In an effort to stay out of the "RichRod sucks/Harbaugh is God" or "Harbaugh is a hack traitor/RichRod will win 20 MNCs" camps, I decided to refocus my attention on a possibly relevant topic: given the completed 2010 season, what should our expectations for 2011 be? More specifically, is there hope in recent Michigan history?
I began by comparing Michigan's results from 2010 with those from another recent 7-5 year, the 2005 Year of Infinite Pain (little did we know), a season that was widely heralded as Michigan's "once per score years down-year."
|Win #1||NIU, 33-17||UConn, 30-10|
|Win #2||EMU, 55-0||ND, 28-24|
|Win #3||MSU, 34-31||UMass, 42-37|
|Win #4||PSU, 27-25||BG, 65-21|
|Win #5||Iowa, 23-20||Indiana, 42-35|
|Win #6||Northwestern, 33-17||Illinois, 67-65|
|Win #7||Indiana, 41-14||Purdue, 27-16|
|Loss #1||ND, 10-17||MSU, 17-34|
|Loss #2||Wisconsin, 20-23||Iowa, 28-38|
|Loss #3||Minnesota, 20-23||PSU, 31-41|
|Loss #4||OSU, 21-25||Wisconsin, 28-48|
|Loss #5||Nebraska, 21-25||OSU, 7-37|
While at first glance I want to be able to look at this and say "we followed that 2005 season with a 2006 season led by a beast of a defense and a powerful offense, and came within a late-hit penalty of playing for the national championship," I can't see a similar turn-around for 2011. Outside of the records, these teams were night-and-day.
It's true that the 2011 team will be bringing back more guys than we did in 2006, but that's where the comparison ends. The 2005 team didn't lose a game by more than seven points, and lost their five games by a combined 21 points while outscoring their opponents in their wins by 122. The 2010 team suffered each loss by at least ten points and lost the five by a combined 87 points, while only outscoring their opponents by 83 in the wins. For those of you keeping track at home, that's a +101 scoring differential versus a -4.
So if we can't learn from 2005, what does progress really look like year-on-year from 2009?
|Win #1||WMU, 31-7||UConn, 30-10|
|Win #2||ND, 38-34||ND, 28-24|
|Win #3||EMU, 45-17||UMass, 42-37|
|Win #4||Delaware St., 63-6||BG, 65-21|
|Win #5||Indiana, 36-33||Indiana, 42-35|
|Loss/Win||Illinois, 13-38||Illinois, 67-65|
|Loss/Win||Purdue, 36-38||Purdue, 27-16|
|Loss #3/1||MSU, 20-26||MSU, 17-34|
|Loss #4/2||Iowa, 28-30||Iowa, 28-38|
|Loss #5/3||PSU, 10-35||PSU, 31-41|
|Loss #6/4||Wisconsin, 24-45||Wisconsin, 28-48|
|Loss #7/5||Ohio State, 10-21||OSU, 7-37|
Other than UConn being a marginally tougher opponent than WMU, we ran the table against ND and some cupcakes in the non-conference schedule. In both years we beat Indiana close and lost to Wisconsin by about 20.
In the positive column, we turned a 25 point Illinois loss into a 2 point win, and turned a 2 point Purdue loss into an 11 point win. We closed the gap with PSU from 25 points to 10 points.
On the negative, however, our three conference losses against the better Big Ten teams got much worse. Instead of losing in OT to MSU, we lost by 17. Instead of losing by 2 to Iowa, we lost by 10. Instead of an 11 point loss to OSU with five Tate Forcier turnovers, we lost by 30 in a game wherein OSU ran the ball on the final 16 plays and didn't attempt a pass in the 4th quarter (mimicking Wisconsin's performance the week before).
A sad stat for those arguing that 2010 was a strong step forward - the 2009 team was actually a +24 in scoring differential, which is four touchdowns favorable to the 2010 team that supposedly took a big step forward. If David Brandon keeps Rich Rodriguez on for a fourth year I'm rooting hard for him to succeed and for us to compete for a championship, but it appears he'll be doing it without the benefit of recent trends or history.
A new commit for the Wolverines means this hits the front page. Action since last rankings:
11-21-10 Notre Dame loses commitment from Justice Hayes.
11-22-10 Michigan gains commitment from Justice Hayes.
11-23-10 Northwestern loses commitment from Sean Cotton.
11-24-10 Iowa loses commitment from Melvin Gordon.
11-25-10 Purdue gains commitment from Doug Gentry.
11-27-10 Penn State gains commitment from Matt Zanellato.
Rivals and Scout have updated their rankings over the past couple weeks, so there are some shakeups in there.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45). Full data after the jump.
End of season (almost) stats. The offense took a significant hit after the Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State games, but still finished with over 500 yards/game (a Michigan first) and over 34 points/game. The scoring offense was hampered by one of the worst turnover margins and THE worst field goal kicking in the FBS. If Michigan was just average in those two categories, they would probably have scored 40 pts/game. (EDIT: also hampering the offense was Michigan's strength of schedule, 2nd in the Big Ten. UM played the 5 toughest defenses in the conferece, but missed out on two of the worst (Minnesota and Northwestern). They also got stuck playing Purdue in a rainstorm.)
(EDIT 2: the meme that this offense fattened up against out-of-conferense opponents and didn't perform in the Big Ten does not really show in the numbers. Michigan averaged just under 31 pts/game in the Big Ten, even with the turnovers, total lack of kicking game, and tough schedule).
As it stands, the 500.9 yards/game is the most in Michigan history, crushing the previous school record of 466.9 set in 1992. The 34.33 pts/game is 6th in the "modern era," behind 1947 (39.4), 1976 (36.0), 1992 (35.9), 2003 (35.4), and 1991 (35.0). On a yards/game basis, this is the 2nd best offense in the history of the Big Ten, second only to 1994 PSU (512.7 yds/game), and just barely edging out 2005 Northwestern (they gained 6004 yards in 12 games - Michigan gained 6011 this season).
Conversely, the defense was the worst in school history by just about every measure. The 33.8 pts/game allowed demolished the previous low mark of 28.9 set in 2008. For reference, before RichRod came to town the worst Michigan defense was the 1962 unit that gave up 23.8 pts/game, exactly a full 10 points/game better than this team. On a yards/game basis, this year's mark of 447.92 was more than 50 yards/game worse than the previous low of 393.3 in 2009. The pre-RichRod low point was 389.9 in 2000.
Overall, I think it's worth it to give Rodriguez another year, but (obviously) the defense must improve significantly. The list of best offenses in Big Ten history is riddled with forgettable squads like 2005 Northwestern (7-5), 2005 MSU (5-6), 2005 Minnesota (7-5), 2003 Minnesota (10-3). Those teams all averaged near 500 yards/game.
Our schedule sets up nicely next year, with powerhouse Wisconsin and upstart Penn State off the slate entirely. Our two toughest games are both at home at the end of the season (Nebraska and OSU). I think RichRod will need to be at least 8-2 going into the Nebraska game and will need to beat both OSU and MSU. That means the defense and special teams must move up from the dregs to around 60th nationally. I know these are high standards but I really believe 9-3 (at least) and a trip to Indianapolis is the only scenario that will save our coach's job.
|RedZone - TD||75.00%||6th|
|RedZone - Score||82.69%||64th|
|3rd Down Conversions||46.30%||23rd|
|4th Down Conversions||52.17%||63rd|
|Pass Eff Def||140.65||97th|
|RedZone Def - TD||60.78%||60th|
|RedZone Def - Score||84.31%||78th|
|3rd Down Conversions Def||42.37%||84th|
|4th Down Conversions Def||69.57%||112th|
|Punt Returning (Yds/Ret)||5.38||98th|
|Kick Returning (Yds/Ret)||21.14||77th|
|Punt Return D (Yds/Ret)||9.78||81st|
|Kick Return D (Yds/Ret)||21.37||63rd|
|Pts Responsible for||180||19th|
|Pts Responsible for/g||15.00||22nd|
After games like this, or actually during games like this, I can feel a simple feeling inside of me: hate. A pure and simple emotion, and one that shouldn't be suppressed. And as the game progressed, I realize that my hate is very generic and can be applied to most anything and everyone. And yes, this is a form of therapy, so please indulge me.
I hate Matt Millen. Did you ever see a guy come less prepared to a game? A bunch of people have said "well, at least he's a good color commentator" which is complete horse crap - he clearly knew very little about Michigan and would just make things up on the fly about various players. Like that Mouton is one of those "smart, cagey" veterans who knows where to be on the field, but just gets beat physically sometimes (he seriously said something of this nature). And on and on. Man am I sick of Millen - and I won't even mention how he ran the Lions into the ground in epic fashion, or at least I won't dwell on it.
Millen: Bad at everything
I hate those goddamned three buckeye fans they show over and over and over and over again. You know the guys: cowboy guy in white, crazy hair with nut necklace, and silver face. All are pretty fat. Note to camera people: THERE ARE OTHER FANS IN THE STANDS. Christ, they should make a movie about them. It would go something like this: three losers get way over-dressed up every week to watch football. During the rest of the week, they live at home with their mothers, who beat them. It is not a good movie, probably foreign.
This is silver face. I hate him, even if he missed Stef.
I have Jim Tressel. Oh fuck all of you who say "well, he's classy" and all of that shit. He is a smug asshole and he coaches the other team - do you really need to pump that guy up? And seriously, if I hear him talk one more time, well, actually I never hear him talk, because by the third word, I am asleep. Could a guy be more fucking boring? And if I hear him talk about how this senior class is special, Christ, YOU SAY THAT EVERY DAMN YEAR. I hate you, and I hate your senior class.
A Hawaiian shirt, seriously?
I hate those little gold pants they give each buckeye who beats Michigan. It's a PAIR OF PANTS, asshole. I don't care about your stupid traditions, and I sure don't care how many pairs of tiny pants you have. Why don't you buy some tiny dolls to go with those tiny pants, that would be swell. At least by losing a lot, the tradition is being confused: current players probably just think Tressel likes tiny pants and gives them to the players at the end of the year. Of course, if they could stay awake during his speeches, they might know better.
Stupid gold pants: they are so special you can buy them on ebay.
I hate Jim Harbaugh. Why? BECAUSE HE IS NOT OUR DAMNED COACH. And until he is, I hate him, pretty much like I hate all other coaches.
See how it says "STANFORD HEAD COACH"?
I hate people who cheer for the "Big Ten" during Bowl Season. Christ, you think I'm going to get all excited for MSU or OSU during their bowl game? Fuck that - I cheer for them to lose, and I cheer for it to be a blowout. Really, the only thing that remains positive in my mind about 2006 was watching OSU get destroyed in the bowl game. The look on Tressel's face that night was precious. If you watch closely, you can see him reach into his pockets near the end of game, and rub a tiny pair of gold pants. Well, he is rubbing something in there, that I'm sure of.
Are you seriously going to cheer for this asshole?
I hate stupid fans. Especially when they call into talk radio, over and over again, to say the same damned things. I DON'T CARE IF YOU THINK THEY SHOULD FIRE RICH ROD. Of course, I also hate myself for listening to talk radio, which is generally a waste of time and grey matter.
This is Sam Webb, whom I actually like (Ira too).
I hate people who can't understand that we essentially started the entire football program over. It's kind of like a plane crashed with Lloyd's team on it, and we had to start from scratch. That's how you should judge the team, dammit. Almost everyone good on the team is a sophomore, and many of those would be redshirt freshman on a normal team. WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND? I KNOW WHY: BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE RANDOM FAN WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND BASIC THINGS.
This is the second hit for "dumb people" on google images
I hate people who cheer for Michigan to lose, so that we can fire the coach. There probably aren't many of you, but you suck. When you see a young team, physically overmatched in so many positions, trying so hard out there every week, even when the results aren't there, and you cheer against them, you are nothing but the most horrible kind of asshole. The team puts in a lot of effort, never quits, and all you do, sucky fan, is sit there and hope that they lose. Fuck off.
I hate Kirk Herbstreit. I saw him in person at a gameday once, and let me tell you, he is surprisingly short. And, surprisingly still a douchebag. I am hoping that he catches a stroke from Corso, though my sources tell me it isn't contagious. Oh well, maybe Corso, in some stroke-fueled rage, will stab Herbstreit repeatedly while putting on some kind of goofy hat. Desmond will just watch, smiling, and maybe do a Heisman pose.
Herby, you suck.
I hate all the links to articles in the freep or detnews. WHO FUCKING CARES? Do people read this crap anymore? Could it be any clearer that columnists for those papers are shitty writers with very little knowledge of sports? For god's sake STOP READING THOSE PAPERS AND THEN POSTING SOMETHING HERE ABOUT HOW BAD THEY ARE. It is not hard, you just remove the "bookmark" to freep.com from your browser, asshole. Newspapers are dying for a good reason - their only reason for existence was the fact that they could distribute information cheaply. Then came internet, and content mattered. OOPS! Bye bye shitty newspapers.
This is a crumpled newspaper. OH THE SYMBOLISM
As you can tell, I could go on, because right now, I am feeling a lot of hate. But there is one thing here that I love, which is true for most of you too: Michigan football. And that's why I keep coming back. Those kids who put on the maize and blue and fight every week, even when the odds are against them, well, that is what I love. I'll watch the bowl game, and cheer like hell for them to win, and feel sad if they lose, and then I'll prepare for the long off-season of crap, full of things I hate.
To those whom this article has offended, well, guess what: I hate you. And if you write "tl;dr" I hate you too -- at least try to be original, asshole. But if I bored you or was less funny than intended, well, sorry about that. It's the hate getting in the way of writing a quality diary, I swear it.
10. BJ Mullens- I know his time at OSU was short(because he was an idiot and left early) but damn was he ugly and dumb. He also pissed off Michigan basketball fans with a youtube(which isn't up anymore) in which he said "Michigan Sucks" when asked how they would prepare for the Wolverines. The fat head did nothing at Ohio State and didn't even start. He left for the NBA after one year and avg 1.1 ppg last year for the Thunder. Good call.
9. David Boston- Really David? Did you think you could open your muscle face trap and expect Chuck to not make you look like a fool? I am pretty sure this dude was on the roid. He seemed like he was more into looking good than...you know, being good at football. He blew his body up with meats,cheeses and roids and called it a career. He played for five different teams and sucked on all five of them. He will always be remembered for being Woodson's Bitch.
8. 3rd Rock from the Sun- Oh my god this show was terrible. Another show on FOX that made me wanna take a dump on my TV so I wouldn't use it again. I know this has zero to do with OSU but the show was based out of Ohio so that's reason enough. French Stewart with his eyes closed all the time really killed it for me. Than Sally, she was like 6'8" and could dunk a basketball. Not to mention the bad guy from the old 80s Santa Clause Movie. It sucked for years but people watched it(people love bad TV). Go figure.
7. Buckeye- Wow you guys are "Nuts". Like thats the best you had? A nut? Why not use the state Bug? The Ladybug. Yeah I am very serious. That's the state bug or insect. I just gotta wonder how a nut can cause fear in another team? choking maybe? Like in the last few National Championship Games?
6. AJ Hawk- Ok he is like the ugliest dude in the NFL right now and thats hard to do. Not to mention he married Brady Quinn's sister who has Brady's head and face but with long hair. The dude is a straight up modern day Frankenstein. I am pretty sure the Packers have asked him not to come to any team photo shoots or do charity work in fear of him scaring off the public. Oh and he has sorta sucked for the Packers.
5.Brutus the Buckeye- This cheesy thin mascot got his ass handed to him at the start of a season by the mascot at Ohio. The Bobcat had his way as the players and cheerleaders watched and did nothing. It was a blood bath. I sometimes think he might be "special" since he spends most the game punching himself in his ugly head. Like isn't that a reason you would be the "resource room"?
4.The OSU Fans- Where to even start. They act obnoxious. Most the time they are in your a face giving you stats like how many days it's been since UM has beat OSU or how great Troy Smith might be some day for the 49ers. They are even stupid like when OSU loses to Purdue or Wisconsin and scream "Pryor can't play QB!! OMG!!! Move him to WR!" Great idea... Would love to see that car wreak of an experiment. They are just a sad bunch. But OSU is all they have since Ohio teams suck at everything else.
3.Beanie Wells's Toe- The dude hurt is toe in some scrub game and he acted like he just got shot. Suck it up and get off the field. I hate your toe. It's such a pussy.
2."Theeeee Ohio State"- It's so cool. "Theeeee Ohio State". I don't even have a picture since this is too dumb for pictures. Does it make you feel like a really important person? Like this one dude I met on a elevator and noticed he had a OSU shirt on and I said "Ohio State fan huh?" Nope he said... "THHHEEEEE Ohio State Fan" : rolls eyes : Yes I am sorry... I forgot to sound like a idiot.
1.Maurice Clarett - It's too easy isn't it? I mean really. I am more upset that this cat didn't break open a giant Reggie Bush like invesagation. Some how The Vest and OSU dodged that bullet. Speaking of bullets, he had a shit ton of them in his car when he was pulled over and put in jail for acting like an animal. He now plays back up RB for a Jimmy Johns sponsored team that plays in the Columbus football rec league.
This is another illustration of how the positioning of the MLB so close to the line of scrimmage in Michigan's 3-3-5-that-isn't-really-a-stack renders him more vulnerable to being eaten alive.
In other news, I don't know if it's the prospect of the upcoming bludgeoning by Columbus Community College or the fact that most of these are of a play that didn't go well, but these are starting to get hard to do. "Here's how we screwed up again, in excruciating detail."
Anyway. Wha'hoppon: Wisconsin has second and three at their own 32 on their second drive of the day. Michigan plays a stack over Wisconsin's I-formation. The play starts out as an iso to the right. Martin stands up a double team and then slants playside, and Ezeh takes on the FB to close the playside hole. The blocking works much better on the other side, with Mouton being erased by the backside guard, RVB being kicked out, and the playside guard releasing off Martin to devour Demens. Avery fills the hole between the guard and tackle, but the blocks on Demens and Mouton leave a cutback lane open to the inside of the tackle and Montee Ball rolls through it for a ten-yard gain before Vinopal can chop him down.