it's a major award
Moving Picture Pages version of http://www.mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-snag-package. After what seems like a dozen MPPs that all end badly for Michigan (even the one that showed Denard gaining seven yards was a woulda-coulda-shoulda been a lot more), I finally get a chance to do one that shows something going right. Don't worry, I'm right back to working through the backlog after this one, and the next one will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth.
I don't have a whole lot to add to this one except that there's a whole lot of analysis after the last picture that didn't translate well to a clip, so go read it again (I say this because it's safe to assume you've read it once already). And I'm still working out the timings on the titles.
The other thing that struck me about this, as I learn more of the intricacies of the game, is that there's a whole lot more to a simple 5-yard slant-and-hitch than just running a 5-yard slant and stopping. It also makes me realize just how difficult it is to play a zone defense, as you have to make split-second decisions about what to do when someone (or multiple someones) enters or leaves your zone.
Synopsis: Wooo Baby – Now we can all relax! With all the points we scored and all the points they scored, the stats are going to be pretty funky. After 9 games, Michigan is currently ranked #12 in scoring offense and #104 in scoring defense. Without the 20 points allowed in OT, the D would be ranked #97. The 5 TOs put the D in terrible field position and resulted in 17 possessions for Illinois. M allowed 2.6 points per possession in regulation which is actually the best we have done in Big10 play. So, yes, the D played better this week!
I use scoring stats because yardage stats are inherently flawed. According to the FEI rankings at Football Outsiders, Michigan's defense actually improved and is now ranked #109 (it was #112 last week).
Based on the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), Michigan is ranked #41 overall (7.8% better than the average FBS team) with a SoS ranking of #82. The offense is ranked #1 and the defense is ranked #109. Field Position Advantage is #84 while Field Goal Efficiency is #117.
M is predicted to win between 7.2 and 7.4 games (excluding bowl game but adjusted with +1 for M's one FCS opponent). Based on the FEI, M would have been expected to win 4.8 FBS games to date (we have won 5.0 FBS games to date).
FEI has the game as M 42 - Purdue 20 with a 89.7% predicted win expectation (Purdue has the #113 ranked O and #64 D). Using the Sagarin Predictor, Michigan is favored by 11.7 points. Vegas has M favored by 13.
This line chart differentiates between OOC and Big10 points per possession. Note that the defense PPP did not get worse even including the 6.7 PPP in OT. In the Big 10, M is averaging 2.9 points per possession (PPP) and 41 YPP. The defense is giving up 3.3 PPP and 38 YPP. With an average of 12 possessions per game for each team, this translates into a 4.8 point disadvantage for Michigan. (In OOC games, this was a 20 point advantage.)
For those who want yardage stats, here they are – split by OOC and Big10 games. The good news is that the yardage defense has been pretty consistent for the last 3 games. The bad news is that the defense is consistently horrible.
DETAILS: Here are the FEI numbers ( FEI Forecasts and Football Outsiders FEI ). FEI is a weighted and opponent adjusted season efficiency and is expressed as a percentage as compared with an average FBS team. The average team will have an index of approximately 0.00. Teams below average have negative index values.
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 FBS-MW to get the final predicted wins for M this year. Or, if you use FBS-RMW, you need to add 1 to the current W-L record to get the final predicted wins for M this year. BTW, the difference between FBS-MW and FBS-RMW is the number of FBS games each team would have been expected to win to date.
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: Football Outsiders Our Basic College Stats )
Here are the Sagarin Ratings.
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. Opponent National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push").
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.
What do the numbers say?
The Bradley-Terry method applied to college football.
A couple of notes regarding the calculations. I use the Bradley-Terry method for determining the ratings. This is an iterative, statistical rating that computes a hypothetical round-robin winning percentage if all teams played each other. Clearly, that's not the case in college football, and this method gives infinite results if teams are undefeated. This problem is 'solved' for the sake of comparison by adding a fictitious tie to each team's record.
- Game results are pulled from the NCAAFootball.com.
- Blogpoll results are pulled from SBNation.
- There are a lot of explanatory notes and links; I put those at the end of the post so people who don't care about them can skip them and get right to the results. There is also a link to all my results.
- For brevity, I only listed the top 20 here. For those who are interested, I also listed Michigan's position, FYI.
- I release this after all the major polls come out to avoid 'influencing' anybody's vote.
To the numbers...
|Through games of 2010.11.06|
Auburn is pulling away as the number one team. Oregon has finally caught up with everybody's ranking due to strength of schedule, and Boise St. has begun to fall for the same reason. The bonus for being undefeated this far into the season is starting to balance out with perceived strength of schedule, as LSU is nipping at the Broncos heels.
As a point of comparison, it lines up really well with the blogpoll. Two outliers: blogpollers really like Ohio State, and they really dislike Virginia Tech (see discussion of limitations, below).
There's a pretty significant drop-off from #5 LSU to #6 Stanford, and another notable drop-off from #10 Wisconsin to #11 Utah. I think this supports the notion that a 16-team tournament would be sufficient to include all the top teams. If you're in the muddle around 16, there really isn't all that much to complain about if you're left out.
The conference breakdown in the top 10 and top 16 (non-BCS conferences in parentheses):
|Conference||Top 10||Top 16|
The top 10 has roughly equal representation from the BCS conferences. Looking at the top 16, a bias toward the SEC begins to emerge, with 5 teams, including those in spots 14-16. Not surprisingly, the Big East is absent, and the ACC is, well, underrepresented. TCU, Boise St. and Utah are ranked above all comers from these conferences, including Virginia Tech, who lost to Boise St. and, as we all know, James Madison. The nagging question remains: how do you compare the relative strengths of conferences when they don't play each other?
The next few weeks should be interesting.
Discussion of limitations
That said, there's always a bit of resistance when I post this rating. It's one additional data point. It's not even my opinion, and it doesn't mean your team is better or worse than you think it is. It attempts to look objectively at how teams would fare, should they play every other team. There are some limitations, namely the infinite results, and incomparability, of undefeated teams. As with any statistical calculation, sample size is important; while there are only ~12 games per team, there are ~120 teams. One could argue the merits of using any sort of statistical calculation on said sample. Also, it should be pointed out that games against FCS teams are ignored. This is a double-edged sword: teams don't get credit for beating up on FCS teams, but Virginia Tech effectively gets a pass for losing to James Madison.
Brian pointed out another interesting anomaly (it's the double star at the very bottom) in last year's end-of-season college hockey KRACH. A similar effect can be seen in this rating, as discussed above. So, why does this happen? Like college football, there's little overlap between conferences, teams tend to get compartmentalised.
As with any tool, it's only as good as its user; we can't blindly take the results as fact. One possible solution is to take the top 30 teams at the end of the season and run a KRACH on only those teams. Although, for any hypothetical tournament, I would strongly support the inclusion of all conference champions.
What if I want to see the entire rating, and results for each week?
All the results are available, if you'd like to see the numbers yourself. As I said last year, John Whelan freely gave me the perl script in 1998 to calculate KRACH for ACHA club hockey teams, so I'm happy to share the script and input data if you don't want to write it yourself. And I am fallible. There's a lot of data to crunch, and I copied and pasted from the NCAA site; there may be errors. If you find one, please bring it to my attention and I'll make the fix posthaste.
This season has had moments of extremely heated debate, regarding the performance of the defense. The schism in views is based on two views:
1. GERG is a bad coach
2. Our talent level is severely depleted
I decided to look at tackling technique of our defense, more specifically on the bad technique aspect of it. This particular point of emphasis is almost consistently attributed to coaching, as good technique usually only transfers to the game field when it is instilled upon repeated coaching and re-coaching in situations where poor technique is used.
This season, time and again, we have the ball player wrapped up, and then 3 yards later they have picked up the 1st down on 3rd and forever. I thought it was about time to look at tackling, both who is making/missing them and why.
About the analysis:
1. I regarded made tackles as anytime a player made contact with the ballcarrier and that ballcarrier ended up down by contact using solid tackling technique. I did not look at technique of made tackles, as after 1/2 of tape review most of the tackles that were made were of good technique. Any tackle that forced the ball-carrier out of bounds was counted as a made tackle.
2. I designated missed tackles as failing to make a tackle in space, taking an extremely bad angle on a tackle that should have been made, or simply just getting the hit but not bringing down the ballcarrier.
4. Bad Form takes into account any missed tackle that used any of the following:
- Head on the upfield side
- Arm/Jersey tackling
- Any hit at or above the numbers
- Getting "shook" in open field due to not breaking down or overpursuit.
The difference here is missed tackles in my mind sometimes come from being literally overpowered or stiff-armed, not a technique avenue. If the UM defender made the hit with the head on the right side and attempted to wrap up but the ballcarrier just slipped through, I counted this as a missed tackle only. If, however, the same play happened with the UM defender coming in high and behind, this was counted as both a missed and bad form tackle.
To derive the "Tackling Efficiency" I used the following formulas as necessary (feel free to critique or ask me to add things, as I am not a math whiz)
- Player Tackling Technique: (Made Tackles - Missed Tackles)/(Bad Form Missed Tackles+1)
- Team Tackling Technique: (Made tackles - (Missed Tackles+ TDs))/(Bad Form Missed Tackles)
Individual Players Tackling Efficiency:
|UConn||Notre Dame||MSU||IOWA||Season Ave|
* N denotes games where player did not participate or had no made or missed tackles
A few notes from the individual analysis:
- Kovacs is by far our best tackler, with Mouton, Johnson and surprisingly Gordon #15 as the 2,3,4 respectively.
- Of the guys on this list, the biggest suprise was Martin, however I think it is important to remeber that this tackling eff. calculation puts weight on total tackles made, and Martin gets doubled. A lot. (in review of my stats, Martin only missed 3 tackles total, with 2 by bad form)
- In the two games Demens played, he was an absolute tackling machine.
- Ezeh really cannot tackle.
Team Tackling Technique:
|UConn||Notre Dame||MSU||Iowa||Season Ave.|
We were much better at tackling UConn in space than anyone else, not suprisingly this was the team with the least athletic roster.Notes from the team portion:
- MSU was an absolutely terrible day, with almost a missed tackle per made tackle, and lots of bad form tackles all over
- We are consistently worse at tackling with good technique than all 4 of the opponents analyzed, two B10 "good" defenses and 2 middle of the pack to bad defenses
- On the season for these 4 games we are averaging about 2 missed tackles with 1 missed tackle by bad form every 3 tackles made
These statistics correlate with what I have been seeing every week. Mouton is great at times and inconsistent at times, and Kovacs is a stud at bringing down the ball carrier. Ezeh was a sub-par MLB and Martin gets doubled. I have high hopes for Demens, Johnson and Gordon (both of them).
Surprises for me came with the discovery of Gordon (not Cam), that dude was all over the place when he was in/not getting blown off the ball by a OT. Secondly, I think Floyd has the potential (if he develops his man coverage) to be an absolute terror on the corner. He can and will tackle in space.
As a team, I think the debate as to what this attributes to is still open for debate. Does this attribute to talent? Possibly. Is this more attributable to the coaching/GERG? Yes. However, with the limited bodies he has on his side of the ball, it might be due to the fact that live tackling is just not an option with this lineup.
Regardless of the cause, the tackling is terrible, and is apparently getting worse through the season. This attributes in my mind to the coaching, specifically the D-Coordinator.
I can only hope the tackling technique is going to get better, because as it stands through these 4 games it cannot get much worse. I will do my best to analyze Indiana, PSU and Illinois when I get some more time, to give a more all encompassing picture of our D (takes a significantly longer time because I have to watch the whole game).
You can’t count on more progress from the offense
Michigan is not going to get much better on offense. They can reduce turnovers, they can improve in the Red Zone, they can find a back who can reduce the load on Denard. All of these things can and hopefully will happen. But after two years of making the Rodriguez leap, this team is pretty close to the ceiling offensively. There are no more leaps to be made. Any progress at this point is incremental as this team already sits on good end of the bell curve, 2.5 standard deviations above the average team.
In 2008 Michigan was –5 PAN and ranked 102nd in the country in offense. Last year leap #1 happened Michigan jumped to +3 and 38th in the country offensively. This year the team has made an even bigger leap and is currently at +13 and second only to Auburn among all FBS offenses. Prior to this year, here are the offenses in AQ conferences that have exceeded +13:
Oklahoma 2008, +16
Florida 2007, +17
USC 2005, +16
Texas 2005, +14
Four teams from 2003-2009 did better offensively than Michigan has done this year. The offense will hopefully be a slightly more polished version of what you see right now. Another leap would mean a once in a decade offense, don’t think we can count on that.
So if we are going to progress, all the change is going to have to come from the defense. The goal is obviously to have a shut down defense to go with a can’t be shut down offense, but there is little chance of the defense turning around that quickly next year. For comparison I found three teams that had best in class offenses and average defenses (not good, not bad) and this is what I found.
The Test Cases
Florida 2007, +17 Off, –0 Def
West Virginia 2006, +13 Off, –0 Def
Auburn 2010, +14 Off, +0 Def
Florida 2007 lost three SEC games and eventually to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Those four losses were by an average of 6 points. It was good enough to get the Tebow Child his Heisman but going 2-4 in close games was the difference between the season being good and truly great.
With Rodriguez at the helm the 2006 Mountaineers went 11-2. This was the year that the Big East was good. Louisville had yet to be Kragthorped and beat West Virginia and South Florida upset West Virginia as the only team to hold the Mountaineers below 27 points.
Auburn still has 3-4 big games left and we may not know how this one is going to end depending on how Newton-gate ends. But at the current pace, Auburn is providing the best case that an exceptional offense and can keep you in the title hunt into November.
How plausible is a strong defensive improvement
This question obviously depends on who’s coaching the defense, does the system change, if it does is that a good or bad thing, how do the young players progress, how does Angry Michigan <Blank> Hating God fill in the blank and many other questions.
From 2003-2009 69 teams have been –6 or worse on defense. 59 of those improved the next year (law of averages, yo) and 17 or about 25% moved all the way up to the test case range –1 or better. The average team improved about 4 points.
Based on the amount of talent returning next year and the youth on this squad, a jump of 4 points would seem to be the minimum. Michigan road to average is starting at –8 right now. Strong showings in the last four games could improve that number slightly but nine games in the number isn’t changing that much. I would say the 25% chance of getting back to average seems about right. This defense should at least progress to 2009 levels (yeah?) and will have a shot at the average defense that would likely lead to New Year’s Day at the bare minimum.
An offense at this level plus an average defense in the Big Ten will probably mean at least ten wins. If the defense makes an average bad defense improvement, it will probably be more like 9 wins. If the defense can make a strong leap (entirely possible) to positive territory, Michigan could be a couple good breaks away from where Auburn is at right now. Let’s just hope somebody didn’t hear from somebody’s sister that Denard was asking Danny Hope to get paid.
[Ed: bump for epic and because I'm still waiting for my video to convert. UFR ETA 5:30?]
Troy Woolfolk Injured
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again
As many of us looked forward to the season, we hoped against hope for some sort of improvement in the defense. That hope was shattered on a Tuesday afternoon in fall practice. A dislocated ankle ended his season before it ever got started. Brian used the dreaded "just jump already" tag.
antidaily summed up the feelings of many in one simple picture
Michigan 30, Connecticut 10
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Take me out tonight
where there's music and there's people
who are young and alive
After the long off-season, the moment was finally here. The defense forced a three and out and Denard Robinson led the team onto the field. What followed can best be summed up by Wolv84 in the Liveblog;
I have this insanely stupid grin on my face right now.
And if a double-decker bus
crashes in to us
to die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die
Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24
A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
A rush and a push and the land that
we stand on is ours
It has been before
so it shall be again
In a game that seemed destined to end in a frustrating loss like so many before in this series, Michigan pulled it out. The Wolverines overcame a 95 yard touchdown pass to a Notre Dame tight end. They overcame a botched call that awarded Notre Dame a touchdown. Denard Robinson led his teammates on an epic 72 yard drive, capped off by a tremendous throw to Roy Roundtree on the penultimate offensive play.
That smile disarmed skepticism.
I was going to let my skepticism overwhelm, to wait until it was obvious that 2010 was not going to be 2009, but I lasted two games. I'm in the tank again.
Ooh, I think I'm in love
Ooh, I think I'm in love
Ooh, I think I'm in love
Michigan 42, Massachusetts 37
Who and what to blame?
anything is hard to find
when you will not open your eyes
when will you accept yourself?
Dave from the Liveblog took this to heart.
why the negativity guys? we knew this was our defense. Denard's meteoric rise to beasthood does not change our defensive expectations
Meanwhile, others like Mike were calling for Greg Robinson to be fired before it was cool.
Gamore weighs in:
I sat in my room and I drew up a plan
but plans can fall through as so often they do
and time is against me now
Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21
What Difference Does It Make?
So what difference does it make?
it makes none
In a game where all three quarterbacks scored touchdowns and combined to go 23/26, it really didn't matter which quarterback played.
In any case, it certainly looks like Michigan is more loaded at quarterback than they've ever been.
Jordan A - "All three quarterbacks looked excellent"
While we constantly reminded ourselves "this is Bowling Green", watching 3 quarterbacks lead the team to 721 yards was impressive. After hearing that Denard Robinson was not seriously injured, mgobloggers were able to step back from the ledge. The Big Ten season loomed and hope was high.
Michigan 42, Indiana 35
These Things Take Time
These things take time
I know that I'm
the most inept that ever stepped
Ben Chappell's +27 performance was the second-best overall QB performance of the year, and he now has three top-40 games.
Great effort by the kids on D today. I just wanted to start a thread to give it up for the guys who played defense today. It wasn't their best game but they played their butts off and gave all they had for the university we love. They could've given up 50 points today but they gave up 35, and that was good enough to win.
At this point, most of us knew what we were dealing with. The defense doesn't have much talent. While there were some knee-jerk reactions, most of the blog's users understood that the defense was very young and there was no quick fix.
Michigan State 34, Michigan 17
Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before
Stop me, oh, stop me
Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before
Michigan lost to the Michigan State Spartans for the third time in a row, for the first time in 40 years. As for mgoblog users,
The pain was enough to make a shy, bald, Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder
Iowa 38, Michigan 28
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Well, I'm afraid it doesn't make me smile
I wish I could laugh
but that joke isn't funny anymore
it's too close to home
and it's too near the bone
kb (liveblog) - "I need a good joke – not defense related"
Warren Goon (liveblog) – "the field goal kicking is beyond a joke – how is it even possible that it's that bad?"
The Mathlete predicted a Michigan win while other prognosticators all suggested that the game would be very close. (except for mistersuits, who was deadon).
Penn State 41, Michigan 31
Suffer Little Children
Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave
And I'll lay me down
I'm not even going to quote these threads. It was a depressing moment in Michigan history.
It's always darkest before the dawn.
Michigan 67, Illinois 65
Is It Really So Strange?
Oh, is it really so strange?
I say no, you say yes
(But you will change your mind)
We saw a game that necessitated the creation of Communist Football's fantastic list of Records Broken In Illinois Game. Was this strange? You say yes, but I say no. You will change your mind. With an offense this good and a defense this bad, this isn't really so strange.
Picture from Blazefire
I pride myself on being reasonable in most situations, but in this game I said "I HATE EVERYONE" (after the first wheel route) and "I LOVE EVERYONE" (after the Gallon pass that was eventually called back on holding) in the liveblog. In the end, all that needs to be said is in the Illinois Game: Your Favorite Moment thread.