“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Learn from yesterday...
So that happened. I had promised myself before the game that I wasn't going to get all emotionally invested in the outcome. I could feel the disappointment coming all week. Iowa was coming off of a loss that made them look much worse than they really are and Michigan was traveling to their house. Michigan was coming off of a "validating" win over an overmatched Purdue squad, were already assured of a bowl invite, and had equaled last year's win total already. There was no question which team had the most to play for and the game was sure to reflect that. No surprise: it did.
I was actually impressed that Michigan picked themselves up and made just enough plays to give themselves a chance to win in the end. All things being equal, this game should have hinged on a 2pt conversion attempt and possible overtime. Of course at Kinnick all things are seldom equal, and the refs took matters in to their own hands in this one. The pass interference non-calls were bad enough, (I especially liked the one that led to Denard's interception and the last play of the game, oh - and the one that they called and then picked up the flag) but the gutless decision to rob Hemingway of his TD with 7 seconds left was just obscene. The league should force retirement on the guy in the booth at the least.
So I ended up invested emotionally despite my intent not to be, because this team deserves it. They came out flat, without focus, dropped passes, missed reads, and generally played as poorly as the circumstances would predict - and stood up when they had to and made plays. They made big 3rd and 4th down stops on defense. The offense woke up and drove down the field in the 4th quarter. They gave themselves a chance. And when the refs took the game away in the end, I raged at the unfairness of it all, but I was not surprised.
Live for Today…
Several players/coaches should take particular pride in their accomplishments yesterday:
- The Defense - Stood tall after looking like they would be getting gashed early. Gave up only 302 yards to Iowa in the end and kept Michigan in the game. Individual players were victimized at times but as a unit the defense played very well.
- Kelvin Grady - Made two clutch grabs towards the end of the game to keep Michigan driving. Really all of the receivers deserve note, even Hemingway who made the potentially game-tying catch in circus-style only to have it ripped away by terrible officiating.
- Denard Robinson - Finally had the light go on in the 4th quarter after playing somewhat slow through the first three. Took command of the game with this arm and his legs in crunch time. Interception wasn't his fault IMHO as it looked to me like his receiver was being tackled before the ball got there. Trying to do to much and leaving the ball on the turf was frustrating, but Denard wouldn't be special if he wasn't trying to do too much.
- Kenny Demens - Seemed to always be in on the tackles in the middle which bore out in the box score (11 tackles). Stood up to Coker on 3rd and short, giving Michigan new life.
Greg Mattison - We have a defense and it makes a world of difference. Mattison is earning his big paycheck.
Hope for Tomorrow
I saw nothing yesterday that diminishes my hope for 9 wins this season and a New Year Day bowl game. Yes, the division crown is out of reach, but that may prove to be good for Michigan's mindset going forward. It certainly takes some of the pressure off, hopefully allowing this team to play loose and take 2/3 down the stretch (or better).
This team isn't a world beater. After watching Alabama-LSU last night the difference is night-and-day. What is equally true is that no team upcoming on our schedule is really better than us either. Illinois has less talent and is Coached by the Zooker. Nebraska just lost to JNW at home and has to come to our house. Ohio looks worse than any time I can remember and is coming to our place as well. This team, and this group of seniors, is hungry. Hungry for success, for a better record than last year, for a win over Ohio, for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
I think they will make us proud.
Go Blue and stay safe.
Original Picture Pages here. Analysis courtesy Brian, as usual. Now the slo-mo works but I'm back to non-lower-case lower case letters. Whatever.
Setup: Borges is setting up 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situations. On the play prior to this one, Michigan sent Hemingway, Roundtree, and Grady to varying depths along the left sideline. The corner stepped up to take away Hemingway (running the middle depth of the three routes), but Roundtree beat the safety to the outside for a big gain. This play is designed to get one man open no matter which way the corner plays.
Wha'hoppon: Gallon is split left, Denard in the slot right, and Hemingway split right. Pre-snap, Junior motions in, and the defensive reaction reveals zone. On the snap, Gallon runs, well, I'm not sure - it might be a streak, or a fly, or a post, or a post-corner (#7). One safety steps up into a robber zone and the other forms a Cover-3 with the corners. Gallon's corner runs with him and the safety comes over. Hemingway runs what starts out as a deep in, I think (#6?), but continues it all the way across the field, getting free of the robber and being wide open in the spot vacated by the corner. The LBs are occupied by the threat of the end-around first, then a potential Denard wheel route second, which prevents them from dropping into the passing lane. Gardner finishes both fakes, has a quick lunch, tweets "no1 w/in 10yds of me lol wide open" and proceeds to throw into double coverage towards Gallon. Armpunt.
Full YouTubage at http://youtu.be/9gADYsUMVN8.
Scrape the frost off the car and pour some hot coffee if you're headed out early! We'll be sitting in the 30s until 8am, winds out of the southeast at 10mph- and climbing. 45 degrees by 10am, but it'll still feel about 5 degrees cooler with the wind chill. By 10am, winds will have gone up to a steady 15mph with gusts up to 20mph (loose paper blows about, small twigs scatter across the ground).
Remember it's an 11 o-clock CT start! Partly sunny skies and 49 degrees for the start of the game. Winds will have picked up to 15mph, gusts up to 20mph (small trees sway), still out of the southeast.
Warming up just a bit with more clouds building in- but no rain! Mostly cloudy and 52 by halftime, and those SE winds are still climbing. 17mph winds, complete with gusts up to 25mph (empty plastic garbage cans tip over, you can hear the wind "whistling").
Hitting 54 degrees around game's end with mostly sunny skies. SSE winds continue with a steady 17-18mph flow, and gusts remain up to 25mph (you need to use effort to walk against the wind). Winds will stay up through the night into early afternoon Sunday. Temperatures stay mild with all that warm air streaming in- staying in the 50s throughout the entire night, just touching in the upper 40s before Sunday's sunrise. Cloud cover decreases in the evening for partly cloudy skies, which will continue into tomorrow- dry, but windy, conditions whether you're leaving for home after the game or Sunday.
If you're staying home... Not quite as warm (we'll see the warmer, windier weather Sunday) as Iowa, but still a fantastic day! Temperatures in the upper 20s until 9am (yep, it's November), then warming quickly to 42 degrees by noon. Ann Arbor will see a high of 51 degrees, with mostly sunny skies. Winds will be out of the southeast at about 10mph all day. By 9pm, mostly clear skies let us get back down into the 30s, so grab that coat as you're headed out for some late-night celebrating! Go Blue and have safe travels, or fun watching here at home! And don't forget to turn your clocks back!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
Wisconsin continued its slide down the rankings. Michigan State and Clemson pick up a loss and drop out of the Top 10. The leaderboard was full of people who had picked those three teams last week so this caused a big shakeup in the Pick Six standings.
Elsewhere in the country, the Texas schools, A&M and Tech, both dropped out of the rankings. That leaves Houston as the only school from Texas ranked in the AP poll. I wonder when the last time there was no Texas school ranked. Is it possible we’ll see that happen this year? Probably not. Who is going to beat Houston?
Georgia Tech and Auburn get back into the rankings, so no new unranked teams this week. Southern Miss is hanging on right at the edge of the poll. A weak team could drop out and put USM into the poll for the first time since 2004.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Despite all the losses last week, the perfect ballot hasn’t actually changed teams. It is still LSU, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Southern Cal and Clemson. It has dropped from 109 points last week to 97 points this week though.
We have two new leaders this week. AMazinBlue and orobs climbed up to first place with slightly different entries. They both have Alabama, Stanford, Arkansas and Michigan as their unranked team. In Group D and E they made different choices though. AMazinBlue chose Michigan State and West Virginia which was worth the same amount as orobs’ choice of Georgia and Southern Cal.
At the complete opposite end of the leaderboard, there are now five people who have the absolute lowest possible number of points. All five picked Oklahoma for 19 points and all their other picks are unranked.
Judging your Picks
Last week the MGoBlogosphere had the unfortunate shame of having a worse median ballot than a completely random one. Fortunately this week we’ve improved to the same as a random ballot.
Someone who made their picks completely randomly would expect to earn 51 points. The median of the Pick Six entries is 52 points and the mean is 51 points.
Weekly Brian Watch
I have not given an update on how Brian has been doing in a while. It happened to coincide with a slide down the rankings
|5||52||87||Everything looking good|
|6||70||79||Texas was blown out by Oklahoma|
|7||84||77||Texas loses to Oklahoma State|
|8||307||58||West Virginia loses to Syracuse! Wisconsin gets close loss to Michigan St|
|9||551||52||Wisconsin loses to Ohio State|
He now has undefeated Boise State and Stanford with one good win (USC) between them but no really good wins. Then Wisconsin, West Virginia and Texas all have two losses with one combined good win (Nebraska) and Notre Dame has 3 losses with one good win (Michigan State). That is the perfect recipe for a completely average rank.
Games to Watch
#10 South Carolina at #8 Arkansas
(7:15 pm on ESPN)
Two of the 3 best second-tier SEC teams face each other. This should probably be won handily by Arkansas handily now that South Carolina is without Marcus Lattimore and their QB situation has been Spurriered. But who knows, Arkansas didn’t look that great against Vanderbilt last week.
#17 Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma State
(8:00 pm on ABC/ESPN2)
After starting out 7-0 Kansas State will probably lose their second game. It’s entirely possible they’ll lose their final 5 games of the season. Next week home against Texas A&M is probably their only chance to not have at least a 4 game losing streak. They play at Texas and home against Iowa State after that.
#6 Oregon at Washington
(10:30 pm on FSN)
If Oregon can get by Washington who was briefly ranked two weeks ago then they’ll set up a Pac-12 showdown with #4 Stanford next week. If Washington somehow pulls the upset then they’ll shoot back into the rankings probably around #20.
Am I forgetting anything? Oh, I guess maybe you could watch
#1 LSU at #2 Alabama
(8:00 pm on CBS)
The second-favorite choice from group A (Alabama was on 33% of the entries) facing the least favorite choice (LSU was on 3%). It probably won’t actually affect the standings very much though. The loser will still be in the Top 10 unless it’s a blowout and probably will stay in the Top 5 if it’s close.
Kick it off like we always do…
The early touchdown saw the unadjusted numbers drop below 30% but the spread adjustment kept the expectation at about 70% or above for the whole game.
Top 3 Plays:
Play #45, +12%, Robinson to Roundtree for 49 yards on 3rd and 20.
Play #73, +11%, Robinson to Gallon for 42 yards and 1st and Goal.
Play #67, +10%, Avery picks off the Marve deflection
Bottom 3 Plays:
Play #6, –18%, TerBush to Bush for 48 yards a Purdue lead.
Play #36, –9%, Robinson picked on third down.
Play #46, –9% Gardner picked for the first time this year.
The story of Saturday was mostly Fitz Toussaint, and rightfully so. His +7 on the day was the best mark for a Michigan running back on the season. In fact, other than Vincent Smith’s +6 against Eastern Michigan no Michigan back had even crossed +3 on the season.
The defense continues to do enough to allow the offense to take hold of the game. After four B1G games this season the defense has had a best Win Percent Added (WPA) of +6% from Saturday to a worst of –7% against Northwestern. That is a incredibly tight window to operate in and means that defense has essentially held serve in every B1G game this season. The offense is still doing the heavy lifting, but at least the defense isn’t adding to load this season.
Grades are in PAN (pts/game) and opponent adjusted.
Rush Offense: +3
Vincent Smith: +1
Pass Offense: +5
Rush Defense: +2
Pass Defense: +0
Special Teams: +1 (best of the year)
A little frustrated with the coverage on the Heisman this year. Apparently the NFL GM’s are now deciding who the best performer is in college football. This isn’t a knock on Andrew Luck, but just because the NFL says he is a sure thing, doesn’t automatically mean he is going to have the most deserving year. He has piled up good stats against bad teams so far and the conversation could still change.
Here are my ratings of the top contenders looking at both PAN and WPA.
Player, School: PAN (Rank), WPA (Rank)
Andrew Luck, Stanford: +6 (25th), +1.7 (8th)
Trent Richardson, Alabama: +4 (2nd RB), +.4 (11th)
Kellen Moore, Boise St: +11 (4th), +2.1 (4th)
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: +13 (1st), +2.4 (1st)
Case Keenum , Houston: +13 (2nd), +2.2 (3rd)
Denard Robinson, Michigan: +6 (22nd), +2.2 (2nd)
Ron Zook Dumb Punt of the Week
Pickings were a little slimmer this week but this week’s award goes to the Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators. Trailing by 4 in the World’s Largest Non-Alcoholic but Actually a Total Drunkfest Party with a little over 8 minutes to go, the Gators faced 4th and 2 at the Georgia 37. This one works out for the Gators, even though they go on to lose, anyway. After taking a Delay of Game to give the punter more room (the first sign of a dumb punt), Florida manages to down the ball at the 4 and get a three and out. Florida gets the ball back at the 36, trading 2+ minutes on the clock to get a yard and a fresh set of downs, the Gators throw three straight incompletions and then go for the 4th and 10 but fail, never getting the ball back.
Projections and Ranking
If you missed it Monday I posted detailed odds for the B1G championship game. Michigan stands at 9.5% overall. Going 4-0 down the stretch bumps it up to nearly 40%. A loss to division foes Iowa or Nebraska effectively kills the chances where going 3-1 with a loss to either Illinois or Ohio still leaves the odds around 20%.
After an expected win last week against Purdue, the overall win projection for Michigan is relatively unchanged in between 9 and 10 wins.
Opp (Change vs last post)
@Iowa: 67% (-1%)
@Illinois: 55% (+6%)
Nebraska: 56% (-8%)
Ohio: 70% (-7%)
My Top 5
1. Oklahoma St
2. Boise St
15. Michigan St
19. Penn St
PAN, National Rank (leader), B1G Rank (leader)
Michigan: +5, 3rd (Georgia Tech), 1st
Iowa: +1, 53rd, 7th
Michigan: +2, 32nd (Boise), 4th (Wisconsin)
Iowa: –6, 118th, 11th
Michigan: +2, 25th (LSU), 5th (Michigan St)
Iowa: +3, 18th, 3rd
Michigan: +1, 43rd (Oklahoma St), 7th (Michigan St)
Iowa: +3, 23rd, 2nd
Michigan: 0, 88th (Florida St), 10th (Purdue)
Iowa: +1, 49th, 7th
The next three games are all slight Michigan favors before matching up with an improving Ohio team. A home game versus Iowa would make me more comfortable but I still think it goes our way, 37-30 Michigan.
One final note is that based on a little twitter prompting from @cdbarker I have begun work on a game-theory manifesto and it's going to be long, probably to be posted in December. Planned topics include: how to use timeouts, suprise on-side kicks, a better 2-point conversion chart and possibly a revisit of 4th down stategy. Hit me in the comments or @The_Mathlete with other things you would like to see.
more roster changes this week :( as well as more depth chart shuffling. the depth chart is based of the one on MGoBlue.com which has Kovacs starting, but view this with a jaundiced eye.