Certainly it's always much more fun watching Michigan eke out a tight, fourth-quarter victory over a difficult conference foe, or take some highly ranked opponent behind the proverbial woodshed ala '97 Penn State or '06 ND (or ’93 Ohio!!). But sometimes it's nice to relax and just enjoy watching a tomato can get kicked in, beaten, and squashed--especially after a tough couple of games to start the season. So, I've been thinking back to some of Michigan's more enjoyable baby seal clubbings of the past: games in which the opposing team never had a chance going in, and things played out that way on the field. Here are some of my personal favorites from the past 20 years, with links to Wolverine Historian’s videos:
1) Michigan 52, Minnesota 17 (1995): Scott Dreisbach injured himself earlier in the week by getting his fingers caught in a lineman's jersey during a practice rep, so Brian Griese made his first start at Michigan. I couldn't find anything on the web with stats or a game recap or anything, but I remember Griese connecting on several long passes (to whom I don't recall, but our receivers at the time included Toomer, Hayes, a young Tai Streets, and tight ends Jay Riemersma and Jerame Tuman). However, I did find WH's video.
2) Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21 (2010): Say what you want about RichRod, but you have to admit that watching his offense tear apart weaker competition was football crack. UM racked up 721 total yards in that game; Denard had 129 yards on just 5 carries, and just about everyone on the roster got into the game (unfortunately, that included Devin Gardner, whose UM career may wind up being a year shorter because of it). If you want to relive the magic, here’s Wolverine Historian’s video.
3) Michigan 58, Indiana 0 (2000): One of the most flawless performances I've ever personally seen by a Michigan team; UM scored 45 points in the first half, punted only once all game (and for 67 yards!), and shut-out Antwaan Randle El (who had torched us for massive yardage the previous two seasons, almost beating Tom Brady in a 34-31 shootout in 1999). As always, Wolverine Historian is on it.
4) Michigan 49, Michigan State 3 (2002): If you are thinking, “What? MSU can never qualify as a baby seal!” then you probably don’t remember their 2002 team, which was a trainwreck smashing into the mother of all tire fires. But Michigan, angered (and rightly so) by the Spartan Bob/Clockgate heist from the previous year, showed no mercy to the hapless Spartans—beating them so badly that, when it was over, MSU finally put Bobby Williams out of his misery. This demolition was so incredibly epic that WH had to break up his video into two parts. Here’s uno, here’s dos.
5) Michigan 56, Illinois 14 (2003): Arguably the worst Big Ten team of the ‘00s, Ron Turner brought his Fighting Illini (who would finish the season 1-11) to the Big House for what would be its most lopsided thumping of the season. There wouldn’t have really been anything memorable about this game,except for the amazing Steve Breaston reverse-field 74-yard punt return TD (begins at 9:30 of this punt return compilation by WH, which is much more interesting than the rest of the actual game).
Obviously, this diary wouldn’t have been possible (and by “possible,” I mean “any good”) without Wolverine Historian’s videos. So, thanks be to him. And as always, Go Blue!
i could not muster the energy to get UMass' depth chart together here, sorry for that. adjusted the roster with Ryan at 47. depth chart removed countess (sigh) and bumped up Taylor, switched Barnum and Mealer, bumped Gardner up on the WR list. the depth chart does not really reflect game to game injury issues, just season long injuries.
also, the scribd site is down for maintenance right now, so no embed.
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.)
Synopsis for Turnovers: M ended the game with a TOM of –1. That is 2 games in a row with a negative TOM while last year there were only 4 games with negative TOMs (SDSU, NW, Purdue, Iowa). Michigan has a TOM of –4 for the year (ranked #94). Denard was charged with another interception but it was clearly Vincent Smith's poor play that resulted in the tipped ball and subsequent interception. Even with the charged interception, Denard dramatically reduced his interception ratio from 11% in the first game to just 4% in this game. Air Force defied all odds for a triple option offense and ended the game with no lost fumbles (last year AFA was #107 nationally with 15 lost fumbles).
After 2 games, M has not fumbled once (ranked #1) but also has no interception takeaways (ranked #76).
Synopsis for Expected Point (EP) Analysis: M lost the TO battle but won the game (approximately 17% of all college football games are won by the team that loses the TO battle). Without TOs, M would have won by approximately 6.84 points instead of 6 points.
Since Air Force scored a touchdown on the drive after the TO, why is the EP so small? This is where any analysis that relies on "what if" suppositions (as many analyzes do) may provide a less than satisfying result. It was 3-3 on the M44. If the pass had been incomplete, M would have punted on 4-3 at their own 44. Thus, M did not lose any EP because they would have still given up the ball on the next play. AFA took over on their own 44 instead of at their own 20 (assuming a net punt of 36 yards). Therefore AFA only gained the advantage of 24 yards of field position which results in just 0.84 EP. If the assumption is that Smith would have caught the pass for a first down then M would have lost an additional 2.35 EP for a total of 3.19 lost EP.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: There is almost unanimous consensus that games against non-FBS opponents distort the statistics and muck up the analysis of data. Therefore, 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
Details for Turnovers: Here is overall summary for all games by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game).
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 2007-2011 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)
Today, on September 11, it's appropriate to celebrate some of the many of the things America does right. Fast food. Trucks. Big budget Hollywood epics full of explosions and ridiculous violence. God Bless the USA.
One of the things we're also great at is raising up heroes... and tearing them down. At least since the rise of Elvis, our nation, and particularly the national media, has had a knack for elevating our heroes to impossible standards, and then lambasting them when then they fail to live up to those expectations. But it's not just the media. We, the public, buy into the hype. It's dangerously easy to feel entitled to the type of expectations that arise from public perception. We defend the frantic need to be more entertained than we had been by the previous outing. Think Iron Man 2. Nucky Thompson. The Green Album.
Team 133 did not vote themselves #8 in the country. They did not write the team preview and send it to Athlon Sports. And they most certainly can't be faulted for trying their best yet not performing the way we wanted them too. For not picking up where a somewhat lucky and over-achieving team left off. We're AAAAAWWWLLL guilty of it, myself included-- but maybe that's a positive thing to emerge this week, the idea that whatever we expect from this team this year may very well not be what we receive.
I'm currently working on several strips right now, so on Thursday we'll either see how Tom likes to rant about the team's perceived shortcomings or Desmond will meet a famous singer/songwriter.
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
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
This diary is an attempt to answer the following question:
Can the results of the Michigan/Notre Dame and Michigan State/Notre Dame football games be used to predict the results of the Michigan/Michigan State game?
State plays Notre Dame before we do this year. I thought that was unusual, but I wanted to see just how unusual it was. From there, I thought it would be interesting to compare the results of the games between the three teams on any given year, and see how closely related UM's and MSU's performances against Notre Dame can be matched to their performances against each other.
I decided to look back at the last 20 years in which Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame all played each other. In 2000 and 2001 MSU played ND but Michigan did not. In 1995 and 1996 neither MSU nor UM played ND. Therefore the data spans from 1988 from 2011 with a few gaps in between.
|Year||First||ND-UM Result||ND-MSU Result||MOV Diff||UM-MSU result||MOV|
|2011||UM||UM-35 nd-31||ND-31 msu-13||22||MSU-28 um-14||-14|
|2010||UM||um-28 ND-24||MSU-34 nd-31 (OT)||1||msu-34 UM-17||-17|
|2009||UM||UM-38 nd-34||ND-33 msu-30||7||MSU-26 um-20 (OT)||-6|
|2008||UM||ND-35 um-17||MSU-23 nd-7||-34||msu-35 UM-21||-13|
|2007||UM||UM-38 nd-0||msu-31 ND-14||21||um-28 MSU-24||4|
|2006||UM||um-47 ND-21||nd-40 MSU-37||29||UM-31 msu-13||18|
|2005||UM||nd-17 UM-10||msu-44 ND-41 (OT)||-10||um-34 MSU-31 (OT)||3|
|2004||UM||ND-28 um-20||nd-31 MSU-24||-1||UM-45 msu-37 (OT)||8|
|2003||UM||UM-38 nd-0||msu-22 ND-16||32||um-27 MSU-20||7|
|2002||UM||ND-25 um-23||nd-21 MSU-17||2||UM-49 msu-3||46|
|2001||n/a||DNP||msu-17 ND-10||MSU-26 um-24*||-2|
|2000||n/a||DNP||MSU-27 nd-21||UM-14 msu-0||14|
|1999||UM||UM-26 nd-22||msu-20 ND-13||-3||MSU-34 um-31||-3|
|1998||UM||ND-36 um-20||MSU-45 nd-23||-38||UM-29 msu-17||12|
|1997||MSU||UM-21 nd-14||msu-23 ND-7||-9||um-23 MSU-7||16|
|1994||UM||um-26 ND-24||nd-21 MSU-20||3||UM-40 msu-20||20|
|1993||UM||nd-27 UM-23||ND-36 msu-14||8||MSU-17 um-7||-10|
|1992||UM||ND-17 um-17||nd-52 msu-31||21||UM-35 msu-10||25|
|1991||UM||UM-24 nd-14||ND-49 msu-10||49||um-45 MSU-28||17|
|1990||UM||ND-28 um-24||nd-20 MSU-19||-3||msu-28 UM-27||-1|
|1989||UM||nd-24 UM-19||ND-21 msu-13||3||um-10 MSU-7||3|
|1988||UM||ND-19 um-17||nd-20 MSU-3||15||UM-17 msu-3||14|
First notes which team (MSU or UM) played Notre Dame first that year.
HOME TEAMS are in bold. Each series alternates sites yearly, and the three series are synced up such that each team has one home and one away game. Rather well done on the part of whoever made that work.
MOV Diff is the difference in margin of victory of the two Michigan schools over Notre Dame, with MSU's MOV subtracted from Michigan's MOV. A higher number means Michigan did better against Notre Dame than State did. A negative number indicates State did better against ND. Example:
1997: UM defeats ND 21-14: MOV 7. MSU defeats ND 23-7: MOV 16. MOV Diff = 7-16 = -9.
MOV is Michigan's margin of victory over Michigan State in the UM-MSU game. A negative number indicates Michigan lost
DNP means the teams in question did not play each other that year.
* This game gets an asterisk because it was BULLSHIT. That is all.
I PROCESS INFORMATION BETTER GRAPHICALLY THAN I DO TEXTUALLY DO YOU THINK MAYBE WE COULD HAVE A SCATTER PLOT?
HEY THAT'S TRENDING UPWARD
Just barely. It's more like a shotgun blast than a linear trend.
- When Michigan outperforms State in MOV Diff, Michigan beats State 69.2% of the time. When Michigan does NOT outperform state in MOV Diff, Michigan beats State 57.1% of the time. That's a slight correlation.
- When Notre Dame splits its series against Michigan and State, the team that beat Notre Dame is the team that wins the UM/MSU game exactly 50% of the time. That's zero correlation.
- When Michigan comes out on top of the split it goes on to beat State 60% of the time. When State comes out on top it beats Michigan 33.3% of the time. Overall Michigan has beaten State 62.% of the time.
- When Notre Dame beats both Michigan schools, Michigan beats State 77.8% of the time, and when Notre Dame loses to both, Michigan beats State 60% of the time.
- MOV Diff and MOV are within two touchdowns of each other 9 times out of 20. The other 11 times they are further apart. The most extreme disagreement was in 1998 when Notre Dame beat Michigan by 16, then fell to MSU by 22... but then Michigan beat State 29-17.
BULLET POINTS THAT ARE SORT OF FUN BUT NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE ORIGIONAL QUESTION
- Michigan's Head-to-Head record against Notre Dame since 1988: 10-9-1
- Michigan State's Head-to-Head record against Notre Dame since 1988: 10-12. State's actually 10-5 against ND since their 1995-1996 break; before that MSU hasn't beaten Notre Dame since 1986.
- Michigan's Head-to-Head record against Michigan State since 1988: 15-9**
- State playing ND before Michigan does is indeed highly unusual: it's only happened once in the last 24 years - in 1997. That's right: Every time MSU plays Notre Dame before Michigan does, Michigan wins a National Championship.
- Since Overtime began in 1996, the UM/MSU game has gone to overtime three times, the MSU/ND game has gone to overtime twice, and the UM/ND game never has.
**but one of those losses was BULLSHIT.
YOUR STATISTICS ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD
Pretty much, but I spent all this time making the graph and there hasn't been a new diary in two days so I'm posting it anyhow.
SUPPOSING FOR A MOMENT THAT I TOOK THESE STATS SERIOUSLY WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Well, first of all since we're playing Notre Dame after State does: National Championship. I mean, it's right there in the data. Apart from that, if State beats Notre Dame and then Notre Dame beats us don't panic - of the 3 times that's happened in the past 20 years we've gone on to beat State twice anyhow. Likewise don't get too confident if Notre Dame beats State but loses to us. Don't put a lot of stock into the Michigan schools' respective margins of victories in the two games against Notre Dame - more often than not, it turns out to be meaningless when Michigan and State take the field against each other.
- Denard looks like he is indeed much improved as a passer. His throws were mostly accurate lasers and his ball placement looked very good.
- The Devins create a bit of a problem for the opposing defense and are a wonderfully athletic duo to have. Hopefully they will be a mismatch in our favor the rest of the year.
- Toussaint does not look ready for prime-time. In fact, he looked slow and indecisive.
- Troy Calhoun seems to have a problem down under. I can't recall ever seeing anyone grab their junk so much on national television.
- Funchess - Looked the part of the athletic freak mismatch, hauling in 4 passes for 106 yards and his first Michigan TD (congrats). We may have a very special talent here.
- Gardner - Was much improved in his routes it appeared, reeled in another TD and generally looked like a receiver.
- Norfleet - Didn't bust one but you can feel it coming. Ran one back to the 36 but must have ran 72 yards to get there.
- Denard - Gets his 20 carries when he is about as big as anyone on the opposing defense; made the most of them. 200+ yards rushing and passing. Should have had no INTs too. Please stay healthy.
- Troy Calhoun's Crabs - Proved just distracting enough to let Michigan escape his clutches. Hard to clutch anything when one hand is so constantly occupied.