"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
Very little in terms of commitments this week, but there's some movement in the middle of the rankings as the recruiting services get around to rating more players—Indiana's comeuppance for losing Gunner Kiel ends up coming one week later as a result. Action since last rankings:
10-21-11: Minnesota picks up James Gillum.
10-23-11: Purdue picks up Greg Latta.
That's it. Two JuCo recruits. Thanks for making my job easy this week, B1G.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so Isaac Fruechte and James Gillum (Minnesota), Darius Stroud and Jacarri Alexander (Indiana), Steffon Martin, Devin Smith, and Greg Latta (Purdue), and Zaire Anderson (Nebraska) are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka 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.
On to the full data, after the jump.
Depending on how early you were up, with temps around freezing you were out scraping your car to get to the game! Might see some light, spotty showers, but mostly just a light mist for the morning, and some sun also. Hitting near 40 degrees by 10am, with a calm south wind.
Looking at 45 degrees for the kickoff, feeling just a few degress colder with a wind chill. Winds still out of the south at about 3mph, with partly cloudy skies by noon. I think we'll still be dry for the kickoff.
Clouds continue to build in a little more, but should still see some sun too! There's a slight chance of a shower, but I don't think it will be anything heavy, just a few sprinkles, and shouldn't last long. 47 degrees by halftime, and those southerly winds still calm-just a light breeze.
Should just make 50 degrees by 4pm, with all the clouds hanging around I don't think we'll get any warmer. There's still a chance of a spotty shower and a possible rumble or two of thunder throughout the later afternoon/early evening hours. Temps drop quickly into the low 40s by dinnertime, and will continue to drop into the later evening hours. If you're out celebrating late tonight, you'll feel temperatures down around the freezing point by last call. Winds staying out of the south around 3-5mph (but expect a blustery day tomorrow). Clouds do start to diminish, so even though it will be chilly, you won't have any rain to deal with and may see some stars!
Have a great time at the game, and celebrating a win afterwards! Hail!
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!!
as always, comments are appreciated. i know that the LB spots have been shifting around, but i think all the major players are here. also, there have been some departures so there are new blank spots on the roster.
Four teams exit the polls this week. With its third loss of the season, Auburn drops out of the polls for the third time this season. Three other preseason unranked teams also dropped out, Georgia Tech, Illinois and Washington (thanks for your brief one week stay in the polls).
Texas Tech, USC, Penn State and Cincinnati replace them in the polls. Texas Tech and Cincinnati are new teams to the rankings and bring the total up to 14 unranked teams that have been in the poll for at least 1 week,
Individual Ballot Analysis
We have a new leader of the contest this week. GoBlueSTL has jumped up to first place thanks primarily to Michigan State and USC. He earned 92 points which is 17 off the highest possible score. The perfect ballot this week has LSU, Oklahoma St, Arkansas, Michigan St, Southern Cal and Clemson for 109 points.
We also have new leaders in futility. The people who had been dominating the bottom moved up and we have a 4-way tie for last place. All four of them are receiving all 15 points by picking Oklahoma in group A with their 5 other teams unranked.
Analyzing your Ballot
The MGoBlogosphere was too busy reading Three and Out to pay attention to the outside football world. For the first time this season the population of MGoBlog would have done better if they had just randomly picked their teams.
A random ballot would expect to earn 52 points this week. The median and mean of MGoBlog entries is 49 points. That is probably not statistically significant but it is still not a good sign.
Games to Watch
This week we’ve got
#9 Michigan State at #13 Nebraska
A game that seems to fit in the mold of a classic Big Ten matchup even though it is the first time they meet as Big Ten opponents. Historically Nebraska is 3-0 against Michigan State with an average score of 41 – 9.
#4 Stanford at #20 USC
"What’s your deal"? Didn’t Andrew Luck come in as a redshirt freshman for that infamous upset of USC? Now let’s see what he does as a senior.
Florida vs. #22 Georgia
If Florida wants a successful season, let alone to be ranked again, they absolutely have to win this game. If Georgia wins they will be in pretty good shape. South Carolina seems very erratic and without Lattimore that will only be worse. Georgia might be able to get control of the SEC East with a win here and a loss by South Carolina @ Arkansas next week. Georgia's only tough games left are home games against Auburn and Georgia Tech.
#11 Oklahoma at #10 Kansas State
Is Oklahoma as bad as they looked last week? Is Kansas State any good or is their record solely a product of terrible competition?
Beilein getting in on that Hoke swag
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.
COACH BEILEIN: It's hard to believe that it's been already five years to have the privilege of coaching at Michigan. We love practicing with this team right now.
We have an incredible team-first attitude that's been very healthy so far. And now we're a couple of weeks away from the start of the season. So we love the young men on our team.
The most difficult thing will be replacing Darius Morris and all the intangibles that we had last year as a team that was really playing with a chip on their shoulder. So we're working hard at that. And I like the progress so far.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. How close to the start of the season do you think you'll choose a starter for the point guard position to replace Darius Morris?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, we have a scrimmage coming up. We have an exhibition game coming up. That will be a big part of it. And then every practice there's an opportunity for me to evaluate.
So I would think about that, the three or four days before our first game with Ferris State on a Friday night, we'll probably choose that just the week of that game.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the improvements to Crisler Arena, what that's meant both in terms of recruiting and just the players you have right now and also the play itself on the court, I think (Michigan women’s head) coach Kevin Borseth talked about the painting of the roof, making it seem a little brighter in there?
COACH BEILEIN: Yes, there's been two things going on. First of all, the Chrisler improvements are striking. There's just -- you just walk into it, you feel like it's a brand new arena.
And it had aged quite a bit. It's a wonderful building for Michigan basketball for a long time. But Cazzie Russell being inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame, that's the last time it was probably updated was when they built it.
So it's been really nice for our kids. I think they feel good about themselves when they're out there. The other thing, with our player development center, our practice facility, is all but completed. It's two weeks away. We've actually moved into the offices. That's going to lead into so much more efficiency how we operate every day.
So it's a very -- it's a good environment right now to grow as a basketball program.
Q. How do you think (Tim) Hardaway (Jr.) is going to react to defenses really keying in on him this season as him being the focal point of the Michigan offense?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, we had an early answer on that the other day. We just had a scrimmage where he was so unselfish he had seven assists and no turnovers in a scrimmage.
And just he sees the open people almost sometimes to a fault, where if they're putting extra men on him or guarding him a certain way, this is a team-first guy now.
So he's been really -- he's fairly comfortable in that. I think obviously he's still young. He's 19 years old. He's still young. His body is developing. But, still, he's going to have a lot of bumps in the road, because you have to guard him.
But he realized that's part of the journey himself to reach his goals of being a great Michigan basketball player and then playing afterwards.
Q. Two years ago there were more expectations in the program with Manny Harris and additional players coming back, how is this year different than those expectations and how that season turned out?
COACH BEILEIN: I think that one of the things that happened in that season was injury to Manny Harris earlier in that season. The expectations were very high, but Manny never really got to 100 percent, we felt, the entire year.
And we were probably more dependent on he and DeShawn (Sims) and the rest of the pieces were not complete yet. I think that we can -- if those two did not have a good game, we had a very difficult chance of winning.
This team, I think, has where the talent, those two are extremely talented players, this team may have a few more pieces, and I think we have a great team chemistry on the team as well, that hopefully a lot of intangibles going into winning. We hope we possess as many as you would need.
Q. Where does Trey (Burke) rank among the other freshmen in the Big Ten as far as being able to play right away, with (Indiana’s Cody) Zeller and those other big-time freshmen?
COACH BEILEIN: I have no idea about the other freshmen. I just look at my team -- you have to look at the rotation and how many veterans they have coming back. He's walked into a great situation with Darius Morris leaving, as far as him personally.
At the same time, there's a lot that goes on from going from a high school guard to a college guard. So after two weeks of practice, he's shown a lot of moxie, some great poise. And yesterday, the other day, in particular, a lot of toughness.
Those are three things you'd like to have a freshman have. Usually that takes a few years for them to accumulate some of those traits. He showed last week some really positive things in those areas that are beyond his ability to make a jump shot or make a play.
And so we're hopeful he'll continue that trend.
Taking a stroll down memory lane during the bye week to see how pre-season predictions stand now along with various nuggets of interest.
In my preseason post I grouped the season into four groups, Cupcakes, Just Don’t Screw It Up, Toss-Ups, Countdown Games (plus Nebraska).
Eastern Michigan and Minnesota coming into the Big House without much hope. Eastern was bad every year considered and only gets a slight uptick from returning starters. No points awarded for hiring Mike Hart.
Minnesota saw last year plummet below already-low-for-a-Big-Ten-team values and returning starters push them down slightly further.
Both of the cupcake games are in the bag. Eastern is looking slightly better than expected and Minnesota has inspired GopherQuest.
Just Don’t Screw It Up
Western Michigan, San Diego St, Purdue, and at Northwestern all seem pretty safe on their own, but there is only a 55% chance we go 4-0 in these four games. Successfully do that and a nine-win season becomes a more attainable. Dropping one or more will make it tougher to top last season’s win total in the regular season.
The last of this group comes on Saturday vs. Purdue. That game sits at 84% chance of winning, 1% better than preseason. So far we have taken care of the first three games from this group, a win against Purdue should is a must.
Notre Dame, at Iowa and at Illinois all place Michigan a percent or two below 50/50. 5-2 between these last two groups keeps us on pace to 8 wins. Iowa overachieved last year but is brought down to earth thanks to a depleted roster. Illinois is heading in the opposite direction after [NAME REDACTED] made one last run to save his job. Notre Dame is the highest rated of the bunch as Brian Kelly begins to purge the Weis ratings from the books. The Domers get the benefit of a strong returning group but are in the mix with Iowa and Illinois thanks to an under the lights meet-up in Ann Arbor.
The formula for eight wins was 5-2 against the previous two groups. Currently we sit at 4-0 here. Iowa has moved from 49% preseason to 62% currently, Illinois is holding at 53% from 49% in August, but showing signs of fading. Winning two of the next three would obviously guarantee eight wins and make 9 or 10 very possible.
Countdowns and Nebraska
To hold serve on an 8-win season, expect one win out of this group. Ohio has been the cream of the Big Ten for the last several years, but graduation and Tressel-gate have dropped the Buckeyes into the mix. Michigan State and Nebraska both saw 6+ point improvements last season and have a decent group returning. Nebraska should definitely be the better team, but they won’t have the luxury of home field.
Sitting at 0-1 from this group now but a real shot at picking up at least one and maybe two wins from here. Ohio is already sitting at three losses and despite only a single loss on the season, Nebraska’s projected strength seems overstated. In August both games were projected about 35% for Michigan. Nebraska currently sits at 62% and Ohio at 75%, virtually flipped from where we started.
All told, the eight win projection seems pretty safe. I am projected a 96% chance of at least eight wins. The coin flip win over Notre Dame and holding serve against the Don’t Screw It Up group pushed the 8 wins to 9. Despite the loss to Sparty, Nebraska and Ohio’s weakness has pushed that from a 1-2 expectation to a 1.5, putting Michigan smack dab between a 9 and 10 win year projection at this point.
Big Ten Predictions
2. Ohio St
3. Penn St
Drop Ohio St down a couple spots and everything looks about right.
3. Michigan St
Swap Nebraska and Michigan St and you have my latest projections, pretty good for the Big Ten.
Overall, the Big Ten is slotted third in my preseason conference ratings behind the SEC and what’s left of the Big XII
LSU and Alabama are the real deal but this is a down year for the rest of the SEC. Georgia is the only team outside of the big 2 that I have in my top 30 power rankings. Right now the Big XII sits atop my conference leaderboard, followed by the SEC and the PAC12/Big Ten. ACC is next with the smoking ashes of the Big East a distant 6th.
There is a lot of turnover in my conference champ picks. Only Alabama, Oregon, Boise, Toledo and Nevada carry-over. Oklahoma St, Michigan St, Clemson, Cincinnati, Houston, and Arkansas St take over for Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Tulsa and Troy respectively.
The three biggest overachievers versus preseason projections (+12 PAN vs projection) are Baylor, Oklahoma St and Temple. Michigan St is tops in the Big Ten and 5th overall at +10 vs preseason. Minnesota checks in at the bottom of the Big Ten at –11 vs preseason (which was already bad) and Michigan is #30 at +6 pts.
Ron Zook Dumb Punt of the Week
Goes to…Ron Zook and Paul Wulff at Washington St. Both coaches faced 4th and 3 from the opponent 38 trailing by 3 scores in the second half. Both coaches punted and both teams lost.
- Denard drops to #2 in Win Percent Added (WPA) on the season at 2.11. Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech holds the top spot at 2.17.
- Michigan’s offense has done more to contribute to wins than any other team. The offensive WPA is 2.61. Clemson is the only other offense above 2.
- The defense has been average in WPA, –.14, #63 in the country. Rutgers defense leads at 2.39 and the Nittany Lion defense is tops in the Big Ten at 1.63 games won on account of the defense.
- Michigan has dropped to #17 in turnover value on the season, producing 3 ppg of value more than average from turnovers.
- After starting slowly Michigan is starting to even out the field position disparity. Michigan ranks 71st nationally at –.06 points/drive difference vs opponents.
- Michigan is #5 in Red Zone efficiency with 89% of possible points scored on 23 relevant red zone trips. The defense is 31st, allowing 68% of possible points on 18 relevant trips.
- Denard is ranked as the 11th most value QB at +7 points per game (this adjusts for opponent, but not “clutchness.” WPA does not adjust for opponent but does adjust for “clutchness”). He is +4 rushing which is #2 behind Collin Klein at Kansas St. Robert Griffin leads overall with +15, Russell Wilson is second at +13.
- Jordan Kovacs is ranked #11 nationally in impact value, contributing 21 points on negative value plays for the opposing offense. Other LB’s are way down the list. Kenny Demens is #17 among Big Ten LBs at +9 and Jake Ryan is #26 at +6. Our DL hasn’t been much better with RVB tops at #16 among Big Ten linemen.
PAN (Points Above Normal), National Rank (Leader), Big Ten Rank (Leader)
- Michigan: +6, 3rd (Oregon), 1st
- Purdue: +1, 43rd, 6th
- Pass Offense
- Michigan: +2, 33rd (Baylor), 3rd (Wisconsin)
- Purdue: +1, 51st, 7th
- Rush Defense
- Michigan: +2, 32nd (LSU), 4th (MSU)
- Purdue: –1, 87th, 11th
- Pass Defense
- Michigan: 0, 53rd (Oklahoma St), 8th (MSU)
- Purdue: –2, 87th, 9th
- Special Teams
- Michigan: –1, 96th (Florida St), 12th (Purdue)
- Purdue: +3 , 9th, 1st
Purdue has special teams and everything else points to M. I do think that this could be a proverbial closer than the experts think, Michigan 31 Purdue 21