to play football, not to play trumpet
Early in the week at the JCB, I posted about the Big 10's shifting odds as pointspreads for some of the future conference showdowns are being moved now that we have a few weeks of evidence. And calling what the Big 10 has done so far as evidence is pretty dang kind. But, hey, all these games in question deal with conference head to heads, so we're all in this equally sucky peer group together guys.
I buried the part about Michigan in that post, figuring we would talk about it more in depth over here. The simple fact is on their future Big 10 games listed on the board, people are either betting against Michigan or the oddsmakers are moving the lines against the Wolverines as insurance against a lot of Anti-Wolverine action. The Purdue line, which opened at UM -8.5 was down to -6 a week ago and has lowered even further to -4.5 as of today. Will it be the first of two games against Purdue this year? Who knows.
Michigan opened as slight favorites against Nebraska and Ohio State when the Golden Nugget first released lines back in June. By the time the season began, those lines had shifted and favored roles reversed with Nebraska -2 and OSU -3. They've continued to move in that direction during September. Nebraska is now -4 over Michigan. As for the OSU line, the Buckeyes were already up to - 6 a week ago and now its all the way to OSU -7.5. Yep, everyone is buying the Urban Revolution, and the Wolverines are now catching a full touchdown and a hook for The Game.
Why are people betting against Michigan? Let me try and count the ways: Their best runningback is their QB. Their top targeted WR was their backup QB and just moved to that position. Their other dangerous weapon so far in the passing game is a raw true freshman who hasnt dont anyhing yet against legit BCS competition. Their leading tailback from a year ago hasnt really got his legs yet and was suspended earlier after a serious run in with the law this summer. Denard made a bad play against UMass, GASP! Their right tackle's best position might be left guard. Their left guard should be their center, but he cant execute a shotgun snap. Their most talented player on defense has been lost for the season to an ACL tear. The rebuilding on the defensive line looks a bit wobbly so far. An overachieving D from a year returned seven starters, yet half the time the lineup is more freshmen and first year contributers than anyone else. Fans were excited to have good group of three returning linebackers who played well a year ago, but two of them are steadily losing snaps to true freshmen. And, Michigan got blown out by Alabama, which obviously means the Wolverines arent any good and might as well close shop for the fall. The team relies too much on one of the best players in college football. I dont know how you can win doing that.
So Michigan has problems. But some of those are hyperbolic. And others are areas of improvements where Michigan really still does have high ceiling potential this year. Others are fatal flaws. But, like, have you seen the rest of the Big 10? You think Michigan has problems. And thats my bottomline on these future odds. Catching points against Nebraska and OSU, two teams Michigan's offense worked over a year ago and whose own defensive issues still havent appeared to be solved? Sign. Me. Up. We'll see how the first half of the conference season plays out, but I'll take Michigan's offense, their defensive personnel and defensive scheming against all comers, especially if you're going to give me points.
The same goes for the big Notre Dame game this week, where Michigan is currently listed as 5.5-point underdogs. I dont have any new, creative ways to explain how titlted to the underdog this series is, so how about I just vomit up the numbers and move on. The Underdog is 23-5 ATS, but as impressively is 16-11-1 straight up, meaning they've won outright more than they lost. Notre Dame hasnt covered in this series as chalk since 1982 and hasnt won period in this series as chalk since 1988, the 19-17 Reggie Ho game where Michigan at least covered the 2.5 closing number. The only times in the last 20 years where the road dog failed to at least cover in a Michigan-Notre Dame games were the two 38-0 Michigan beatdowns in 2003 and 2007. Michigan is 10-1 ATS in this series as an underdog, with a 7-3-1 straight up record in those games. In most years, the underdog in this contest ends up playing its best game of the season.
Looking for something more rational than mere series history? I can do that. ND's front-7 is good looking, equipped with a lot of 4- and 5-star recruits finally blossoming as players and together as a unit. They dominated MSU a week ago. But the Wolverines come with a more talented, proven offensive line, even if the unit is far from fully gelled. That front-7, however, can only mask the inexperienced and patchwork secondary for so long. MSU could not take advantage of that because they're totally rebuilding their downfield threats and are at program low ebb at the WR position. Michigan isnt vintage Maize and Blue with their flankers, but they have more than enough proven and obvious up-and-coming targets to take advantage of the obvious weak spot of the ND Defense. Oh, and, is Denard Robinson still on the team? Let me check. Hmm. It says here he is. That gives Michigan the best player in this game, one whose been able to max out on all his powers against this team in his two previous starts. Michigan hasnt played a truly bad game on offense against the Irish since 2005, and I will be disappointed if they dont give us a bit of a showcase tomorrow night. Besides, it's Denard's 22nd Birthday on the 22nd. If that's not a sign, then I dont know what is. Michigan will have trouble with ND's offense. I fully expect Cierre Woods to have a really good game. But I am not sold on their redshirt freshman QB making his fourth career start. Mattison will have a trick up his sleeve for the kid. Notre Dame went 1-for-14 last week on 3rd conversions, yet still won and coverd as 6-point dogs. Yet, would you say, the Irish played all that well? I didnt think so and now they come back a week later, against an equally challenging foe as a week ago, but are now almost a touchdown favorite. I dont like that situation for any team. The Irish will still score their points, but I expect Michigan to go blow for blow with them and, at the very least, cover the spread. I'll have a full card of picks up at the JCB later in the day, and Michigan will be on there. Book It.
I wanted to spend some time breaking down the listed props for the game. However, as far as player props go, none are currently being listed. We'll probably see the various online books release those later tonight or tomorrow morning. I'll throw something together in the forum when they do. There are a few team related props already on the board, so let me breeze through those before signing off.
Michigan, Total Points Over/Under 22....This total is pretty low considering Michigan's history against Notre Dame. The Wolverines have scored more than 22 points in 12 of last 18 against the Irish, averaging 26.27 points per game. The number has been ticking upward in the series most recent matchups with Michigan averaging 33.16 points per in the last six games with Notre Dame, including five finals of at least 28 points. In Denard Robinson's 29 starts as UM QB, the Wolverines have scored more than 22 points in 23 games. Shall we talk about Notre Dame's team total being set at 27 points? I'd rather not ponder our young, flawed defense's ability to contain Notre Dame for the the purposes of this prop bet. On one hand, in the last 18 games between these two, the Irish have scored more than 27 points just six time. On the other hand, three of those occurrences are in the last four seasons, when they avergaged 30.5 points. But they've only gone 1-3 in those games. Insert Nelson Munz laugh here.
Longest TD Scored Over/Under 47.5 yards........This became a personal favorite of mine during Michigan games in 2010. The marriage of the explosive Denard Robinson with the crappy Rodriguez/GERG/Tony Gibson minus all the points defensive philosophy proved quite lucrative on the longest TD of the game props. This prop cashed on the first play of the marathon 132-point Illinois game on the Roundtree catch and run. It won on the famous Denard run to the house in South Bend. Of course, i reared its head in losses oo, like the The Edwin Baker home run job for MSU's first score in the Spartans win. The only thing I remember from the Penn State debacle is Kevin Koger's 61-yard TD reception, everything else from that night is not sitcking with my memory thanks to a catatonic state fueled by beer, whiskey and, uh, well, other things. It hit regularily, but, of course, the yardage needed wasnt as low as this weekend's prop. By the end of the season, this number was being listed in the low 60s. No worries, Jordan Hall and the Bucks got that covered on a 85-yard kickoff return score. Ok, enough of that. You get the point. We won a lot of money on Michigan games that year, we just needed to be creative about it. Getting back to the prop in this weekend's game. There's been a TD of more than 47.5 yards in two of three Michigan games so far this season. In the Denard Era, we've seen a TD of at least this length in 17 of 29 games. The defensive improvements in the wake of the Hoke/Mattison hirings have slowed the roll, however. After seeing touchdowns of at least 48 yards scored in 10 of 13 games in 2010, we've only seen it seven of 16 since.
Enjoy your Saturday of college football. Go Blue! Beat The Irish!
THE KNOWLEDGE shall use the bye week next week to congratulate all the winners of THE CHALLENGE 2012.1 and this current edition 2012.2, and award them the status of Protege of the week. At that very time, THE KNOWLEDGE shall also talk about the state of the future and of the Big Ten
THE CHALLENGE 2012.2 is now open. Correctly predict the score of the Michigan-ND game to be the POTW
THE KNOWLEDGE shall now provide some comments and pointers to the game to aid in the predictions
Before the Alabama game, everyone knew Michigan would lose, and they were correct - although not regarding how lopsided the score would be (the combination of oversigning and referees playing for Alabama made it worse than people assumed). THE KNOWLEDGE did not debut THE CHALLENGE that week because the pointers would have demoralized the fans
This week, everyone predicts a loss to ND as well
It may be worth remembering that THE KNOWLEDGE has revealed a 2 loss season for Michigan. THE KNOWLEDGE has not yet mentioned whether that second loss will be in the Big Ten regular season, or in the postseason, or out of conference
Just that there is another loss this season
That loss will not happen this week
Pointers to the game:
- Michigan will win
- Notre Dame will lose
- Michigan's defense will yield many yards to the ND run game
- Michigan's passing offense will bamboozle ND
I wrote this a few seasons back. Its still good for a chuckle. I cut out 5 to avoid feeding the monkey. What could the new 5 be?
10. We are Notre Dame.... No I will not link it.
9.Notre Dame Stadium
|A highlight from last weeks USF vs ND game|
I remember a short time ago when the Big House was outdated but now is a thing of beauty. At least the Big House had some sort of stats and video for replays before all the updates. Going to a game at Notre Dame Stadium is like going back in time to 1955 in Docs DeLorean. I think all the fans drive there wind up old model Ts to the Stadium every Saturday to tail gate. Don't even get me going on the turf and the mess that it is. Seems like every game I watch the turf is a giant mess. Grass flying everywhere. The score board is a thing of 1975 with giant bulbs for score. No replays or stats. I will give it this. It does have cool clip art(like hands clapping) that displays a long the bottom. That is pretty 1992. So if you wanna go back in time then check a game out at Notre Dame Stadium... Bring your top hat.
8.Notre Dame Weather
I swear to god when I click over to NBC to watch ND the weather is always awful. Its like South Bend has rain monsoons every Saturday. If Michigan has a secondary hating god then Nortre Dame has a shitty weather god. I think they give a rain poncho with every season ticket purchase.
7.The Irish Ginger Dancing Mascot guy... thing.
Every year I have to look at some new pimpled face kid jumping around on the side line. I would love to see this try out. Like a line of 19 year old gingers all lined up doing their best "who stole my lucky charms?" impression. It may get higher ratings then American Idol.
6.The Fan Base(besides the MGO user Irish)
Hey I like tough coaches as much as the other but I would be embarrassed if I were a fan and the University. The dude is straight up belittling the player. How is this a teaching moment? I got a hold of a mouth reader and this what got out the clip.
KELLY: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
KELLY: YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! WHEN I GET YOU IN PRACTICE I WILL CUT OFF YOUR HEAD!
KELLY: I WILL PUNCH YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE! I DON'T CARE! YOU ARE DEAD TO ME! I WILL KICK YOUR DOG ON SUNDAY! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!? YOUR MOM!
It was something like that. I mean come on. Like I said I know football is all about screaming but this is drunkin sailor yelling. I never liked you at GVSU and I don't like you now. I do think he can make it at ND but he has to be careful. The same kinds that hated on RR at Michigan will be doing the same at ND in no time if they haven't already. We saw what negativity can do to a program. It isn't pretty.
this week's miniprogram. comments, corrections, etc. are always welcome.
[Ed-S: Bumped to Diary. Plus this man!]
So, Brian quit charting UMass before we even got to the 4th quarter, where one big time recruit Justice Hayes got the first carries of his Michigan career. I don't think enough attention has been paid to those carries, be they with backups in the game or not. A guy's first carries in Michigan Stadium deserve a little review, so I thought I'd try to UFR some of his plays
I don't have a full game video, only highlights, so I don't have all the information, but I can do a simple review. Unfortunately, the highlights only have two plays with him in it. If others have better insight, please share it. I'm very much an amature.
Set: Angle too tight, but it looks like a Shotgun Split, with Bellomy, Gyarmati and Hayes all pretty much on the same line, 3 Wide.
Play: Zone Read? Not sure if this is actual read or not, but while the others appear to be run blocking, Gunderson looks like he went to a pass block, so maybe?
Result: 9 yards
Players: Mateus - Burzynski - Miller - Glasgow - Gunderson
Gyarmati - Bellomy - Hayes
Glasgow pulls at the snap, taking off playside. Gunderson's man takes a wide circle around him, and Gunderson seems momentarily confused about who to block, first looking towards center, then back outside. He eventually gets in the way of the SDE who wasn't going to get to the mesh point in time anyway. Miller(+1) gets into his man and shoves him off the line, while Mateus (+1) and Burzynski(+1) double the other DT and take him well out of the play. Glasgow has pulled quickly (+1), while he, Gyarmati, Hayes AND Bellomy all take off playside.
The WDE crashes, but then squares up to take a block from Glasgow, who angles past him. He then turns to deal with a block from Gyarmati, who is headed behind him. Finally, he looks towards the Bellomy-Hayes mesh, his indecision making it impossible for him to get either. he chooses the wrong guy anyway. (-1, that guy. If you're gonna go with a guy, get there fast. If you're gonna hesitate, at least pick the right guy).
Bellomy sells it on the hand off, and Hayes follows Gyarmati behind the WDE while Bellomy follows Glasgow inside. I love how hard Hayes sells this, and the whole play side of the field follows him out. Beautiful fake. I'll +1 him on it.
Gyarmati gets out on the LB (I think. Can't see it, but he's got a block on someone), Miller loses his man but delayed him juuuust long enough, and Mateus & Bryant have crushed their donkey so hard that 5 yards upfield, Glasgow is still looking for someone to block. Bellomy hits a big time hole (+1). Glasgow finally finds a WLB to block, and the SLB and Safety combine to bring down Bellomy at the one.
- Seems like everybody did their jobs here, though I'd like to see Gunderson be more decisive. Not sure if it was the combo block that delayed the LB's, having to go out around it, or an RPS with them dropping to pass coverage. Curse you, highlight angles!
Set: I-form, 2 TE Set.
Result: 1 Yard, TD
Players: Same as before, with Kwiatkowski and Paskorz in at TE.
Solid blocking all along the line. Kwiatkowski, Burzynski and Glasgow get no push. Burzynski, Glasgow, Mateus/Paskorz and Kwiatkowski get linemen while Miller, Gunderson and Gyarmati get LB's. Miller(+1) and Gunderson(+1) have both gotten fantastic blocks, which is a shame, because Burzynski(-1) and Glasgow(-1) allow their men to roll together and completely fill what should be a massive middle hole while a safety fills the left side hole. This play was going right, so it's not a big deal, but this is goal line. EVERYBODY should go backwards into the endzone.
Gyarmati (+2) gets out on his LB and brings a safety along with him(!) and a sizeable hole opens right that Hayes hits with authority. The safety and guard both get a hand on Hayes, but not till after he's crossed the plane. Touchdown!
Anything to add?
The FEI Forecast for this Saturday is: Notre Dame 37 Michigan 14 with a 93% Probable Win Expectation for ND (yikes!). Notre Dame is ranked #6 in the FEI.
Fremeau Efficiency Index: 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. (This is why M was ranked relatively high after that loss to Alabama and actually fell 13 places after the blowout of UMass.)
National Rankings: The rankings for 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 ( Football Outsiders FEI ). FEI is predicting a 6-6 season for the Wolverines (FBS Mean Wins = 5.8). Like most predictive tools, the FEI is less reliable at the beginning of the year because there is so little data. Last year after 3 games (WMU, ND, EMU), FEI had M ranked #19 and was predicting a 9 win season.
Points Per Possession: The 2 charts show the raw data for offense and defense. The charts both indicate significant improvement in each subsequent game. Of course, this may be due in great measure to the fact that the opponent has been weaker in each subsequent game.
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).