At long last, ESPN released their 2014 rankings, which means I no longer have an excuse to not put this together. With a new recruiting cycle comes some changes to the rankings:
- Between the addition of two teams (Rutgers and Maryland) to these rankings in the past year, the Irish falling off the schedule after 2014, and reading the same damn comment every week, it's settled... to hell with Notre Dame.
- Gone is the rudimentary points system. In its place, I'm using the 247 Composite Rankings, which combines data from all four recruiting services into, well, composite rankings. This not only gives an unbiased and comprehensive overview of each team's standing in the conference, but by adding the national ranking we get an idea of where the teams stand in the bigger picture and where the largest gaps are between teams in the conference.
- Using the 247 Composite Rankings again, I've added columns in the top table for the number of five-, four-, and three-star prospects in each team's class.
If you've got any suggestions, please leave a comment or send me an email. Without further ado...
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|247 Comp. Rank (Ovr)||School||# Commits||5*||4*||3*||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
|2 (9)||Ohio State||7||0||5||2||3.43||3.71||3.86||3.43||3.61|
|4 (19)||Penn State||6||0||2||4||3.17||3.33||3.33||3.33||3.29|
|5 (20)||Michigan State||6||0||0||6||3.17||3.33||3.50||3.00||3.25|
^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.
On to the full data after the jump.
I thought it would be interesting to see how the B1G teams fared against each other with number of players drafted and what rounds they went in. Overall, it was not a good year for the B1G with only 22 players selected and just one making into the first round. I created a table that shows the number of players drafted from each team, then assigned points based on the round drafted to come up with a point total for each B1G team. I used the following numbers: first rounders were given 7 points, second rounders 6 points, and so on. Obviously the point totals are open to debate. Is a first rounder really worth the same as as 7 seventh rounders? Who's to know? Anyway, with this metric I devised, Michigan ended up with a total of 5 points based on Denard's fifth round selection (3 points) and Will's sixth round selection (2 points). Obviously, had Taylor Lewan entered the draft, Michigan's score would have been much higher. As Lewan would have almost surely gone in the first round, that would have made Michigan's point total 12, good enough for fourth place, just ahead of Ohio.
I went ahead and threw in Rutgers and Maryland at the end of the chart just out of curiosity. If Rutgers were in the B1G this year, they would have topped the conference both with number of players drafted as well as point total.
2013 NFL Draft: B1G Edition
Edit: Corrected based on FlintB16's post
TIE YOUR LACES
(Click the Image to See Full Size Version)
Four years. Not all of them great, mind you-- but every one of them had their share of magic. I think I already said "Okay, this is the last strip about Shoelace" or something to that effect about three times now-- but I couldn't help myself. One last hurrah, before Denard Xavier Robinson puts on the cap of another football team, and closes a chapter in his life and another in ours.
Tomorrow's Friday Fun will be a drawing that has something to do with Michigan.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every week here at MGoBlog and on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out the Friday Fun, my weekly single panel comic based on trending Michigan events, available on Twitter and the home page every Friday.
The Michigan Difference: seeking input on offseason article topics and the first request being about punting and then getting a quick second! Ask and you shall receive.
MGoUser stubob asked whether or not outkicking the coverage on punts was a real thing and if there was an optimal distance to kick the punt. To look at this I looked at all “returnable” punts. Punts kicked from at least the 20 yards and that did not go further than the opponent’s 10 yard line and occurred in the first half of the game unless otherwise noted.
Unsurprisingly from the original hypothesis, the longer the punt, the longer the average punt return.
Average return yards/punt given punt distance
Initially, it does look like longer punts yield longer returns. Of note though is that the slope is significantly flatter than a 1 for 1 trade. The rough slope is that for every four yards of distance you add to the punt, you give back a single yard of average return (not counting touchbacks). This accounts for the average case, but doesn’t address the risk and variance.
The Big Return
Percent of returns going 10+ yards (Blue) and for TDs (Yellow)
Again, the data backs up the conventional wisdom on long punts. A 55+ yard punt has a one in four chance of coming back at least 10 yards. With an average return of 7+ yards this isn’t much of a surprise. The longer returns aren’t just a function of more space between the punting team and the return team. But even with smaller sample sizes, there is a strong trend between likelihood of a touchdown and the length of the punt. Even though the total odds of a 55+ yard punt getting returned for a touchdown is about 1 in 75, that is about 3 times the rate of a 30-35 yard punt.
If you look at the net implications of these two charts, the long term strategy clearly points to kicking it as far as you can, concerns be damned. Even when you factor in touchbacks, the odds of a punt netting 40 yards goes up dramatically the longer the kick.
Percent of punts netting 40+ yards by punt distance
55+ yards net over 40 yards nearly 9 out of 10 times, nearly 50% more than a 40 yard kick. Outkicking the coverage isn’t a valid enough fear to push for any decision other than kicking it long, except possibly in a late game situation where the small but increased risk of a touchdown on the return becomes more highly leveraged.
The Spread Punt
One of the few questionable decisions the Hoke era has produced has been the refusal to move to the spread punt. While I don’t have data on which teams have converted to the spread punt when, but if you trend punting data over the last 10 years, its clear that something is happening.
Average return yards per punt by season, excluding touchbacks
Over the last ten years, the average return yards per punt has decreased by 42%.
Percent of punts returned 10+ yards (Blue) and TDs (Yellow)
Just like above, the move towards lower return yards corresponds with a lower rate of long returns. The real indication of change comes next.
Gross (Blue) and Net (Yellow) punting (including touchbacks)
This generally otherwise uneventful chart shows that over the last ten years both gross and net punting have improved nearly every season. Not only has net punting improved, but it has improved at a rate faster (10.3% cumulative) than that of the gross punting (5.6%), which is the exact opposite effect you would expect based on the fundamental connection between punt distance and punt return yardage. This indicates that over the last 10 years there has been a shift in the basic nature of both the punt and the punt return. Correlation and causation and all that, but this is a pretty clear indicator that the widespread adoption of the spread punt formation has been a huge win for the punting teams.
If we make the weak but directional assumption that 2003 = Traditional Punt and 2012 = Spread Punt, the formation is worth about 3.5 yards per net punt and a 50% reduction in punt return touchdowns. Otherwise of note is that the block rate has dropped along a similar slope from 2.6% in 2003 to 1.0% in 2012. So net punting up, gross punting up, punt returns down, punt returns touchdowns down and punt blocks are down. Whatever has happened between 2003 and 2012 let’s hope Michigan is on board.
Ok, here's a few wallpapers for the offseason (as if you don't already have a bevy to choose from). Hope you like them!
NEW! Stadium Wallpaper - 16:9 Desktop
Hoke Points (Artsy) 16:9 Desktop
Hoke Points (Victors Stripe) 16:9 Desktop
Devin Spotlight (Cut-out) 16:9 Desktop
As per usual, I'm lazy and don't have mobile versions done yet. I WILL WORK ON THAT. In the meantime, enjoy. BTW, Artsy Hoke is on my desktop right now.
This summer I'm going to the Pantanal region of Brazil with a small group of Michigan alums and current students to teach orchestral music at an orphanage. We're trying to raise money for various pieces of the project, including instruments, maintenance, accessories (stands, bows, etc), living costs for the teachers, and others. Our fundraising site has a lot more info on the project and is at the link here: http://www.indiegogo.
The Nazaré Orphanage in rural Brazil is home to sixty boys whose lives have been scarred by domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Orphanage founder Father Joaquim Tébar secured a donation of numerous violins, violas, and cellos to teach the children music. Tragically, he died before he could turn his idea into reality. We began this project to carry on his vision to bring music to lives that have known little else but adversity and hardship.
While working to set up workshops with the kids at Nazaré on public health, CPR, English, and sustainable technologies last summer, the director revealed a room full of stringed instruments that were collecting dust. We immediately decided to start putting them to use, and did our best to give some basic string lessons. The excitement and energy this brought out of the kids was immediately apparent, and we couldn’t help but want to see it continue. This summer we plan to expand the program into a full string orchestra through daily rehearsals over a two month period.
The Pantanal Music Exchange (PME) aims to cultivate creativity in the lives of these boys. We want the project to grow out of the excitement of the kids, so much of the music we teach will be pop and traditional songs that the kids know and want to learn, a model we had great success with last summer. Local support and involvement is crucial, and we are working with musicians and community members in Poconé so that the program can continue and grow even while we're not there. We're currently organizing partnerships with other youth orchestra programs in both Brazil and America.
We have built a team of dedicated individuals to lead PME, including regional experts, local Brazilian musicians, energetic college students, and recent graduates. All of us have been playing, writing, and teaching music for over a decade. Those who didn’t grow up speaking Portuguese have worked hard to learn it over the past year. We are also a relatively young group, which should help the kids relate to us and see us as role models.
I think MGoBlog users will be interested in the project for a couple of reasons. It helps rep UM in an area that doesn't get a lot of attention and exposure, it's just generally good for the world (which MGoBloggers are usually in favor of), and this video (warning: small cute children playing the Victors sort of poorly):
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d love if you would be able to donate or even just pass on to your networks. I’m at [email protected].