Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
You may have noticed I did not do an Over/Under post last week for the Bowling Green game. Frankly, I didnt know what to do. The week before I got all cute and mocked up some totals for some of Michigan's backups, expecting them to play a bunch against UMASS. Yeah, didnt happen. In fact, I'm convinced I nearly jinxed the Wolverines with my bravado and bold statements towards the second stringers production. Rather than test fate, I skipped last week. But, I'll put something together for fun as a supplement to all the other great previewing going every Friday in advance of Michigan's game. Speaking of great previewing, check out the JCB. We have several new posts up already today, setting you up for all the college football and EPL soccer action this wekeend. I'll have a couple more posts over there later today with picks and everything else in between, so if you need a non-MIchigan sports fix to set your weekend up, please stop over. And, we'll have the Pick-4 categories up shortly as well.
Plugs aside, let's get into this game a little bit. It's always a tough day for me when Michigan and Indiana square off in any sport. For me, I never want to see my alma mater lose a game. I want them to win every time they play. But, if you cut me, I do bleed more Maize and Blue than anything else. I never want Michigan to lose either. I always want them to win. I try to enjoy Michigan-Indiana games for the pure sport of it, as a result. When the chips are down, however, I end up pulling for who needs the game the most. In 2010, the direction of the Michigan football program is on the line. While it would be a tremendous moment for the IU kids should they spring an upset, I feel Michigan is primed for a major breakthrough finally under Rodriguez. They need to keep this train going in the right direction. They have my unconditional support tomorrow down in Bloomington. But, if they lose, dont fault me for hustling down there to enjoy the party. Anyone want to watch my dogs if that happens?
With that half-assed explanation of loyalty out of the way, let's move on to the Over/Under games I have cooked up for the Big 10 opener tomorrow.
Ted Bolser, total receiving yards: O/U 49.5
I know what you're thinking. Who? He's Indiana's Tight End and a redshirt freshmen. Get to know him because there's a good chance he's going to stick a couple daggers into the Michigan defense. We all know Michigan's struggles keeping tabs on the tight ends, especially in big moments, over the last few seasons. Bolser is third in catches and yards for the one of the nation's more prolific passing attacks, so you know he's part of the gameplan and that the Hoosier brain trust think they call his number and get a productive play. Bolser was the 52nd ranked played in the state of Ohio in 2009, playing high school ball at Indian Hill, a surburban Cincinnati school, probably more known athletically as a quasi baseball power.
In this case, they appear to have a grown a Big 10 offensive weapon. At 14.2 yards per catch, Bolser is giving the Hoosiers some kick with his catches. He has four touchdowns already. His other catches include momentum swinging grabs on key drives that helped swing two games. He would have done the same thing in a third game had the Hoosiers not botched their chance later in the drive. Dont be surprised if he impacts the game early. Three of his touchdowns have come in the first quarter, twice tallying Indiana's first score of the game. We've seen Jonas Mouton make some plays this year in coverage, including a pair of picks. Can he thwart a Hoosier attempt or two at getting the ball to this kid? There are plenty of other better name wideouts to set an Over/Under to for the Hoosiers. Demarlo Belcher is one of the best in the league. Tandon Doss is starting to hit a stride after battling a groing earlier in the year. Terrance Turner is flat blowing up in his senior year. I just think those guys are going to get their stats one way or another tomorrow. As long as one doesnt go bonkers, Michigan will be fine. Going to Bosler has been a strategic trump card for the Hoosiers this year, but if Michigan can block this a couple times it will probably force enough punts and field goal attempts to allow the offense to put some breathing room between the two teams. This Over/Under will go a long in determining what kind of game the Michigan defense will end up having.
Ben Chappell Total TD Passes: O/U 2.5
This is a great game to play for Over addicts. Michgian fans should ready themselves now and expect the Hoosiers to hit some big plays in the passing game. But, it doesnt really matter what kind of game evolves it can easily involve the Hoosier QB throwing a hat trick on the board. If Indiana goes step for step with Michigan, push them into the fourth quarter or even spring the upset, it almost certainly has to come from the senior signal caller's arm. But even if Michigan blows out Indiana, easily covering the pointspread, its still likely we'll see a lot of Chappell. They're going to throw, throw, throw and do so with Chappell almost to the end even if they're out of it by the second half. Would a 48-31 final for Michigan, but with Chappell tossing 3-4 TDs really be an outlandish outcome? Actually it sounds about right half the time I think about.
How good has Chappell been this year? He's top ranked in the nation in value added for all QBs, per the inimitable Mathlete's number crunching. But three TD games are not easy to come by, regardless of how strong the offense is or how weak the pass defense looks. It might truthfully be a sucker bet for Over addicts. He didnt throw a TD against the Wolverines a year ago. Chappell has only gone over the 2.5 total four times in his career. Last year against Illinois and Wisconsin and this year in the last two games against Western Kentucky and Akron. The Hoosiers are 3-1 SU, 4-0 ATS in those game, so look out kittens if he does, I suppose. It's a tricky number because he's almost a lock to get two TDs, three TDs is not easy to get, but Michigan's D might be the perfect tonic to power up your numbers. Hopefully, the IU brain trust hasnt noticed the Wolverines struggles defending the roll out.
Mike Cox O/U rushing yards: O/U 60 yards
Michigan's tailback rotation in this game will be intriguing. Starter Michael Shaw, who has been an underrated value for the Wolverines through four games, is out as is Fitzgerald Toussaint, who excited folks last week with a breakout run. Michigan's five man rotation for tailback carries has yet to really materialize with Shaw and Vincent Smith carrying most of the load, but with injuries hampering the position tomorrow and only three healthy bodies available, I would be stunned if Michael Cox and freshmen Stephen Hopkins werent a more regular part of the gameplan. I dont know if Hopkins isnt more of a role player in short yardage spots, plus he fumbled a week ago, so I am hedging that Cox will be more of a factor and making him the focus of this Over/Under game. Besides, I am trying to lure some Magnus and Touch The Banner money into the pot. Like Magnus, I too am a big fan of Michael Cox. But I am reluctant to annoint him because frankly we've only seen him in garbage duty against the likes of Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Delaware State. If he gets a bunch of carries tomorrow, they will represent the first touches the redshirt Sophomore will get with not only the game still in doubt, but against any Big 10 foe.
It looms as a big day, a turning point perhaps, for the young man's college career. I'm totally pulling for him. Not just because I feel he has the goods, but more because anybody who would commit to Michigan during the first week of September in 2007, amid all the crap being flung at the program in the wake of the Appalachain State and Oregon disasters and then stay through all that has happened the last two seasons since the coaching change, deserves a full round of hoarse throat cheering when he gets in the game. The Karmic side in me feels good things are coming this kid's way for sticking it out. Expect Michigan to use Vincent Smith more early on as his experience, quality blocking and nose for the end zone (he does have six scores in Michigan's last six games) will be needed to steady the game for Michigan in the first conference road game of the season. But Cox will be meshed into the mix at some point tomorrow. I'm thinking something in the ballpark of 10 carries, which would be well over 100 yards if he adheres to the YPC he's achieved in his limited time so far. But, this is a step up in play and he'll be going against starters for the first time in his career. I dont know if you can expect big numbers. But man, if does.....here's hoping Magnus lets me on the bandwagon.
Darius Willis + Michigan's leading tailback rusher, total rushing yards: O/U 160 yards.
First, a reminder. And, give me a break, folks. This is the single greatest play my alma mater has ever pulled off at Michigan Stadium. Plus, the sweet voice of Don Fisher reminds me of March basketball in the early 1990s. Cant beat that:
I dont like doing two running back games out of sheer variety sake. But this one is too goofy to pass up. It comes courtesy of fellow MGoUser and Diarist mistersuits who suggested it in his tremendous blog yesterday dissecting the team's expected production in Bloomington tomorrow. And, it has the added value of including another Michigan running back in the event the Cox game is a non-starter, and I misjudged how much playing time he'll receive. The battle between the teams' rushing offenses might be an underrated key to this game. On the Hoosier side of the equation is Darius Willis. We all remember him a year ago for streaking down the sideline on a 85-yard scoring gallop that nearly won the game for Indiana in the Big House. Outside of that run, he was pretty bottled up by the Wolverines with just 67 yards on 15 carries. I dont know how good Willis really is, though. I think he's got a nice game, but he had three big time runs a year ago, one apiece against Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern. I hate to maniupluate numbers, but if you take those runs out of the equation, he only averaged 3.23 yards per carry in 2009. He's been effective this year against Towson and Akron, but couldnt get anything going against Western Kentucky. I'd like to think Michigan can perform better than those teams, but you never know when the same spot syndrome will kick in. He housed Michigan a year ago, no reason to think he cant do it again. But defending the run so far has been the good part of the Michigan defense this year. Will that hold up in Big 10 play?
Roy Roundree, total receiving yards: O/U 85.5
There's a couple of ways to look at Roy Roundtree's projected season over the next two months. You can take his 20 catches so far this season and say he's on pace for 60 receptions, which is great. However his yardage output has not been as big as last year's on a per catch basis as he's down three whole yards per catch. Or, you can go back to last year, when he emerged during the final four games and point out that in Michigan's last 8 games played he has 50 catches for just over 600 yards, a pace that extrapolated over a 12-game season would equal a 75-catch, 907-yard season with a 12.1 yard per catch average. That would be a great season for a Michigan wide receiver in any era of the program's history. Either way, its hard not to get excited about a full season out of Roundtree. The question with Roy is can he find the consistency he had to close last season and stay in that groove the rest of the year. He's alternated games in 2010 where he hasnt dented the stat sheet with star performances. He got knocked out of the opener against UConn and wasnt involved much during the Umass contest. He was clutch against Notre Dame and had 100-yards a week ago--his third 100-yard game in his last eight--against Bowling Green. Can he put forth his best back-to-back game of the season tomorrow against Indiana? Or is this offense just too varied and deep and other options take precedence? Personally, I think he has a big game. But, then again maybe he's a decoy and Stonum blows up. Or Odoms. Who knows? That's why they call it gambling.
All numbers included in this preview are using my PAN metric, Points Above Normal. PAN is essentially how many points above an average FBS team was a team/unit/player worth. For reference, an average FBS is approximately equal to Illinois or a top team from the MAC.
All games against FCS teams are excluded for all teams, as well as any plays in the second half where one team leads by more than 2 touchdowns or any end of half run out the clock situations.
At this point adjustments for strength of opponent are directional but still highly uncertain. They will be used when noted and excluded otherwise. As the season progresses almost all numbers will be opponent adjusted.
Rush Offense vs Indiana
Michigan Off, no adjustments: +13 PAN, 3rd nationally, 1st in Big 10
Michigan Off, opp adjusted: +6 PAN, 6th, 1st
Indiana Def, no adjustments: +2 PAN allowed, 58th, 7th
Indiana Def, opp adjusted: +3 PAN allowed, 101st, 11th
This should be another bloodbath on the ground. No matter how you slice it, Michigan is really good at running the ball and Indiana hasn’t been great at stopping it and they have played some terrible teams. Based on the numbers this is projected to be between a 9 and 15 point advantage for Michigan.
Denard Robinson is leading all players (including running backs) with a +13 PAN per game on the ground, nearly double the next highest quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick at Nevada and Cam Newton at Auburn who both sit at +7 PAN.
It sounds like Michael Shaw will be out this week. He has been Michigan’s leading running back but holds a relatively mundane +1 PAN on the season and is 12th among Big 10 running backs in total rushing PAN. Vincent Smith sits right behind Shaw with a +0 PAN and 13th in the Big 10.
Pass Offense vs Indiana
Michigan Off, no adjustments: +7 PAN, 22nd nationally, 4th in Big 10
Michigan Off, opp adjusted: +4 PAN, 16th, 2nd
Indiana Def, no adjustments: -3 PAN allowed, 14th, 2nd
Indiana Def, opp adjusted: +2 PAN allowed, 90th, 10th
Another big swing from Indiana’s cupcake non-conference schedule. Adjusting for opponent takes them from top 20 in pass defense to bottom 20. With a big advantage on the ground Michigan might be going to the air in large quantities but they shouldn’t have much trouble when they do. This matchup is projecting to be a 4-6 point advantage for Michigan.
With the limited throws required of Denard, his total value has been good at +5 passing, but with the success other Big 10 quarterbacks have had to dated his 54th ranking overall in passer value is 8th in the Big 10.
The limited attempts have also limited the numbers from the wideouts. Roundtree and Stonum are the two with enough catches and yards to qualify and they are a decent +4 and +2 respectively. These numbers put them at 16th and 24th in the conference.
Rush Defense vs Indiana
Michigan Def, no adjustments: +3 PAN allowed, 65th nationally, 9th in Big 10
Michigan Def, opp adjusted: +1 PAN allowed, 80th, 8th
Indiana Off, no adjustments: -1 PAN, 90th, 9th
Indiana Off, opp adjusted: -2 PAN, 84th, 9th
Indiana running the ball against Michigan’s defense has all the makings of a pillow fight. Indiana isn’t great at running the ball and Michigan isn’t great at stopping it. Don’t expect a big focus or advantage either way when it comes to Indiana running the ball.
Hoosier running back Darious Willis is the lone qualifying back from Indiana and he comes in 16th in the conference at –0 PAN per game on the season.
Pass Defense vs Indiana
Michigan Def, no adjustments: +4 PAN allowed, 70th nationally, 8th in Big 10
Michigan Def, opp adjusted: +2 PAN allowed, 85th, 9th
Indiana Off, no adjustments: +20 PAN, 1st, 1st
Indiana Off, opp adjusted: +8 PAN, 3rd, 1st
And things just got a bit scary. The secondary was a massive fear for Michigan fans everywhere coming into the season and even after accounting for their wretched non-conference opponents, Indiana’s passing game looks like a well oiled machine.
Quarterback Ben Chappell has been the man behind the entirety of the +20 PAN through the air. That feat of efficiency places him squarely at #1 in the country in value added among signal callers. He hasn’t been a threat on the ground at all, but his productivity and efficiency passing the ball have been second to none through the early non-conference slate.
His targets have included five different players with qualifying stats, three of which are ranked in the top 100 nationally. Damarlo Belcher is 8th nationally and tops in the Big 10 with +8 PAN on the season. Terrance Turner is fourth in the Big 10 at +6 and Tandon Doss is also a solid +5. The Hoosier’s fourth and fifth most productive targets have been Ted Bolswer and Duwyce Wilson, who despite having three guys ahead of them on their own team, are ahead of only Roy Roundtree on Michigan’s roster in receiver productivity. Running back Darius Willis is an occasional target as well, ranking fourth among Big 10 backs in receiving.
Because it’s still difficult to determine how much of Indiana’s success is directly due to their weak schedule, projecting this matchup seems especially difficult. Not difficult is saying that this should be a huge struggle for Michigan but in how bad is it going to be.
Special Teams and Penalties vs Indiana
Punters and punt returners will probably not decide this game. Indiana has been pretty average at both and Michigan has been above average at the punting and below average in the returning. When it comes to the frequent kickoffs and kick returns, both teams have been equally bad at both so far this season. The kicking has been a major sore spot for Michigan fans this season. After last week’s refusal to skip the field goals altogether, Michigan moves up to 114th nationally as other teams continue to trot out poor kickers. Indiana hasn’t been hit as hard as Michigan but their situation isn’t great itself. They come in at 87th nationally at –1.4 but have only attempted 2 field goals in their two FBS games.
Penalties could be interesting for these two teams as well. Both teams have been at the way wrong end of the penalties so far this year. Indiana is slightly better than Michigan at –2 and 102nd nationally versus Michigan’s 108th and –3 per game.
Predictions Almost Certain to Cost You Money if Taken Seriously
You don’t need any fancy stats to determine that this one has all the makings of a shootout. If both teams offenses continue rolling it might only take a stop or two for one defense to gain an advantage. If Michigan doesn’t lose the turnover battle they should have a pretty good shot at winning.
Michigan 35 Indiana 31
Elsewhere in the Big 10:
Ohio St 28 Illinois 13 – Ohio St goes back to a bit of Tressel-ball in Big 10 play
Iowa 17 Penn St 12 – The opposite of the Michigan Indiana game
Michigan St 28 Wisconsin 24 – Setting up a match of undefeated teams next week
Minnesota 35 Northwestern 31 – Upset of the week, the Fighting Brewsters pull one out
Alabama 21 Florida 17 - Alabama wins another one ugly
Stanford 34 Oregon 31 – Stanford knocks off the Ducks in Eugene.
Forget ND. Here comes the first REAL test of Michigan's defense? Why do I say that? Because Indiana is 11th in the nation in passing and 10th in points scored and has a senior QB with 30 career TD passes. Last year they scored 33 points on us while rushing for nearly 200 yards.
Are you scared yet?
Okay, maybe that's because you looked at their scedule and realized that while they were scoring close to 40 points a game, they were doing so against what amounts to the equivalent of Bowling Green's JV team.
No, seriously. They've played three games, against something called "Towson", Western Kentucky, and Akron. I'm not exactly sure, but I think some of those might be division 1 opponents. Let's compare:
Michigan is pretty good from year to year, Michigan State is usually hovering around .500. Western Michigan is a middling MAC team. Kentucky SUCKS, Kentucky State exists? (maybe) So what does that say about Western Kentucky?
Yeah, Michigan played FCS UMass, but at least that SOUNDS like it could be a FBS school. "Towson"?? Is not exactly a two time defending nation champion of the lower level.
How bad are these teams? They're a combined 1-11 with the lone win coming in OT against *drumroll please* COASTAL CAROLINA! Although Akron did almost beat GARDNER WEBB in OT. In the other ten games, Indiana's opponents were outscored by an average of about 40 points (no I didn't actually do the math, but I'm not really that far off).
So while I did manage to dig up some film on them, there's not much we can learn other than formations and base plays (and the fact that IND is wearing some uglyass 1970's uniforms).
Grannie grab your gun.
Hey, remember when ND played Nevada? And Nevada had Gumar from 'Harold and Gumar goto whitecastle' playing QB. They ran this funky type of offense with the RB 5 yards behind the QB who was already in the shotgun. That's called the pistol. It's also what UCLA just used to depants Texas and will probably be the next fad spreading across the college football world, if it isn't already.
The point of this alignment is to get a little bit more downhill momentum for your running back so that he can hit the holes with speed.
You still get the ability to do playaction, but you lose the lateral fakes. To regain the lateral motion, the RB will line up next to the QB in the shotgun like this:
On Running downs, they might put a fullback into the formation. If the QB was under center it would just be an offset I formation. But with the group of them back an extra 5 yards, we have to call it something different. I'm gonna call it the .38 caliber.
Here we have both the FB and the TE to the right, so this is likely to be a run to the right 60-70% of the time. In this case, they ran a zone dive to the left.
When they go spread, they like to use three receivers in a bunch so they can run pick plays.
Here's a running play with the bunch formation.
The middlebackers and the safety are confused and out of position.
The middle backer blitzes to the wrong side, opening up a huge running lane.
So the hoosiers get an easy 50 yard TD with 4 blockers on 2 defenders at the point of attack.
QB Ben Chappell is the same guy that put 30 some points on us last year. 5th year senior? Not a super strong arm, throws with his body. Good size. Not fast. Decent pocket presence. Likes to do 3 step drops for quick routes or playaction boots. Has good timing with his receivers, can hit them on a fly in stride. Doesn't throw well on the run. His strength is in reading the defense and picking the right receiver to go to. I suggest we run more pressure and man coverage with a single high safety this week.
#88 Belcher is their deep threat. Tall kid, not blazing speed, but chews up a lot of yardage with long strides.
TB Darius Willis is their main running threat. He's 6 foot, 220 ish and can run through arm tackles. Has a good head fake. He also had an 85 yard TD against us last year.
TE #83. Tall, soft hands. Less athletic version of rudolph.
O-Line. They look small and meh. This is probably what separates Indiana from most big ten teams. There's just not a lot of talent there.
They run a base 3-4 on 1st and 2nd down, will not substitute against a spread, instead they flex out their OLB to cover the slots. On 3rd down they like to switch to either a nickle, or a cover 1 to put extra DB's on the slot receivers.
Not a lot of speed. Towson's QB had a 40 yard scramble against them on a broken play. So like WOOOOO DENARD! They've given up oodles of yardage against teams that really don't run the ball very well.
Their safety #10 looks like a weaklink. (He may even have been replaced already.) Takes a lot of bad angles. Towson managed several plays over 40 yards against them.
They've given up huge amounts of yards to teams that don't sport very good offensive lines. Here's an example of what might be the reason why.
This is Indiana's short yardage defense. If you're saying, 'but wait a minute that looks just like their base 3-4!" then you've been paying attention. Do the hoosier's have a defensive coordinator? Because this personell package, in this situation is almost criminally stupid.
It's 3rd and 1 and they're in a base 3-4.
It's 3rd and 1 in THE REDZONE and they're still in a base 3-4!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a DOUBLE TIGHT formation and they're in a 3-4?!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation WITH A FULLBACK MEANING THERE ISN'T A SINGLE WR IN THE GAME, and they're still in a base 3-4 with 4 DBs!!!?! (well hey, at least they walked up one of the safeties...)
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation with a fullback and there are EIGHT OFFENSIVE LINEMEN AGAINST YOUR 3 DOWN LINEMEN!!!!!!!!! THEY ONLY NEED TO GAIN 1 FREAKING YARD!!!!!!!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation with a fullback AND IT'S AN UNBALANCED LINE TO THE RIGHT!!!!!!OMG HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT?!!?!
It's 3rd and 1 in the redzone against a double tight formation with extra o-linemen, no WR, in an unbalanced formation to the right WITH THE H BACK IN A WING TO THE RIGHT!!!! THE UNBALANCED SIDE!!!! THERE ARE 9 OFFENSIVE PLAYERS FROM THE BALL TO THE RIGH!!!!! AND INDIANA HAS 4 (FOUR!) PLAYERS COVERING 2 (TWO!) ON THE OTHER SIDE!!!?! WTF ARE YOU DOING??!
So you won't be surprised that WKU ran to the right and scored a TD on this play.
They use a spread punt formation.
Had an okay return against Towson and got a 70+ yard return against WKU, so they must at least know their blocking assignments on kickoff returns.
Tandon Doss, who some of you might remeber is a pretty nifty runner, even if he doesn't have a world class top gear.
Should be a high scoring game. And most likely a preview of things to come. If the offense doesn't score more than 45 points, they should hang their heads in shame. The key will be in stopping Chappell. If we can hold them to 30 points, I'll be happy. (not really, but I'll take it.) Their running back is talented enough, but that O-line just doesn't run block very well, and we should have a sizeable advantage there.
I'm gonna say 48-28 good guys.
I've added the Fremeau Efficiency Index. Also added the basic data for each category (score, rush yards, pass yards, etc.), the number of possessions, and the data per possession.
Synopsis: After 4 games, Michigan is currently ranked #11 in scoring offense and #64 in scoring defense. Based on these rankings, M has a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season. Note that if Defense rankings improve just slightly to the Top 60, the probability of a +5 WLM increases to 70%. Offense continues to trend better each week. Defense improved slightly. (See line chart below.)
Based on the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), Michigan is predicted to win between 8.7 and 9.2 games (excluding bowl games but adjusted with +1 for M's one FCS opponent).
Based on the Fremeau Efficiency Index, M is favored by 18 points. Using the Sagarin Predictor, M is favored by 10.7 points in the Indiana game (Vegas Odds Opened at 10.5). Notice that the three Sagarin odds are very close to one another this week.
Overall this year, M is averaging 3.6 points per possession (PPP) and 49 YPP. The defense is giving up just 1.9 PPP and 33 YPP.
DETAILS: Here are the FEI numbers ( http://bcftoys.blogspot.com/search/label/Forecasts and http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fei ).
GE = Game Efficiency (Basic data before SoS adjustment), MW = FBS Mean Wins for the Season, RMW = Remaining FBS Mean Wins
Note that FEI completely excludes all non-FBS data (the W-L record is only for FBS games, etc.). Therefore, you need to add 1 to the projected numbers to get the final predicted wins for M this year. The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in 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. I've included the GE basic data so you can see the impact of adjusting for opponent. (See: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/fei-ratings/2010/fo-basics-our-college-stats )
Here are the Sagarin Ratings ( http://www.kiva.net/~jsagarin/sports/cfsend.htm ). I have added "Opps Rank" which is the total rankings (based on Sagarin Rating)of the opposition played divided by the number of teams played.
Sagarin uses two basic ratings: PREDICTOR (in which the score MARGIN is the only thing that matters) and ELO-CHESS (in which winning and losing only matters, the score margin is of no consequence). The overall rating is a synthesis of the two diametrical opposites, ELO-CHESS and PREDICTOR.
Per Sagarin: ELO-CHESS is “very politically correct. However, it is less accurate in its predictions for upcoming games than is PREDICTOR”.
Here is the U/M vs. Indiana National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push"). Biggest differences are M rushing O (#2) versus I rushing D (#92) and conversely I passing O (#11) versus M passing D (#105).
Here is the line graph for Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense.
Here are the week by week National Statistical Rankings for Michigan (cumulative thru the week indicated):
I have included the major rankings for offense and defense but scoring rankings show the best correlation to winning and losing. Scoring rankings are based on PPG. Rushing, Passing, and Total rankings are based on YPG.
Here is the basic data for Michigan (each individual week followed by totals and then average per game). I've included Total Possessions for Offense & Defense along with the calculated data per possession. Number of possessions do not include running out the clock at the half or end of game. Offense Plays and Defense Plays are better indicators than Time of Possession.
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).
Each year, of the 66 FBS AQ teams, 65% (43 teams) end up with a + WLM and 36% (24 teams) end up with a +5 WLM.
[Ed.: Bump. As the OP notes, this data is still very shaky four games in, but the amount of improvement in the offense is so great it can hardly be a mirage.]
In my post the other day, Why should 2010 not be another 2009?, I looked at what our offense has accomplished in 2010 relative to what it had accomplished at this point in the season in 2009. It had two meaningful results:
1) This years' offense draws its potency from highly reproduceable, base set offensive plays, unlike the high variance scrambles and special teams play of 2009.
2) This year's offense is putting up far superior numbers to what they did a year ago (up 28%!!) against as-good or slightly-better competition (77th strength-of-schedule in 2010 vs 114th in 2009).
The Conclusion From the Former:
Our offense will come back to earth from meteoric numbers in out-of-conference play, BUT we have statistically significant evidence to believe that our offense will be far more reliable than last year due to depth, experience, and dilithium.
Our defense cannot stop any team that is executing, whether it's UMass or that-team-down-south. In other words, our wins and losses are going to be determined by how good an offense we face each week, and how well they execute.
Examples: UConn played bad (dropped passes, poor throws) and we stopped them. On the flip side UMass played well (good schemes, good execution) and they had their way with us.
Each and every Big10 offense we play is going to put up at least or slightly better numbers than their normalized offensive output.
So let's find out how bad it's going to be against us with a--
Chart of Infinite Defensive Gloom (after 4 weeks)
|2009 Rank||2009 Opponent||Expected N-PPG||Expected N-YPG||Actual PPG||Actual YPG|
Normalized Offensive Output - The important thing we're doing here is not looking at the raw PPG and YPG of these teams because it does not account for how good of competition they have played. Four weeks in, the SoS data is far from reliable, but it is at least forming.
Our opponent with the strongest SoS serves as the baseline (Notre Dame with 3 Big10 teams and Stanford). In other words, these numbers estimate what all of these teams' offenses would have generated if they had all played Notre Dame's schedule thus far (Purdue, Michigan, MSU, and Stanford).
Strength of Schedule is taken from Sagarin rankings. (BGSU and UMass are going to have way-inflated numbers at this time, but I included them on the chart anyway as a reminder this is not a perfect analysis and as an interesting couple of data points to track as the season progresses.)
N-PPG or Normalized Points-per-game is taken from the teams average PPG with a SoS multiplier factored in to deflate numbers from playing bad competition and inflate numbers based on playing good competition.
N-YPG or Normalized Yards-per-game is calculated using the same SoS multiplier as N-PPG but using this metric will help us determine a less variant guess as to how offenses will perform (PPG is subject to wild variance based on turnovers and special teams).
I am only tracking our 12 opponents because the only thing that matters is the twelve games Michigan plays and I don't want to get depressed that we are playing Wisconsin and Iowa instead of NW and Minnesota.
This chart pans out as expected. That-team-down-south is the clearcut leader. (Michigan is actually second in N-PPG with 36.3 but FIRST in N-YPG with a staggering 494.5).
We see a clearly defined pecking order in the Big10 that matches very closely the general consensus: clear-cut leaders in OSU-Wisconsin, a muddled middle of Iowa-MSU-Indiana, and a struggling bottom of offenses PSU-Illinois-Purdue.
The exceptions are Indiana, which is trending higher up the rankings due to its offense, and Penn St, which was generally considered a top-4 team in the Big10 going into the season (but is clearly not the case with their offense).
UMass and BGSU will continue to fall down this chart as their SoS gets watered down with conference and 1-AA play.
Conclusions Based on Not Enough Data
NSFMF! Teams always seem to play their lights out when they play Michigan. Michigan's defense has a way of making teams look better than they are. Notre Dame for instance had their highest offensive output of the year against Michigan, operating at 125% of their average YPG.
If we take the MOST pessimistic view and give our opponents 125% of their offensive AND scoring outputs against us and only give ourselves 80% (assumption our offense slows down entering league play) of our average going into the Big10, Michigan ends the season 7-5 with wins over PSU, Illinois, and Purdue.
If instead we give ourselves just our average offensive production going into this weekend - our Big10 expected record jumps to 6-2... 10-2 overall!! - with losses coming from Wisconsin and that-team-down-south.
Where does the truth lie? Probably somewhere in between 6-2 and 3-5. Would you take that outcome at the start of the season? In a heartbeat? I know I would.
It is going to be tremendous to watch this Michigan team storm into the Big10 season knowing that our offense only needs to hold serve and our defense can surrender season-best performances from every single opponent and we still have a fighting chance in all of those games! And lest we forget... DILITIHIUM!
For now, I think we can look at this and add one more reason to the growing pile of why 2010 is NOT 2009! Get excited! Indiana here we come!
Prediction for Indiana:
Michigan's ground game operates at MINIMUM of 100% our normalized average and puts up above-average PPG, but since we only score touchdowns we go to the next closest number after 36! Indiana plays their lights out and operates at 125% of their normalized efficiency, mostly through the air.
It's only fall, but that means spring is just around the corner (ok, a couple corners), which means it's time for an update on the 3-time defending National Champion Michigan Lacrosse team.
First things first, the CCLA (Michigan's conference) underwent a bit of restructuring, and the Wolverines will face a different slate in conference. Last year, Michigan was in the CCLA North, along with Michigan State and the trio of directional Michigans. The CCLA South included Buffalo, Miami (NTM), Pitt, West Virginia, and Ball State. Here are the changes, via the @UmichLacrosse Twitter feed:
CCLA D1 admits Ohio U and Toledo. Loses Miami, EMU, Buffalo, West Virginia.
UM now in CCLA East with Pitt, Ohio and Toledo.
That means the conference now looks like this:
|Team||2010 Record||Team||2010 Record|
Toledo and Ohio are new programs, but it shouldn't make a huge difference. Michigan and Michigan State are clearly the class of the conference, with the rest being dregs. The conference tournament will be held May 7th and 8th at Saline High School, with the top seed on each side facing the #2 from the opposite division.
That brings us to the schedule, which you can find in its entirety on the Michigan Lacrosse website. The Wolverines have a trio of preseason games against D-1 Bellarmine and D-3 squads Wittenberg and Kenyon. The first two teams may sound familiar, as they were Wolverine opponents in the 2010 preseason, and Michigan handled each of them comfortably.
The Wolverines open the regular season at home against Florida, before embarking on their spring break trip to Los Angeles. They'll play a neutral-site game against Oregon at Harvard-Westlake High School, and road contests at Loyola-Marymount and Chapman.
Following that trip, the Wolverines will hit the road again, heading to Athens, Ohio to kick off conference play against the Ohio Bobcats before starting a seven-game home stand (I guess this makes up for having only four home games all of last year). Rival BYU and Pittsburgh come in one weekend, followed by Boston College and UC-Santa Barbara, then Colorado State and Arizona State. Missouri is the only opponent on the final weekend.
Following the home stand, the Wolverines take on Michigan State at Birmingham Seaholm High School in the Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic. On the final weekend of the regular season, the Wolverines head to The Glass City for their third and final divisional game against Toledo.
The Wolverines are certainly testing themselves in the non-conference. All were MCLA tournament teams last year (as was conference-mate Michigan State) except Loyola-Marymount and Florida (and the Gators were one of the first teams out). Colorado State, Arizona State, Chapman, Oregon, and BYU finished in spots 2-6 in the final LaxPower MCLA power rankings, with Arizona State falling to Michigan in the MCLA finals, and Chapman meeting the same fate in the semis.
Michigan lost the following players following last season:
|Zach Mueller*||Defense||21GB, 1A|
|Jordan Kirshner||Midfield||13G, 11A , 3rd Tm AA|
|Jamie Goldberg||Midfield||11G, 15A, 14GB|
|Anthony Hrusovsky||Midfield||12G, 12A, 2nd Tm AA|
|Kevin Zorovich||Attack||14G, 26A, 88GB, 2nd Tm AA|
|Clark McIntyre*||Attack||22G, 23GB|
|David Reinhard||FOGO||.721FO%, 110GB, 1st-Tm AA|
|Michael Bartomioli||Midfield||3G, 21GB|
|David Rogers||Midfield||9G, 8A|
|Svet Tintchev||Midfield||13G, 5A|
|Josh Ein||Attack||22G, 9A, 28GB|
The graduating seniors lost a single game in their final three years (last year at Colorado).
Despite losing a number of exceptional players, the Wolverines aren't coming into the year with a bare cupboard. In fact, Michigan's pair of 2011 captains, attack Trevor Yealy and defenseman Harry Freid, were first-team All-Americans last year. Long-stick midfielder Matt Asperheim and goalie Mark Stone were third-team and honorable mention, respectively. Thomas Paras was second on the team in scoring last year, and he'll be just a sophomore in 2011. With a number of young defensive players ready to step up, and Edward Ernst stepping in to replace Reinhard on faceoffs, there is plenty of returning talent on this squad.
The Wolverines add an excellent recruiting class (most likely the tops in the MCLA, though there are no rankings for such things that I know of), comprised of 13 players to an already-strong team. Even East Coast lacrosse fans will recognize some of the schools: Philadelphia Conestoga (Jeff Chu was the team's captain and leading scorer, and six of his teammates ended up going to Division-1 schools), Georgetown Prep (Fern Murias is pictured at right - seven of his teammates will play D-1 ball this spring), and Brunswick (Brett Moscati saw four teammates go D-1). The Wolverines even picked up a transfer from a D-1 school in Ann Arbor Native Patrick Stansik, returning home from Bucknell (where his brother was an All-American).
More on the team as the season approaches. For Michigan Lacrosse fans in Central Ohio, you can see the Wolverines' lone fall ball scrimmages against Denison University on October 24th... though the Grand Valley State Lacrosse page on Facebook says the Wolverines will also host the MCLA D2 Lakers on October 13th in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. If there are more fall ball updates, I'll post them.