The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
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.
Very little action in the rankings this week—the lone new commit goes to Notre Dame, which is slowly closing the gap on Michigan at the top of the big board. Changes since the last rankings:
9-7-12: Notre Dame picks up Doug Randolph.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (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.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
To eliminate any confusion about how the rankings are determined (to be honest, they used to be arbitrary), team order is determined by multiplying the number of commits by star average.
On to the full data after the jump.
I am subdued. I am lethargy, personified. I died the death of 1000 cuts in the form of 71 carries, all of which went for exactly 4.1 yards, except I survived. Arkansas didn’t. Wisconsin didn’t. That’s worth remembering. I’m not sure what more I can add to Ace’s game recap. This game was one giant serving of déjà vu. Replace Air Force with Indiana and a ball control running game with a ball control passing game and we’ve been here before.
Burst of Impetus
- Air Force didn’t turn the ball over, but they only went 2 for 5 on fourth down. They missed a field goal, and were stopped on a fake field goal. That’s six points. That’s the margin of victory. Ugh.
- Denard threw an interception that once again deflected off a receiver’s hands. AF turned that into 7 points.
- The key sequence of the game to me was the start of the third quarter. Denard ran for a TD to put us up 21-10. We followed that up with a nice kickoff and a derpity return from AF. They were starting at their own 11. If we hold them there, get the ball back and score, game almost over, right? Instead, they ran for 20 and picked up another 10 on a defensive holding call (discussed below). All of a sudden, they’re at midfield. They eventually punched it in after moving 88 yards in 14 plays and we’ve got a ballgame on our hands.
- That’s not a misprint. That’s this blogger’s way of saying our defense does not have an identity. Last year’s unit was an aggressive, attacking, sometimes reckless, blitzing group, that was lead by trash cans full of dirt Martin, Van Bergen, and Heininger. Additionally, we had Kovacs eliminating the long gains from the Gerg years, and Thomas Gordon creating turnovers, again and again. Kovacs and Gordon are still around, but the turnovers have disappeared. Regression to the mean sucks.
- What do we have this year? Some experienced, but limited seniors, and some talented, but inexperienced freshman. In addition to tackles, the defensive stats are: FF FR-Yd Intc BrUp Blkd Sack/Yds QH. Look down those columns. Go ahead, I’ll wait. This is what you see. “ . . . .“ Lots and lots of dots. There were two pass breakups by Jake Ryan in the last three defensive plays of the game, and one by Frank Clark. That’s it. That’s to be expected somewhat since Air Force mostly ran the ball, but even the TFLs were limited. We had 7 TFLs for a grand, stinking total of 9 yards. Where is the aggressive, attacking unit of 2011? Yeah, I know Martin and Van Bergen are no longer around, but where are the run blitzes from the safeties and corners? Why weren’t we attacking the edge instead of letting Air Force continually get to the boundary?
- Seven of the 22 players in the defensive stats are freshmen or redshirt freshmen. I get the feeling Mattison is trying to develop some depth for the conference schedule. Compare this to Air Force, who only had 12 players register a defensive stat. Time of possession is meaningless, but total plays matter. It looks like Air Force was able to play their first string defense for the entire game.
- Wow, wasn’t Denard’s first TD run exciting (and reminiscent of the 2010 IU game?) Oh, who am I kidding, my power went out for the first quarter and I missed it. It reminded me of last year’s home opener where I missed the fourth quarter, because they didn’t play it. For next year’s home opener, I will be occupying a bunker in an undisclosed location.
- Denard has 200/200 vision. 200+ yards running and passing. As someone commented after the game, he had 101% of our total offense, because the -11 yards he accrued for the end of game kneel downs go as “TEAM” yards.
- The home plate umpire in the Tiger-Angel game took a foul ball off the face mask and had to leave the game. That’s a suitable reminder that the men who officiate our games have a difficult job, so I’ll make the annual disclaimer that I don’t really think the refs are zonkeys.
- The thing that stood out to me was that Air Force got 4 first downs from penalties. We were having enough trouble stopping them, giving them four more first downs with penalties is inexcusable. Two of our defensive penalties were holding calls on Will Campbell. Since that is such a rarely called penalty, I watched those plays several times in slow-motion. On both, the center engages with Campbell, and the guard comes over to double team. This causes Campbell to get pancaked. As he’s falling, he grabs the center’s shoulder pad with one hand, to break his fall. On the first one, the guard hits him low and this should have been called an offensive penalty for a chop block. While both were technically holding, they were no different than almost any other play, and both Air Force runs went to the sideline. Campbell’s holds were half a field away from the action and had zero impact on the play.
- On Air Force’s first TD, they broke out a play from the CFL playbook, as the flanker (A-back?) stepped back, turned around, and had a running start forward as the ball was snapped. The fact that it happened right in front of the line judge only further boggles my mind. How is that call missed?
Passing Game Stuff
- Funchess gets my brother’s stamp of approval. Mine too, but I will not compare him to Antonio Gates to avoid getting negged by Magnus. (My first ever neg was from Magnus for comparing Cam Gordon to Ronnie Lott. You never forget your first time. When I screw up, I really screw up.) Funchess caught four balls for 106 yards and 1 TD. I’m sure you’ve seen the Jerame Tuman comparison by now.
- Gardner looked more like a WR, probably because he wasn’t being defended by Milliner, but also because his routes were more precise and shorter. There was none of that looking over both shoulders stuff from a week ago. He caught 5 balls for 63 yards with a long of 20 and a TD.
- Jeremy Jackson looked like a nice big target to me. Roundtree still doesn’t look 100%. When you can’t get separation from an Air Force DB, something’s wrong.
- Michigan wore traditional jerseys with maize block Ms on their socks. I liked it.
- Air Force apparently only recruits guys named “Freedom” and “Service.” I think all the odd numbered guys had “Service” and all the even numbered guys had “Freedom.” I hope that didn’t give Brandon any ideas. (Leaders/Legends? No, don’t go there, please, no.)
- Royce Jenkins-Stone is our 2ndhexadecimalist of the year, showing up as 5B.
- Jake Ryan wore the #47 Bennie Oosterbaan jersey. My brother requested that I research Oosterbaan and provide some interesting connection between Jake and Bennie. I reminded him I’m not getting paid for this. I do remember J.P. Oosterbaan, but I’m afraid Bennie was before my time.
Announcers’ Derpity Derp
- The announcers were Bob Wischusen and Danny Kanell. Like I said, I missed the 1stquarter due to the power outage, and spent the 2ndquarter talking to my brother, which was weird because he DVR’d the game and was 20 minutes behind me, so I couldn’t tell him how great Funchess was doing.
- After the game, Danny Kanell said something about Michigan fans being anxious about the game “if you just read the boxscore.” As your resident boxscorologist, it is my job to assuage your anxiety. Sorry, I got nothin’ for you this week.
- I got a light blue screen of death with 2+ minutes left in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, they got the game back on in time for us to see Jake Ryan take over. I know we’re supposed to avoid politics on the blog, but I watched major portions of both conventions and I don’t recall hearing one speaker discuss our nation’s most pressing issue – that being technical difficulties disrupting college football games.
I’ll Take Bullets for a Thousand, Alex
- Did someone forget to tell Fitz Toussaint that his suspension was over? Maybe we didn’t miss him that much against Alabama.
- Total plays: M 56, AF 90. Total first downs: M: 19, AF: 26.
- Look at the 2010 Indiana boxscore, total first downs: M: 15, IU: 35. Ace, things aren't that bad.
- Air Force gained 417 yards. Last week, Alabama got 431 yards of total offense. I said I would be happy if we held the rest of our opponents under this total. I lied.
- Our opponent’s bullets are real bullets. I wish all those guys nice, long careers in peace time.
- Toward the end of last season, I made the audacious claim that “we haz special teams.” Norfleet and Wile are doing well, and Gibbons made a field goal. The net yards per punt was only 31.3 yards. Part of that is a reflection of where we were punting from, but we also lost 20 yards of gross yardage due to a touchback.
- Air Force’s average yards per punt was 53.5 yards, with a net of 53.0. What happened to Gallon’s ~10 yards per return average? It’s still early in the season, but punt coverage and punt returns need some work.
- Last week, I discussed “Sweet Home Alabama.” Earlier this year, I reviewed last season with Iron Maiden songs. This blog celebrates with Muppets and drowns sorrows with Morrissey. So I’m going to try adding this section to the diary. Last week, my Johnny Cash Pandora station played, “Sunshine on my Shoulder,” by John Denver. Growing up, my family had John Denver sings with the Muppets on 8-track tape. We wore that thing out. Denver is in Colorado, Air Force is in Colorado, and the home opener was just around the corner. This line from the song took me back to those home openers I used to enjoy so much with Dad, in Section 11, Row 74, seats 5 and 6: “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.” It seemed like every home opener was sunny and warm, and the day ended with half my face sunburned and a victory, because Bo always won those home openers. The next line is, “Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.” What made me cry was the cigar smoke from the guys in Row 73, seats 5 and 6. Sometimes, déjà vu’s not such a bad thing.