"It's a lot easier being a drug dealer than an AAU coach" - this guy. Tell me something I don't know. I mean, don't think but have never tried either.
[Ed (Misopogon): Bumped to diary for general diary-worthiness]
If, like me, you've heard "So and so is too small for the Big Ten" and wondered if that statement could be supported by data, you might find the following information interesting.
At the expense of some tedious data entry and time, I looked at the depth charts on the Rivals site for teams from several conferences. Shown here are the average weights for the O- and D-lines. (I thought those would be a reasonable proxy for overall team size.)
- Notice that our conference doesn't have the biggest offensive linemen. That would be the SEC.
- Our defensive linemen are noticeably bigger than those of other conferences (SEC excepted). I suppose that might be a reflection of the SMASHMOUTH football favored by Wisconsin, MSU, et al. Not sure, though...
- You have to go to the Sun Belt (!) conference to get relatively small offensive linemen. The Mountain West and WAC conferences are right there with the big boys.
Anyway, the numbers show that the Big Ten isn't anything special size-wise.
Another of my favorite myths or areas of silliness is this remark, which you often hear in pre-game shows: "X's offensive line outweighs Y's defensive line by Z pounds!!!" Of course it does. Any reasonable person understands that offensive linemen have a bigger average size. For the conferences, the average difference ranged from 21.9 to 35.6 pounds. Why state the obvious?
While we're on the subject of myths, one other thing:
The Badgers have just four offensive linemen in the NFL.
For all the glowing praise that Wisconsin's trained mastadons get, you'd think they'd have more players at those positions in the NFL. Four? Not overly impressive ...
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 team is approximately equal to Illinois or a top team from the MAC.
All games against FCS teams are excluded, 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.
Post Game Notes
The numbers predicted a one-possession win for Michigan and that’s largely how they played out. I audibled against the numbers and said the score might be a bit lower because Michigan might try a UConn game plan, slowing it down and limiting possessions. If that was the gameplan, no one told Denard.
Running the ball was Michigan’s obvious advantage coming in. I projected its worth to be in the range of 9 to 15 points for the game. We ended at the high end, with +16 PAN for the game on the ground. Denard put up his usual +12, while Vincent Smith put up all of his +4 on the long TD run. In four qualifying games Denard now has 4 of the top 14 rushing performances of the season in PAN. Bryce Beall from Houston is the only other player in the country to have two top-30 performances.
The big separation came in the passing game. Every time Michigan dropped back to pass it was basically worth a point. Michigan was +17 PAN on 17 attempts and Denard was +19. In terms of overall quarterback performance, Robinson’s three top-15 performances (the BG game still cracked the top 50!) is compared with only one other player with multiple top-15 appearances.
Ben Chappell's +27 performance was the second-best overall QB performance of the year, and he now has three top-40 games. Robinson and Chappell are the #1 and #2 rated QBs in opponent-adjusted PAN so far this year. Chappell’s number may very well come down as he faces defenses tougher than those of Towson, Western Kentucky, Akron, and Michigan, but there is no doubt that he is an exceptional player.
Indiana’s ground game was labeled by me as a pillow fight going in, and you could say that it ended like that. However, it was a pillow fight that Michigan won. The Hoosiers ended the game –5 on the ground as contrasted with a +22 through the air. Every time Indiana ran the ball it was a time they didn’t throw the ball, and a win for Michigan. At least for Indiana’s sake, the running game kept Michigan from pinning their ears back and rushing the passer…with three.
On predictions outside of Michigan, I almost called the OSU-Illinois score outright, but correctly had Illinois covering. I correctly had Iowa winning but did not have them covering, and I almost called the Michigan St.-Wisconsin score. Minnesota couldn’t put a last minute rally together to make me correct but I did correctly have them covering. I did not see Alabama’s domination over Florida coming and the Stanford over Oregon pick was looking great at halftime but looked terrible by the end. Pretty nice week for my Big 10 picks but I missed big on both of the national games.
Even with all of the struggles on defense, the season total projection keeps on rising. My team ranking has now eliminated the pre-season component and is made up entirely of in-season performance, with 50% of the opponent adjustment coming from 2009 performance and 50% coming from 2010 performance. For some teams there is a wide variation on which form of opponent adjustment is used. Michigan looks much better (ranked #12) based on in-season adjustment, but is still #23 when adjusting opponents based on their prior year success. The hybrid of the two has Michigan a full game ahead of where they were projected going into Indiana.
10 wins is now projected to be the most likely scenario and the odds of running the table have risen to 1 in 18.
Michigan State - 20, 60%
Iowa - 15, 56%
@ Penn State - 48, 66%
Illinois - 46, 83%
@ Purdue - 80, 90%
Wisconsin - 60, 92%
@ Ohio State - 14, 37%
Between the loss to Michigan St and the move to eliminate the preseason portion of ratings, Wisconsin has taken a massive beating in the numbers this week. The move is almost certainly too far but we will find out more as the Big 10 season progresses. Illinois and Michigan St were the big movers up, while Penn St, Wisconsin and Ohio St all dropped back after worse-than-expected showings on Saturday.
Projected Big 10 Standings
After last week things looked like three tiers with a mess in the middle. After this week, things are starting to separate a bit.
- Ohio St
- Michigan St
- Penn St
Switch Wisconsin and Illinois and this seems pretty reasonable, even after so few matchups against quality competition overall. Penn St could be higher but this doesn’t look like a season where defense alone is going to get you very many Big 10 wins.
|8||Oklahoma St||Big XII||15.87|
|12||Texas A&M||Big XII||13.85|
|14||Ohio St||Big Ten||13.51|
|17||Kansas St||Big XII||12.61|
|20||Michigan St||Big Ten||11.99|
On a purely data-driven model like mine there are going to be some oddballs, especially since this is more of a power poll than a rankings. Teams are rewarded strictly for how they performed relative the competition, without regard to win or loss.
Of the biggest head scratchers, Stanford #3 and ahead of Oregon, the Big XII seems highly overvalued and Notre Dame checking in at #25 seems a bit crazy at first, but they went to the wire with both Michigan schools who are obviously both undefeated and their other loss was to the highly rated Stanford squad.
Okay, just a quick recap of the week that just passed. My predictor indicated UM would gain 522 yards of total offense. The offense gained 574 yards of offense, nearly 11% better than the predictor. The IU defense was predicted to gain 415 yards of total offense. They gained 568 yards, netting the UM defense at 136% of their projected output. Statistically, this wasn't their worst day (ND @ 144%), but it was still bad enough. Before the Indiana game, UMs defense was keeping teams to 99.34% of their normal yards on the season. That number is a fairly decent one. It took a huge hit this week and currently sits at 111.85%
On the brightside, UM's offense got better. Before the IU game, they were sitting at 154% total offense compared to what their opponents' defenses were giving up. With 574 yards of total offense, at 169% of IU's norm, the season average gained just over 6%. This margin kept UM above their opponents (MSU, Iowa) in the predictor. UM was also able to knock 12 yards off OSU's "lead" in their predictor.
As you can see above, I added the next metric into the equation: a scoring predictor. I've calculated two scores based on differing material. The hybrid yards/point includes all of 2009 and the completed games of 2010. One thing to note in the comparison between 2009 and 2010 for MSU is that their offense is scoring more frequently than last year. On the flip side, despite UM gaining a ton more yardage this year, they are actually scoring at a slower pace than 2009. Well, does this mean UMs offense is less explosive and MSUs offense is more explosive than they were a year ago? Probably not. In 2009, UM was one of the top 10 team in net punting. This enabled UM to have better starting position on each drive. Makes sense. UM 2010 has had pretty bad field position for most of the year. The positive with this is that if the defense can improve and got off the field without giving up field position, the offensive numbers could skyrocket.
My prediction based on limited stats and the hope that UMs defense shows up this week:
Interesting rank metric of teams UM will play/have played:
Previously: Week 4 includes discussion of weighted efficiency metric.
Michigan still leads the nation in weighted red zone efficiency. This week I've updated the metric to be slightly more accurate; we now use:
(Total Red Zone Points) / (7 * Red Zone Opportunities)
This takes into account missed extra points and two-point conversions.
|Rank||Name||Red Zone||Points||TD||FG||Weighted Eff|
|74||North Carolina St.||26||122||15||6||0.670|
|76||San Jose St.||9||42||4||5||0.667|
|77||San Diego St.||19||88||10||6||0.662|
|96||New Mexico St.||8||34||4||2||0.607|
Official source data here. One thing bothers me when I look at these stats and I wonder if it's an error or if there's something that I'm missing. After week 4, Michigan was 18/19 in the red zone. After week 5, we're apparently 20/21. But what about the fumble at the 2-yard line against Indiana? How does that not show up as a failed red zone opportunity (thereby putting us at 20/22)? This has got to be a mistake in the NCAA stats, right? What am I missing?
Erroneous data point(s?) or not, Michigan is proving to be very efficient when sniffing the endzone, collecting nearly 92% of expected points once the team gets inside the 20.
Synopsis for Turnovers:
Wow, when I started tracking turnovers each week, I never thought TOs would be this important in so many games. Except for the BGSU laugher, the other 4 games have been significantly impacted by TOs (including when and where they happened).
My exact word was F*#K when DRob fumbled on the 1. It looked like we were ready to put the game away (was about to be 21-7) and momentum was definitely with the Wolverines. Indiana took that fumble and turned it into a fracking 99 yard TD drive, followed by a stop and an M punt. Double-F*#K. Now momentum had abandoned the Wolverines and Indiana was driving for a go-ahead TD. But the goddess of Turnover Margin (it must be a she because TOs are so fickle!) decided to put everything back to even with the Cam Gordon interception at the goal line (it was 14-14 at the time). The Wolverines turned that into an 81 yard, 9 play, 3:56 drive (most plays and time of any drive) for a TD to go ahead 21-14.
For the remainder of the game, neither team led by more than 7 points and, although M never trailed, the game was tied 3 times. Another TO by either team probably would have decided the game.
Overall, M remains about average for TOs gained and is still very good with TOs lost for a current TOM of 4.0 (which is what is was after the first 2 games). M again failed to force any fumbles but picked up another interception. Certainly, the interceptions by the M secondary are ameliorating the massive yards being given up (pass defense YPG is now #120 out of 120!). Historically, TOs tend to come in bunches rather than a consistent number from game to game. (BTW, TOM was +2.0 after 5 games last year.)
Synopsis for Special Teams:
Woooo, an excellent game for special teams! Hagerup seemed to get settled down and ended up with a 46.2 average yards per punt and a net of 40.2 yards per punt (that would be #15 nationally if it was the average for the year). Tandon Doss only averaged 22 yards per KO return, which was well below his average of 47 yards per KO return (although that was for just 3 KO returns). Starting field position for the opposition after our kickoff remains at the 29 yard line (slightly better than average). Broekhuizen came up with perhaps his best KO of the year at the end of the game – a 70 yarder from M's 15 yard line (thanks Lewan) that was only returned by Doss to the 35.
Details for Turnovers:
Here is the Summary by Game. According to the folks at Football Outsiders a first down TO is worth 5 points, second down TO is worth 4.5 points, and a third down TO is worth 4.0 points (regardless of field position!).
The extrapolation is a straight line [Totals] X [13 Total Games / Games Played]. AQ Best and AQ average is over the past 10 years. AQ Best is kind of funky because the team with the "best" in each category is different so the numbers don't add. But, it does provide a point of reference.
Here is the detail of each fumble/interception and a comment providing insight if the turnover (or lack thereof) was significant. Note, blocked punts are not considered a turnover and an interception of an extra point is not considered a turnover (player does not get credit for a interception).
Here is the overall summary by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game).
Details for Special Teams:
Here are the Punting and Kickoff statistics. (Touchbacks are included as –20 yards when determining net yards.)
Remember here are the correlations of TOM to WLM at season's end.
Rolling into the sixth week already Michigan's recruiting has started to pick up steam. This week's and next week's games will both be big for visitors. We could (should?) see a few commitments along the way. Here's an update on a few prospects with a look at the visitors this weekend scheduled so far.
6'5", 320 lbs.
Ray has been on Michigan's radar for awhile now, and it had seemed as though Wisconsin was the school to beat. Michigan is still looking to add a few offensive linemen to this class and Ball is one of those targets.
I would say that Michigan and Wisconsin are tied at the top right now. Once I go up to both schools I will know who is where on my leader board. I'm visiting Wisconsin on October 16th, and I haven't set it up yet but I think the Illinois game will be the best for my official to Michigan.
Ray said that his decision will come down to who has more to offer and who comes out with a bang on his visit. Wisconsin's visit could vault them ahead of Michigan, but if he takes his visit to Wisconsin and doesn't commit then M should have a good shot. Ball may be competing with Chris Bryant for the final offensive line slot in the class.
6'4", 215 lbs.
Michigan is also looking for a few linebackers in this class, and Sean Duggan is a target. Duggan has somewhat pushed his recruitment to the back burner to focus on school and his team. He has started to set up his official visits though.
I'm going to Boston College on the weekend of the Clemson game, and Michigan either the first or second week of December. Depending on if I'm still playing or not, I'll go up to Duke and Virginia after my season.
Wisconsin was removed from his final list because they're full at his position. So Michigan is in the top four and will get a visit. I think they have some ground to make up on Boston College but it definitely helps that Wisconsin is no longer in the picture. You can tell by Duggan's list that he's a serious about academics.
5'8", 190 lbs.
Demetrius is making his final decision on Friday of this week. He'll be notifying the coaches of each school if he'll be playing for them next season. This is hard for me because I can't really share a lot of info this close to a decision.
I know that's not what any of you want to hear, but I don't want to ruin anything for Demetrius. I've been saying this for awhile now, and it's not speculation, Auburn is not as big of a threat as people are saying. I have a call scheduled with the family today, so I'll share what they allow me to, but don't expect a lot before the decision. I don't really like giving hints about where he's going, but I will let you know of any negatives to watch out for.
I will create a separate list in the diaries for this, but here are the visitors (that I have confirmed so far) coming in for the game this weekend. You'll notice that Kris Frost is not on this list. He's not sure if he's going to make it or not. He wants his parents there, and they're not sure if they can make the trip.:
- Devondrick Nealy (5'10", 175 lbs., Running Back/Slot) Jefferson County/Florida - Nealy said when he received his Michigan offer that it was "One of the biggest scholarships yet," and that he was very excited. Michigan is recruiting him more for a slot receiver and he has a top four of Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, and Minnesota (yeah, Minnesota). He doesn't plan on making his decision until the end of the year.
- Marquise Williams (6'3", 218 lbs, Quarterback) Mallard Creek/North Carolina - Williams is a North Carolina commit and friend of Michigan target Kris Frost. I spoke with Williams about the NCAA allegations and how it effects North Carolina and he didn't seem too thrilled about what was happening. This is an odd situation because Michigan currently has QB Kevin Sousa committed.
- Kellen Jones - Michigan commit.
- Jack Miller - Michigan commit.
- Jake Fisher - Michigan commit.
- Kishon Wilcher - Cass Tech athlete and son of Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher. He does not have an offer from Michigan, and thinks they want him to walk on. He's not sure if he would be willing to do that because he doesn't want his parents to have to pay for college. He does have a Toledo offer.
- Royce Jenkins-Stone - 2012 Cass Tech linebacker.
- Terry Richardson - 2012 Cass Tech DB.
- Brian Blackburn - 2012 Crockett quarterback.