This week is "All Games Get Thrown in a Hat." Do I go with potential rout Alabama versus Tennessee? Or Zook-fest Northwestern versus Purdue? Or Overrated-alert Penn State versus Northwestern? ACC implosion Maryland versus FSU? MACular bird-fight Temple Owls versus Bowling Green Falcons? But no to all of that, I'm going with Bad Pun Game of the Week: Rutgers versus Louisville.
But first, last week's Blowout-tacular. Since I had 5 games "sous surveillance" (pretentious French way of saying "on watch" that I just made up), we'll deal with them in aggregate. So last week is Good Team versus Bad Team.
First off, Good Team outscored Bad Team 259-51. That pretty much sums up the weekend for Bad Team. In a little more detail, Good Team outgained Bad Team 2874-950 and out-rushed them 1621-590. Good Team had 133 first downs to Bad Team's 52. Bad Team was 14 of 67 on third down. I couldn't bring myself to do the punting stats, but I imagine they punted around the Earth. So, the takeaway is that when the top 5 play conference cupcakes, bad things will happen. This should not be news.
This week is Rutgers versus Louisville. Louisville is 2-4, and the polite thing to say is they have a stingy defense, at 16th nationally giving up 17.7 PPG. The not polite thing is to say they suck at offense, ranked 111th and scoring 16.3 PPG. They've got a win over Kentucky 24-17, and three straight losses to Marshall, UNC and Cinci, and haven't scored three touchdowns in any of those three games. Rutgers is 5-1 but not so fast my friend. They went to double OT against Syracuse, and beat Navy by a point last week. They lost to UNC 24-22, so head-to-head I think Louisville has the advantage. Since this game is the Cardinals versus the Scarlet Knights, I'm giving it the slogan "Scarlet Fever: Catch It!"
We Didn't Even Win The TO Battle: Although M ended the game with a +1 TOM, the expected point analysis results in a net disadvantage to Michigan. This should not be that surprising since the only TO by Michigan resulted in a return for a TD and this doubled the value for that TO. The 2 TOs gained by M were worth 6.7 expected points but the interception returned for a TD was worth 7.1 expected points for MSU.
Synopsis for Turnovers: I was at the game and thought the interception was Smith's fault. Denard made the right read for the blitz but Smith did not. After I watched the replay, the announcers were in agreement – but, it will still go down in the stats as an interception for DRob – his 10th. For the year, Michigan has lost 12 TOs (ranked #70) but has gained 19 TOs (ranked #5) for a turnover margin of +7 or 1.00 per game (ranked #11). Michigan is ranked #6 in fumbles lost but is #109 in interceptions thrown. The 14 fumbles recovered is ranked #1 and is the reason the turnover margin is excellent instead of horrible.
Morgan added his name to the takeaway list with a fumble recovery. There are now 17 different defensive players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass. Thomas Gordon forced another fumble and now has forced 2 fumbles, recovered 3, and intercepted a pass to lead all players in takeaways.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: Remember the chart and 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.
Day3 Morning Update courtesy of Rachel Kramer
4:45 AM – some of the team woke up in our large maize tents to the sound of a drum accompanied by a soft pipe or whistle. We weren’t out of the tent fast enough to investigate whether the music was being made by the local Aborigine people who live in Wachope, where we were stopped the afternoon before due to brush fires farther down the road. The music was soon drowned out by the sound of speakers blaring from our competitor Nuon’s camp just on the other side of the parking lot.
This morning felt something like the stage stops we see in the American Solar Challenge. It’s very unusual to have the top three teams in WSC camping at the same place, charging next to one another and leaving just minutes apart in the morning.
As we set out 30 minutes ahead of Quantum and her caravan (which left the makeshift control point 13 minutes after Tokai and 5 minutes after Nuon) in the weather vehicle, we drove toward the smoky haze that had been sitting to the south and west of camp since we arrived yesterday afternoon. It would be less than a two hour drive to Ti Tree, where officials were waiting with another makeshift control stop.
After about 45 minutes we were approaching Barrow Creek, where there was originally supposed to be a stop. Last night we were told that that stop was cancelled because the tiny town was surrounded by the wild brush fires and some of the buildings may even be on fire. The grey-brown haze became thicker, blowing dense smoke across the road at some points where the fires were close. Right before reaching Barrow Creek there were fires burning right next to the road and a large tree was in flames less than 10 meters from the left side of the road. The wind was blowing toward the east, so some of the flames licked the left side of the pavement and we had to drive by cautiously on the opposite side of the road.
Some pictures from Day3. All photos by Marcin Szczepanski, Multimedia Content Producer/College of Engineering, U-M
U-M’s Quantum (left) and Nuon’s Nuna 6 charge batteries early morning on day three at a gas station/restaurant called Wauchope. A day earlier the cars were forced to stop there and spend the night after the area down the road was closed due to bush fire. World Solar Challenge competition on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
Local authorities stop the Michigan solar car for a couple minutes because visibility on the road was reduced to almost zero as heavy smoke from burning bush engulfed the area on day three of the World Solar Challenge competition on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011. This morning, Quantum stayed a bit behind the Challenger and Nuna 6, partly because of that stop, with Challenger increasing the distance to 25 minutes.
Michigan solar car attracted a small crowd at the control spot in Alice Springs. We are exactly at the half way point of the race. 1500 km out of 3000 km between Darwin and Adelaide.
U-M solar car team charges solar car batteries at the morning of day three of the World Solar Challenge.
umsolar has an "embedded reporter" with the team. The following are Matt Nixon's thoughts at the end of Day3
It’s been a demanding and intense day for the participants in the World Solar Challenge. The Tokai University team from Tokyo has approximately 30 minutes on Noun’s Nuna6; the second position vehicle. The U-M Solar team is in a tight 3rd position for the third day in a row.
This morning, Michigan left Waughup Hotel shortly after 8:13 a.m. It wasn’t long before the U-M team found themselves smack in the middle of the brush fires that the day prior suspended the race’s progress. After a brief roadside chat with the local constabulary, Quantum was blowing through the smoke and back on their way in pursuit of the leaders.
We plunged deeper south into the Outback. The trees grew shorter and shorter with each passing mile until the caravan penetrating the Outback proper. The land is markedly harsher with each mile taken south toward Adelaide. As of this evening Nuon and Michigan came to a stop at the Kulgera Roadhouse/Hotel.
At this location we’re just a few dozen miles past the midway point of this brutal event. It has become clear to me that this is much more of an endurance race than I’d anticipated. Perhaps not so remarkably, the team’s become more efficient at setting-up camp and preparing Quantum for the following day’s leg of the journey. Many of us may actually get a decent night’s sleep tonight.
Spirits are as high as the team’s expectations. Tomorrow promises to be a very exciting day in what has become a very close race. Many of the official WSC observers have remarked that this is the most exciting race in many years.
And still we continue to attract observers along the route. Even the New York Times is paying close attention at this stage. But it is the locals that bring the widest smiles to the faces of U-M Solar team members. Tonight a large family stopped by the site as the Quantum was being stored. The children were fascinated with the cars and the drivers. They proudly showed us some of the business cards they’d collected from the Tokai squad.
Another interesting difference in this 2011 race is the camaraderie and sharing amongst the teams. Each morning, blasting from their premium sound system, the Nuon team surprises us with some carefully selected anthem that celebrates America. This is a fun event and with the gorgeous Australian backdrop, this has to be one of the most unique competitions in the world.
Even though the Tokai team has a substantial lead on Michigan (as well as the Nuon team hailing from the Netherlands) it is by no means an insurmountable lead. Anything can happen out here in this rugged land and from what I’ve seen, it probably will.
One constant, looming obstacle is the weather. Several meteorologists are predicting that a front will move into the path of the WSC racers as they proceed south to Adelaide. This is going to play a large part in determining who reaches the finish line first. While Tokai has a pretty good lead (~30 minutes), anything can happen when the clouds roll in. The leaders are just past the halfway point (1500km to go). The race is far from over. Stay tuned...
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
I've started this post three separate times now and the agony of defeat has left me bereft of words the first two. This time no fooling around: Rum makes words happen. Rum and bullet points... prose makes pain.
Learn from yesterday...
What can we learn from yesterday?
- That it is not indicative of how well Michigan will play, nor fare going forward. Every game remains winnable.
- That this Michigan team is still composed of personnel that does not match up well with Michigan State, especially when the wind is howling.
- That strong winds + Kirk Cousins > strong winds + Denard Robinson.
- That punting to the moon is not necessarily the best idea in a windstorm.
- That Dantonio is a good coach that hates Michigan more than anything in the whole wide world and is willing to overlook, if not coach his players to play dirty and take cheap shots at anyone in a winged helmet.
- That sometimes you can just punch a guy in a game and it's all good. No need to get hasty and eject anyone.
- That having in-laws that went to MSU, and are smart, respectable people does not seem bad at all until Michigan loses to little brother 4 years in a row and they make sure to call and rub it in even though they would be totally embarrassed if they had actually seen the game and how the representatives of their fine university conducted themselves.
- That yesterday sucked.
Live for Today…
Only two things to hang my hat on:
1. Brady Hoke – Despite everything that transpired on the field, our team looked well coached and kept their composure. There was not a whiff of retaliation and we should all be proud as fans of how classy our team was. More than anything else so far, the game yesterday showed us that this is Hoke's team, and that Michigan is still in the business of coaching young men to greatness on and off the field.
2. Michigan's Seniors – It would have been easy to let emotions take over and start taking cheap shots at the end. These guys took the high road, kudos to them. They are the ones that will bring this team back together to finish the season strong.
Hope for Tomorrow
We may look back at that game as strong medicine, a vile tonic that both humbles and gives that fire in the belly that can lead to great things. There couldn't be a better time for a bye week to regroup. Then the season begins anew, with a warm-up against Purdue before the real tests begin. Michigan was never out of the MSU game until that pick-six. They were right there to tie it up late in the 4th and are again the equal of the Spartans at least. Two weeks to coach off of that game film will yield dividends for a disciplined group such as this. Hopefully everyone can stomach the 4th loss to Sparty in a row and keep their faith in our coach. He will have Michigan a team to take pride in, and he is doing it the right way, the Michigan way.
Go Blue and stay safe.
Mark Dantonio has now coached in five Michigan-Michigan State games. If you're wondering whether UM's players have justification to start feeling a bit like a roughed-up MSU dorm-hall coed and her friends, you're right.
Inglorious stats from the past five Michigan-Michigan State games, if I gleaned the play-by-play logs accurately:
|YEAR||MSU PFs||MSU RPs||MSU UCs||MSU all 3 combined||UM all 3 combined|
PF = personal foul RP = roughing the passer UC = unsportsmanlike conduct
Basically, Dantonio's Spartans are going to play like a bunch of hooligans when Michigan plays at Michigan State -- 11 personal fouls and 3 roughing-the-passer penalties in three games played at Spartan Stadium. And in the past three Michigan games alone, the Spartans have committed 9 personal fouls, 3 roughing-the-passer penalties and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. (By comparison, Michigan has committed 2 such penalties in the past thee games, and 5 in the past 5 Michigan State games.)
All this excludes the chop-block penalty incurred late last year on Michigan State, which crushed Mike Martin's leg -- a vicous attempt to injure -- and excludes the likely suspension coming to Gholston on Monday.
Maybe we've all got it wrong, however.
Maybe Dantonio isn't modelling his football program after Jim Tressel's at Ohio State's; rather, maybe he's patterning it on Dennis Erickson's notorious Miami-Florida teams of the early 1990s. True, Saturday's total of four personal fouls and two roughing-the-passer penalties isn't nudging up next to Miami's bellwether game when it comes to notoriety -- the 1991 Cotton Bowl, when Erickson's Hurricanes were flagged 10 times either for personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct in a 16-penalty victory over Texas. But six ugly penalties is in the ballpark, let's not sell Gholston and co. short.
More encouragingly, Dantonio's players have only a short ways to go to match those Hurricanes' worst off-field crime incident. The Hurricanes weren't wearing ski masks or roughing up co-eds, but back in their bad-ass heyday some 40 Miami players were involved in an on-campus disturbance that could be put down only by 14 squad cars worth of cops and a police dog.
But here's where you can be proud, Sparty. When Sports Illustrated wrote an open letter to Miami's president in 1995 compelling him to shut down his renegade football program, the author cited a Miami Herald story in which it claimed -- in shocking italics! -- that "No fewer than one of every seven scholarship players on last season's team has been arrested while enrolled at your university." Hell, everyone knows the 2009 Sparties had that beat by a mile after ski-maskgate.
As for Miami's other records of notoriety, maybe next year, Hurricanes. Er, Sparties.
Despite the fact that I didn't even post rankings last week (sorry about that—life stuff came up), barely anything happened in recruiting outside of Purdue adding a few commits and jumping Minnesota in the standings. Action since last rankings:
10-2-11: Purdue picks up Dion Witty.
10-3-11: Purdue picks up Cameron Cermin.
10-10-11: Purdue picks up Cameron Posey.
10-12-11: Northwestern picks up Traveon Henry.
|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 (Minnesota), Darius Stroud and Jacarri Alexander (Indiana), and Steffon Martin and Devin Smith (Purdue) are excluded from their respective team averages.
^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.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
No change for the Wolverines.
|#2 Notre Dame - 16 Commits|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Nittany Lions.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
No change for the Spartans.
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
No change for the Badgers.
|#7 Indiana - 19 Commits|
No change for the Hoosiers. Broken record is broken.
|#8 Northwestern - 17 Commits|
The Wildcats land FL running back Traveon Henry.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes.
|#10 Purdue - 20 Commits|
The Boilermakers pick up commits from CB Dion Witty, OL Cameron Cermin, and WR Cameron Posey. They leapfrog Minnesota in a battle of teams with a ton of commits but no highly-rated recruits.
|#11 Minnesota - 21 Commits|
No change for the Gophers.
|#12 Nebraska - 7 Commits|
The Huskers stay stuck on seven recruits. I keep waiting for the week when they add a bunch of four-star recruits, and it keeps not happening.
|#13 Illinois - 9 Commits|
No change for the Illini.