Hockey pet peeve: "when a teammate tips a puck in on you, which is exactly how my first collegiate goal against happened. Thanks, Copper."
The Little Brown Jug stays with Michigan, with a 58-0 victory, the most points scored by Michigan in the series since 1993. Michigan’s victory on Saturday was the largest ever margin of victory in the series. This week, Michigan hits the road to Evanston, to face the Northwestern Wildcats. Michigan holds a 52-15-2 advantage in the series, which began in 1892, with a 10-8 Northwestern win.
As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas. We’ll also look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.
Be sure to check out my blog, Before Visiting the Sportsbook, throughout the week, for more content.
Arizona (1-4) +13.5 @ USC (4-1). Result: USC 48 Arizona 41 [Props to: M-Glow-Blue, Picktown GoBlue].
SMU (3-1) +11.5 @ TCU (3-2). Result: SMU 40 TCU 33 [Props to: M-Glow-Blue].
@ Indiana (1-4) +17.0 Penn State (4-1). Result: Penn State 16 Indiana 10 [Props to: Gulo Gulo Luscus].
Western Michigan (3-2) +3.0 @ Connecticut (2-3). Result: Western Michigan 38 Connecticut 31 [Props to: hajiblue72, Gulo Gulo Luscus, Picktown GoBlue].
Cincinnati (4-1) -13.5 @ Miami (OH) (0-4). Result: Cincinnati 27 Miami (OH) 0.
@ Michigan (5-0) -19.5 @ Minnesota (1-4). Result: Michigan 58 Minnesota 0 [Props to M-Glow-Blue, Picktown GoBlue].
Hawaii (3-2) +3.5 @ Louisiana Tech (1-4). Result: Hawaii 44 Louisiana Tech 26.
Washington topped Utah (31-14), despite being an underdog (+7.5), props to Gulo Gulo Luscus on the call.
Alabama (-6) blew out Florida, 38-10; Trebor and M-Glow-Blue took Alabama. Trebor also had Arkansas (+3), which rallied to beat Texas A&M in Jerryworld, 42-38.
Number 7 threw out Notre Dame to cover (-12), which they did easily in West Lafayette, 38-10. Number 7 also picked Pittsburgh to win, straight up, against South Florida, and they did, 44-17.
Week 5 kicks off with a game between PAC-12 North foes, California visits (#9) Oregon on Thursday (9:00 PM EST/ESPN). (#5) Boise State visits Fresno State, seeking to extend their 5 game series win streak on Friday (9:00 PM EST/ESPN).
Saturday football kicks off with the Red River Rivalry, (#3) Oklahoma and (#11) Texas (12:00 PM EST/ABC). Florida looks to replace injured QB John Brantley when they visit (#1) LSU in Death Valley (3:30 PM EST/CBS). Upstart (#15) Auburn faces another road test this week in a visit to (#10) Arkansas (7:00 PM EST/ESPN).
Iowa (3-1) +3.5 @ Penn State (4-1). Penn State ranks 80th in total offense (61st rushing, 66th passing). Penn State has lost LB Michael Mauti to a season ending injury. Despite Penn State’s QBs passing for 271 yards, it took 36 attempts, of which only 16 were completed. Since 1999, Iowa is 8-2 straight up against Penn State (Iowa is 8-2 against the spread against Penn State), including 4-1 at Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 0-5 against the spread this year. Since 2006, the Hawkeyes are 4-1 in their first conference road games against the spread (4-0 as an underdog in those same games against the spread). With the unstable QB situation in Happy Valley, take the Hawkeyes to cover, and win.
Air Force (3-1) +16.5 @ Notre Dame (3-2).The Irish lead the series, 22-6. Since 2000, the average margin of victory in the series favors Notre Dame by 4. Teams last met in 2007, in South Bend, with Air Force defeating the Irish, 41-24. The Falcons are only 1-3 against the spread this year, but 1-1 as an underdog; the Irish are 2-3 against the spread. Air Force is 6-4 against the spread, since 2006, coming off a game against a fellow service academy (6-2 under Coach Troy Calhoun). The triple option offense has given the Irish defense fits, giving up an average of 33.2 points per game in 5 games against Navy and Air Force, since 2007. Take Air Force to cover the points.
Wyoming (3-1) +11.0 @ Utah State (1-3). Wyoming has the 34th ranked offense (27th rushing, 53rd passing); Utah State the 23rd ranked offense (5th rushing, but 110th passing). Wyoming’s run defense is ranked 91st, but the 178.50 yard per game average can largely be chalked up to playing Nebraska (Cowboys gave up 333 yards on the ground). Utah State’s RB Robert Turbin (488 rushing yards, 6.7 ypc, and 9 TD) has had three consecutive 100-yard games this year. Since 2001, Wyoming is 4-0 straight up against Utah State and 3-1 against the spread (prior to 2001, the teams had not met since 1978). Average margin of victory for Wyoming is 18.25. Utah State’s offense was impressive against BYU last week, but the defense couldn’t stop the Cougars. Utah State is 0-4 against the spread coming off the BYU game, since 2006 (0-4 straight up). Take the Cowboys to keep this one close, if not beat, the Aggies.
@ Tennessee (3-1) +1.5 Georgia (3-2).The home team has won four straight in this series; Tennessee holds an 8-7 advantage since 1997. Tennessee has the 31st ranked offense (11th passing, but 97th rushing) Georgia the 52nd ranked offense (56th passing, 46th rushing). The Vols have now had two weeks to adjust to life without WR Justin Hunter, lost for the season to an ACL injury. Georgia’s pass defense is ranked 4th in the nation, but that is largely due to the Bulldogs facing run centered offenses (Kellen Moore threw for 261 yards in week 1 against Georgia). From 2001-2005, Georgia was 32-11 (4-1 against Tennessee) in SEC play under Coach Mark Richt. Since 2006, the Bulldogs are 23-17 in SEC play (2-3 against Tennessee). Coach Derek Dooley is 28-22-1 against the spread (9-7-1 against the spread at Tennessee). Tennessee is 5-2 against the spread versus Georgia, since 2004. Look for Georgia to come into Knoxville with a false sense of security, off back-to-back wins over the Mississippi schools, the worst teams in the SEC West. Take the Volunteers to knock off Georgia.
UNLV (1-3) +21.0 @ Nevada (2-2).The Battle for the Fremont Cannon. The Rebels haven’t beaten the Wolfpack since 2004. UNLV is 5-9 against the spread versus Nevada, since 1997. Nevada’s rushing offense is ranked 14th (offense ranked 57th) but UNLV’s run defense is ranked 38th; UNLV’s run offense is ranked 76th and Nevada’s run defense is ranked 101st. UNLV has already faced a tough run offense, opening the season at Wisconsin, and covering the 35 point spread. Since 2005, UNLV has been outscored, on average, by a score of 39-20 by Nevada. UNLV was outscored by an average score of 40-18 last year (32-25 in 2009 and 32-26 in 2008); this year, UNLV is being outscored by an average score of 43-20, facing the 8th (Wisconsin), 9th (Washington State) and 41st (Hawaii) ranked offenses. Nevada will extend their streak to seven straight over UNLV, but UNLV should keep it within 3 TDs.
Arizona State (4-1) -3.5 @ Utah (2-2).These teams last met in 1977. Sun Devils are 1-4 against the spread this year (1-3 as a favorite), but have been double digit favorites in three of those games (0-3 against the spread as a double digit favorite). Utah is 1-3 against the spread this year (1-1 as an underdog). Utah will be without starting QB Jordan Wynn for the next 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury. Coach Dennis Erickson is 25-24-5 against the spread at Arizona State (16-13 as a favorite against the spread). Utah will be playing only their third game as a member of a BCS conference, and is looking for their first PAC-12 win. Since 2006, Utah is 7-4 against the spread versus BCS conference opponents. Utah is 87th in total offense and 91st in passing defense. Arizona State boasts the 27th best passing offense. Look for the Sun Devils and QB Brock Osweiler to cover the spread in Salt Lake City.
Pat Fitzgerald is 36-31 straight up at Northwestern. Coach Fitzgerald is 20-13 at home, 18-23 against the Big Ten, and 4-10 against the top 25. Coach Fitzgerald is 26-37-1 against the spread and 21-15-1 as an underdog against the spread.
Brady Hoke is 52-50 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 27-15-2 against the spread as a favorite and 42-23-2 overall since 2006.
Northwestern’s defense is ranked 95th (81st passing [239.25 yards/game], 89th rushing [174.75 yards/game]). Michigan’s offense is ranked 15th (104th passing [168.20 yards/game], 9th rushing [270.0 yards/game])
Northwestern’s offense is ranked 75th (105th passing [167.00 yards/game], 24th rushing [207.75 yards/game]). Michigan’s defense is ranked 32nd (14th passing [175.25 yards/game], 65th rushing [150.25 yards/game]).
Since 1997, Michigan is 8-2 straight up against Northwestern (4-6 against the spread; Michigan has been a favorite in all but the 1999 game). Michigan has averaged 394.1 offensive yards (by contrast, they averaged 435 offensive yards against Minnesota), with 203.8 of those yards being passing (by contrast, they averaged 246.3 passing yards against Minnesota).
Ignore the awful rank of Northwestern run defense. The Wildcats gave up 82 yards on the ground to Illinois, 132 to Eastern Illinois, 104 to Boston College, but 381 to Army. Northwestern will not face another triple option offense in the regular season. Boston College was without their starting RB week 1, and Illinois was forced to pass from roughly the middle of the third quarter on, being down 28-10.
Throw out Northwestern’s passing stats, as well. QB Dan Persa (123 passing yards, 4 TD, 71.4% completion against Illinois) played his first game of 2011 this past Saturday, almost pulling off the upset in Champaign. In the process, he aggravated an Achilles injury; Persa indicated the injury will not keep him from playing against Michigan. Be on the look out for Northwestern using Persa and QB Kain Colter (427 passing yards, 66.1% completion, 1 passing TD, but 4 rushing TD and 266 rushing yards) on the field at the same time.
RB Mike Trumpy (182 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 1 TD) and WR Jeremy Ebert (230 receiving yards, 15.3/catch, and 5 TD) are legitimate threats. Three of Persa’s four TD passes were to Ebert on Saturday (the other was to TE Drake Dunsmore).
Michigan is going to need senior leadership from David Molk, Kevin Koger, Junior Hemingway, Ryan Van Bergen and Troy Woolfolk in order to pull off the road win. Assuming Persa plays, and he says he will, look for this one to be close.
@ Northwestern +7.5 Michigan.
Michigan 31 Northwestern 30
Who ya got?
Has Michigan faced a good offense? ND has big time turnover issues, WMU and EMU are both MAC teams (although WMU seems like a very good MAC team), SDSU didn't manage very much against us and Minnesota is possibly the worst BCS conference team this year.
I took a look at each opponent on our schedule and looked at their opponents total and scoring defenses, then took a look in each box score for total yards gained by our opponent as well as final score. I added total offense and scoring offense into a year to date chart and divided actual yardage/score by their expected performance based on opponents NCAA statistics. Here is an example of part one:
|WMU||TD Yardage||Yards||SD PPG||Points||Record|
|% of Normal||130||128|
FCS teams are excluded, and I'll get to the opponents win percentage later in the diary. You can see that WMU is outperforming their total offense expectation by about 130%, and their offense is scoring 128% above par. I did this for each of our twelve opponents, and have ranked each offense by performance percentage in both scoring and total, then I try to put a finger on exactly how well each has performed to date by including an average of the two with opponents record factored in. As I write this, I have not made those calculations and do not know how accurate the list will come out. Nevertheless, I will include it for discussion's sake.
Total offense vs. Expectation:
- ND 136%
- WMU 130%
- Nebraska 115%
- MSU 112%
- SDSU 110%
- Illinois 108%
- Iowa 107%
- Northwestern 99%
- OSU 93%
- EMU 88%
- Minnesota 87%
- Purdue 79%
Scoring offense vs. Expectation:
- ND 157%
- Nebraska 150%
- Iowa 142%
- WMU 128%
- SDSU 115%
- Northwestern 106%
- MSU 105%
- OSU 95%
- Illinois 92%
- EMU 79%
- Minnesota 72%
- Purdue 62%
Average offense vs. Expectation (list 1* list 2/2):
- ND 146.5%
- Nebraska 132.5%
- WMU 129%
- Iowa 124.5%
- SDSU 112.5%
- MSU 108.5%
- Northwestern 102.5%
- Illinois 100%
- OSU 94%
- EMU 83.5%
- Minnesota 79.5%
- Purdue 70.5%
Taking out our opponent's opponent's FCS games, here is my take on SOS for Michigan's opponents 2011, based on opponent win percentage:
- SDSU .692 (Army, Washington State, Michigan)
- ND .684 (USF, Michigan, MSU, Pitt, Purdue)
- WMU .647 (Michigan, CMU, Illinois, UConn)
- Nebraska .643 (Fresno State, Washington, Wyoming, Wisconsin)
- EMU .615 (Michigan, PSU, Akron)
- Minnesota .579 (USC, NMSU, Miami (NTM), Michigan)
- Iowa .571 (Iowa State, Pitt)
- Illinois .533 (Arkansas State, ASU, WMU, Northwestern)
- Northwestern .462 (BC, Army, Illinois)
- Purdue .429 (MTSU, Rice, ND)
- MSU .389 (FAU, ND, CMU, OSU)
- OSU .3 (Akron, Toledo, Miami, Colorado, MSU)
Putting both of these lists together to try and get a clear picture as to who shows up against better opposition, here we have:
This last list very well might be useless since it's double counting data (a good defense allows less yards, a good defense wins more games as a result), but I do think it best reflects my observations so far, all things considered.
- I'm neither a statistician nor a mathematician, I fully expect this to have some issues, and I'll do my best to correct them within the framework of this diary.
- Each team is counted towards the defensive statistics. I realize that with a sample size as small as three that can get problematic, but I didn't feel like I had too much of a choice due to data and time constraints.
Synopsis for Turnovers: For the second game this year, M had no turnovers (WMU was the other game). Michigan did have one fumble by Gardner but it was recovered by Smith. Minnesota had the only turnovers and Michigan ended the game with a +2 turnover margin. For the year, Michigan has lost 8 TOs (ranked #59) but gained 15 TOs (ranked #6) for a turnover margin of +7 or 1.40 per game (ranked #11).
For the third time this year, M returned a turnover for a touchdown. Three more players added their names to the takeaway list with Countess forcing a fumble, Johnson recovering a fumble, and Avery getting the scoop and score. Amazingly, there are now 15 different defensive players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass.
Synopsis for Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Obviously, turnovers did not impact which team won the game. I've added this table that summarizes expected points lost by TO's, expected points gained by opponent's TOs, the net EP due to TOs, and the adjusted score without turnovers.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: Remember the table below includes the WMU game and will NOT be the same as the (incorrect) NCAA Rankings.
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 2007-2010 FBS vs. FBS games. I "smoothed" the actual data.
Here is a summary of the smoothed expected points.
Some days I feel like a mouse among elephants compared to some of the diaries around here. I mean, WolverineBlue has to get diarist of the week, and I didn't even open his site. Fun fact: ESPN doesn't change the week on the NCAA scoreboard until Tuesday.
On to Week 6, in which the field is down to 5 zero-win teams: UAB, New Mexico, Oregon State, and two from the Sun Belt (motto: It's the Fun Belt!): FAU and Western Kentucky. Seriously, what's with this year? EMU has 3 wins, CSU is leading the MWC, and Rutgers is leading the Big East? Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria! This looks like it's going to be another year for the Big East Championship Hot Potato. Hopefully the last tie-breaker is a mascot sack race. This week I don't make fun of mascots for a change! But first:
I'd like to make a musket-related joke about Virginia's firepower downing the Vandals, but I just can't. Any game that has 16 punts does not get any sort of positive offensive efficiency comments from me. Virginia will get a +1 for the spectacularly named Trey Farquhar. I hereby declare that all kickers should be named Trey. And point guards. And waiters. Extra bonus if his brothers are named Uno and Due.
Elsewhere, Hawaii won the Frequent Flyer Miles bowl 44-26. Louisiana Tech had 3 turnovers and 8 penalties. When asked for a comment, LT's QB said "Hey, did you get to go to Hawaii in college on someone else's dime? I didn't think so."* Speaking of fitting names, ESPN's recap lists a "Tank Hopkins", but unfortunately his real name is Melvin. I hereby also declare that Stephen Hopkins's nickname be Tank as well. Or Ironhead.
*Not a real quote.
This week: Big, Bad In-conference games!
Er, Bad Games In Big Conferences. Arizona (1-4) versus Oregon State(0-4). Seriously, who would have thought Arizona would be 1-4. To be fair, they played Oklahoma State, then started conference play against Stanford and Oregon. Arizona had a chance against USC, but failed to recover an onside kick that could have set up the tying drive. Such is life. You may remember Oregon State from such games as 35-0 against Wisconsin or 27-19 against UCLA. When your QB has passed for 1000 yards on the season and only thrown 2 TDs, that's a good indication that something is wrong.
Closer to home, we've got Minnesota (1-4) vs Purdue (2-2). Since Minnesota doesn't play Indiana this year, this will have to do for Dysfunctional B1G football. We should all be well aware of Minnesota's problems on and off the field (seriously, coach, hope you feel better. You just might want a lower-stress job, like airline pilot or something). Purdue has been schitzo this year, and continued against ND. Marve returned for the second half, and TerBush thew an INT on the first play of the game. In summary: Purdue running - decent. Purdue anything else - average to not good.
One last special recognition to the WAC, for having two games with two one-win teams : Louisiana Tech versus Idaho and UNLV versus Nevada. Bold prediction: Louisiana Tech will lead the NCAA in frequent flyer miles.
We all love the in-depth analysis provided by Brian's UFR posts on MGoBlog. But sometimes the voluminous stream of information can be daunting.
I have created a web application to make viewing of UFR data easier and more powerful. You can step through the game analysis play by play or search and filter using a wide range of criteria. For any play, you are just one click away from viewing the corresponding video clip. I am now happy to make this app available to the MGoBlog community.
Disclaimer: This is a user-generated project and not an official feature of MGoBlog. I am offering this on a trial basis. While I intend to continue to support and update the program throughout the season, I can offer no firm promises or guarantees.
I have created a simple web site from which you can launch the viewer for your game of choice. There is more information at the web site. It can be found here:
In the future, UFR data should be viewable in the utility within 15 minutes of the UFR being posted on the main page of MGoBlog.
720p is available if your connection allows.