spoiler alert: i linked this
As mentioned by THE KNOWLEDGE last week on these very pages, this is a virtual bye week for the Michigan football team inasmuch as msu offers only a token challenge. next week will be a lot more interesting
so let us go THE CHALLENGE 2012.5 right away
pointers to the game:
- Michigan will win
- msu will lose and will play dirty as usual
- msu will be unable to move the ball consistently on offense
- Michigan will not have that problem
on to more pressing matters
POTW awards and TWoS ridicule
the moment every one on this blog has been eagerly awaiting is here: the awarding of the POTW from weeks past. in this post, THE KNOWLEDGE shall congratulate the winners from the B1G games (2012.3 and 2012.4). during another virutal bye week, THE KNOWLEDGE shall congratulate the OOC game winners (2012.1 and 2012.2)
in addition, THE KNOWLEDGE will also shame certain idiots that try to act smart by putting them on The Wall of Shame (TWoS)
2012.3 winner is UMgradMSUdad who predicted 41-13 Vs Purdue (3 points off)
2012.4 winner is Productive Sweatpants who predicted 45-3 Vs Illinois (also 3 points off)
congratulations to these two Proteges! you can Bask in Glory along with THE KNOWLEDGE
the TWoS shamees are Coach Schiano and Gonzo di Dottore, who "predicted" 45-0 score against Illinois after the game
[EDIT - PGB]
after THE KNOWLEDGE revealed last week that Michigan shall finish the season 12-2 (after the occurrence of the followup Irregularity), many people chose to follow THE KNOWLEDGE and become worry-free for the rest of the season
there were also a few fools that emailed THE KNOWLEDGE to say that THE KNOWLEDGE was wrong.
as usual, these people shall be left in a trail of dust as THE KNOWLEDGE soars when these results come true
WTFL;DR: Narduzzi coaches an aggressive take on the now en vogue Quarters defense that's still formidable even if State isn't quite what it was last year.
We got to the point where, this is the reason that we do this, when everybody started going spread we couldn’t play 3 deep zone. This started with the Cleveland Browns, I was the defensive coordinator in the early 90s and Pittsburgh would run 'Seattle' on us , four streaks. Then they would run two streaks and two out routes, what I call ‘pole’ route from 2x2. So we got to where could NOT play 3-deep zone because we rerouted the seams and played zone, and what I call “Country Cover 3” [drop to your spot reroute the seams, break on the ball]. Well , when Marino is throwing it, that old break on the ball shit don’t work.So because we could not defend this, we could not play 3 deep, so when you can’t play zone, what do you do next? You play Man [cover 1], but if their mens are better than your mens, you can’t play cover 1 .We got to where we couldn’t run cover 1 - So now we can’t play an 8 man front. The 1994 Browns went 13-5 , we lost to Steelers 3 times, lost 5 games total [twice in the regular season, once in the playoffs]. We gave up the 5th fewest points in the history of the NFL, and lost to Steelers because we could not play 8-man fronts to stop the run because they would wear us out throwing it
For example, if the offense splits out two wide receivers to the same side of the field, and both run straight up the field on deep routes, the safety plays man on the inside guy and the cornerback plays man on the outside guy. If, however, the inside receiver were to run immediately to the flat -- say, on a bubble screen -- while the outside receiver ran upfield, the corner and the safety would actually double team the deep man, defending him from both the inside and the outside. This type of read-and-react is great against the spread's multiplicity, as it can allow some very short completions but lead to lots of interceptions and few downfield passing windows.
I finally got my video editing rig unborked, so now I can get back to making parkinggod highlights and Moving Picture Pages.
(update) My time off has made me sloppy. Wrong font, weird timings on the captions, forgot the Evil Space Magic trick to embed the video, didn't properly credit Brian (original analysis his, used with permission), didn't link back to the original http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-short-yardage-slant, etc., etc. You'll have to excuse me for a bit while I go run the stadium steps.
Prediction for MSU: The FEI Forecast for this Saturday is Michigan State 20 – Michigan 18 with a 56% Probable Win Expectation for Sparty? Basically a toss up but, like the Purdue game, FEI is wrong and Michigan wins the game 24 – 13. As you can see below, FEI has been really schizophrenic about M this year. M at #47 is the lowest ranked 4 win AQ team in FEI and MSU at #27 is the highest ranked 3 loss team in FEI.
Fremeau Efficiency Index: Week #7 is significant because all remnants of preseason projected data is removed from the formulas and all data represents 2012 games only. In addition both offense and defense efficiency are now opponent-adjusted and are referenced as OFEI and DFEI (up until this point OE and DE were just raw numbers).
That said, WTF!!!
After a 45-0 drubbing of an admittedly weak Illinois team, FEI blasted the overall rating to #47 (from #24 last week) and pummeled the offense efficiency to #63 (from #40 last week). Defense efficiency improved to #27 (from #33 last week).
The S&P Ratings (Also from Football Outsiders) is a play based analysis (rather than possession based) and M is ranked #9 overall, #7 in offense, and #22 in defense.
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in 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 Week #7 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: The offense continued to rack up the points and the defense recorded their first shutout. Cumulative PPPo is 2.9 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).
Last year Michigan State punched Michigan in the mouth. They literally punched them in the mouth. After being called for 13 penalties (6 of them of the 15 yard variety) Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi famously said, "That's what we try to do. Sixty minutes of unnecessary roughness. I'm just happy it didn't get called on every snap."
State has clearly been the more physical team of late and their boundary pushing gameplans have paid off to the tune of four straight wins in the rivalry. This wallpaper was inspired by their bold and reckless tactics. I picture the Michigan State coaching staff handing out stacks of flash cards like those used to teach sight words to kindergarteners. Yes, this is a dig at the level of intelligence required to gain acceptance to the state university. Yes, I attended a state university (not that state university) so I am licensed to dig.
The images below are previews only. You can get the widescreen, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
Before the season began, I read some tea leaves, and came up with the following, Star Wars-themed probabilities for how we’d do in the regular season:
1. The Empire Strikes Back (12-0; p = .01)
2. A New Hope (11-1; p = .19)
3. Return of the Jedi (10-2; p = .29)
4. Revenge of the Sith (9-3; p = .31)
5. Attack of the Clones (8-4; p = .19)
6. The Phantom Menace (7-5; p = .01)
Though they were always a bit unlikely, Episodes V and IV are sadly now off the table. As a result, I have to redistribute the probabilities, as I did last year at midseason. Unlike last year, though, I have to redistribute down, rather than up. But hope is not lost! The Big 10 kinda sucks this year, or more accurately is very mediocre. That means all of our upcoming opponents, aside from Ohio, range from worse-than-expected (Sparty, Nebraska) to better-than-expected-given-that-not-much-was-expected (Northwestern, Iowa) all the way to better-than-expected-given-that-basically-nothing-was-expected (Minnesota). Hardly a murderer’s row.
Consequently, there’s only one game where I figure we’re more likely to lose than win, and four others we “could” lose but shouldn’t. If I make that into a simple algorithm, where a “near-lock” (Minnesota) gets 1.00, a “should win” gets 0.67 (Sparty, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa) and a “can win” (Ohio) gets 0.33, we get this:
(1.00 + 4(.67) + 0.33) = 4.01
Translated, that predicts a 4-2 record over our last 6 games, and an 8-4 record overall. It’s easy to see how this would happen: a loss away at Ohio plus one more unforeseen loss, such as a fifth straight against Sparty, another road stinker at Nebraska or a “looked-past” Iowa or Northwestern. Incidentally, this is exactly the same number of wins the Mathlete predicts. I’m moderately more bullish than that, though, and think we’ll do better. Here’s why:
1. Our defense is not the same one that took the field during the first two weeks
2. Our offense seems to have returned to late-2011 form
3. One of our losses, to a consensus top-10 team, happened because of a turnover and penalty fest that’s unlikely to be replicated.
4. Our other loss was to consensus number 1 Alabama, and we don’t play anyone even remotely that good again in the regular season.
5. Of our 5 remaining “losable” games, 3 are at home, and 1 of the others is against Nebraska, who didn’t match up well against us last year, and don’t seem all that different this time around.
To put it another way, I still think a 5+ loss season is unlikely, and relatively less likely than a 3 or even 2 loss season. Unfortunately, given our penchant for an occasional offensive identity crisis, that 4-loss scenario is hard to argue against. So without further ado, I present to you the revised predictions, Indiana Jones-themed this time:
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Scenario: We kick Nazi ass. We search for—and find—ancient relics. We close our eyes as the blinding light of truth and justice melts the egos and arrogance of our enemies.
Record: 10-2. We run the table. We win the Big 10 Championship. We play in the Rose Bowl. We are possibly good enough to beat whomever we play in the Rose Bowl. We finish the season with our heads held high. Denard goes out like the hero he is.
Probability: (p = .20). Not likely but not outside the realm of possibility either. Is Ohio really that good? Color me skeptical. That defense had a rough go of it against Indiana, and a pretty rough go of it against Nebraska too. The offense can score points, but hey…so can we! Unfortunately the game’s away, and we haven’t won in Columbus since 2000. Still, I wouldn’t exactly be shocked if we did win. And there isn’t a single other team on our schedule that scares me. The worry there is more about numbers.
2. The Last Crusade
Scenario: We reunite with our Dad, who did this a lot in the olden days. It’s tough realizing we are our father’s sons, but in the end we realize it’s just who we are, and the old man has a lot he can teach us. But we’ll never stop trying to be better than he was. Never.
Record: 9-3. We kick a lot of ass, but stumble somewhere along the way, probably but not necessarily at Ohio. Depending on who we lose to, and how other teams do in conference play, it’s still probably good enough to go to the Big 10 Championship Game, which we would probably win. That means Rose Bowl, though in this scenario we’d go in with a lower ranking and lower probability of winning it.
Probability: (p = .30). I’ve got a gut feeling this is it. Even though the Big 10 is deeply mediocre this year, it’s also deep with peskiness. Iowa and Northwestern, for example. A fired up Sparty has that potential too, though
3. The Temple of Doom
Scenario: We end up in a chaotic place where evil ones eat monkey brains and pull the hearts out of still-living captives. We make it out alive.
Record: 8-4. Racist stereotyping aside, this was an okay film. Rephrased, we could say an 8-4 season is “adequate but problematic.” That’s a good way to describe a scenario in which we lose 2 of the 5 losable games (probably at Ohio plus one we-should-have-taken-them loss), but still get to a decent bowl game. Maybe this year it’s even good enough to get to the conference championship, and a clear path to the Rose Bowl (where we’d get to play any one of the several Pac-12 teams that are currently ranked higher than we are). It would also be a disappointing, but not too disappointing, end to the whole spread-option experiment..
Probability: (p = .40). This is what the math and the Mathlete think is going to happen. It’s probably the most rational prediction at this point, given our high-ish ceiling in a mediocre conference, but also our occasional, sometimes-inexplicable regression to the mean. If you are a betting man/woman, and like to make your bets cautiously, put your money here.
4. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Record: 7-5 or worse. We lose 3 or more of the 5 losable games—keeping in mind that 3 of those 5 teams are not very good. Ergo, we are not very good.
Probability: (p = .10). While I probably won’t be as angry with 5 losses as I was when I saw this “film,” I might be if we go 6-6. I don’t really see that happening, but it’s more realistic than it seemed at pre-season. I just don’t see it unless we have some catastrophic injuries or a hurricane parks over the state of Michigan for the next 45 days.
Gee, That’s A Weird Distribution
Yes it is. I struggled with the way it skews, but in the end feel it’s justified. Why? Because the only game on our schedule I see us potentially losing even with a clean game, healthy roster, normal conditions and appropriate offensive gameplan is the showdown with Ohio.* The others would all necessitate disastrous penalties, a major injury, another trash tornado and/or another game in which Al Borges and Denard inexplicably come to believe that Denard is Brett Favre the Gunslinger only to find he’s the wrong kind of Brett Favre the Gunslinger. Thankfully those moments of delusion seem to only happen on the road—and sometimes, like Notre Dame 2011, he really does look a bit like the good Brett Favre.
Simply put, my instinct says we go 9-3 but the rational part of my brain says 8-4. The semi-rational fan in me says 10-2. The amygdala, where fear impulses come from, says 7-5 or worse, but we don’t listen to it and neither should you.
*That isn’t to say we will lose to Ohio, or that it will happen this way, just that I can picture it in a sort of last-year-but-opposite kind of way.