hour for the outcome to be determined, as most of the crowd waited. Big Ten commissioner Wayne Duke is at the game, and, the powers that be eventually determine that Sparty has, indeed, pulled off the upset.
My friend abandons me to join the crew that carries off the goal post, to a pre-arranged site where it is cut into souvenir sections for the organized team. Which had pulled off the same feat after the 1972 upset of Ohio.
His brother assists my limping ass back to the dorm.
I forget how I got back to A2; I know I did not drive.
One of my roommates took me to U hospital.
I was sure my ankle was not broken, because I could wiggle my toes.
However, when the doctor moved my foot to the left, I screamed.
When he moved it to the right, I screamed again. When he moved it up, the same result was produced. When he pushed it up, I turned up the volume all the way.
In a cast for a month. No trip to Columbus.
So I watch on TV at the SAE house. Up 10-0 in the first quarter. Awesome.
The defense holds Ohio to four field goals.
We move down for the game winning attempt on the last play. And, the kick was good! Way higher than the upright, and called, no good.
The Denny Franklin years are over, my first 3 years at UM, 30 wins, 2 losses, one tie.
No bowl games.