Due to the not-overwhelming-but-still-pleasant response from last week’s Bruce Willis montage, I figured I would try this week to both recap the season so far in UM football, plus this past week’s prominent games, with one of America’s most storied thespians. Please feel free to comment away on the quality in the, um, well, comments section.
The Season So Far, or as I like to call it, the 6+1 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Recap
After two disheartening seasons, the talk at the end of last season was that Rich Rodriguez needed to start winning or else it would be the
for him in Ann Arbor. Reports during the offseason pointed to the offense making strides even while the defense suffered from a lack of depth and a dearth of talent at key positions. All was relatively quiet until
could be felt emanating miles away in a nondescript building in Detroit. This rumbling was caused by the furious digging of one misguided newspaper’s attempt to generate headlines (and relevance) by “exposing” the deep-rooted NCAA violations going on in Schembechler Hall. RR was characterized as a criminal guilty of
for what amounted to a couple of extra hours of stretching and some tangential football personnel watching unofficial practices and weight sessions. Undaunted by reality, pundits and reporters across the various media streams let loose with a flood of chest-thumping and invectives about the “transgressions” going on under RR,
with false accusations and fears of the
being handed down by the NCAA. The Internet’s reaction was, perhaps unsurprisingly, split, with some treating these accusations as gospel while others accused the media of being actors in a conspiracy that would make the
investigations seem like child’s play.
But as we all remember, not much came of it. Despite the accusations and rabid media treatment, the truth ultimately came out, leaving everyone with the impression that the author of the “expose” was just a
, and soon the focus turned to RR
with Denard Robinson as the starting QB. Perhaps not surprisingly, the message boards and radio stations were a veritable
of individuals questioning the wisdom in this move. But on a
day in the beginning of September, Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines cast aside the tumultuous
and blasted Connecticut. Next came Notre Dame and another epic performance by Robinson, as the sporting world began to wonder if he was UM’s
And as the team raced out to a 5-0 start despite games that would leave no fans
there was a sense that this season would not be the like the two previous, that UM was back as a national power.
Unfortunately, the last two games have tempered these expectations, as it became clear that this team, gutted by injuries, transfers, and other player departures, was lacking in
especially on the defensive side of the ball. The pundits and opposing fans, so quiet during the 5-0 start, are back out in full force, questioning whether RR will ever be able to win at UM. From their high horses,
apparently so clear that even the smell of hypocrisy cannot reach them, they have already begun the countdown to RR’s demise, even with nearly 1/2 a season to still be played.
for this team is probably somewhere between the 5-0 start and the 2-game losing streak.
this season is already a success. With youth dominating both sides of the ball, UM still features one of the most dynamic offenses in the country and a defense that, well, only sometimes drives me to nearly jump into a
Every Saturday so far
is filled with an optimism, a sense of possibility that was missing the past two years. It is the air UM fans used to take for granted, and even though this season probably won’t ever by confused with some of the
seasons of years past, it is hard not to see a bright future for this team no matter how much of a UM-hating
you may be.
This Week’s Games
It was a weekend of upsets,highlighted by the third #1 team in a row to fall to a ranked opponent. This time, the Oklahoma Sooners were knocked off by one of the
in the Big 12, Missouri. With yet another #1 falling, it begs the question how the BCS will shake out at the end of the year, especially with non-AQ teams like Boise St. and TCU
beneath an invisible glass ceiling by the BCS computers and pollsters [Ed-M: Not to mention a schedule that's not...how shall we say...
* Coming off a 3-game win streak and winds in South Bend once again filled with a
of a Return to Glory, spirits were high at Notre Dame as they welcomed the Midshipmen of Navy. 367 yards on the ground and a thoroughly dominating 35-17 win by Navy a couple of hours later, the college football world was reminded that anyone trumpeting the reemergence of the Domers as a national power was simply
* Other major upsets this weekend included
at two former stops for Greg “touch of GERG” Robinson as Iowa State besting Texas for the first time (!!) in team history, while a Scott Schafer-led Syracuse defense (!!!) held West Virginia to 14 points in a stunning 19-14 win. As with politics, I will leave the
discussion about the team’s defensive performance to others.
* In other games of note, both Iowa and LSU suffered from
at the coaching position, as questionable coaching decisions by the Mad Hatter and Kirk Ferentz late in their games may have cost them wins against Wisconsin and Auburn, respectively. Senator Tressel went
against Purdue after last week’s demoralizing loss to the Badgers, drubbing the Boilermakers 49-0. The only disappointment was that the Vest didn’t break out this routine on the sidelines late in the game. Hey, hey! What's this I see? I thought this was a party. LET'S DANCE!
Mark Dantonio and Michigan State continued their unlikely run toward a Big 10 title and MNC berth (!!!!) as they rallied late against Northwestern, who blew the upset even though the Spartans once down 17 points. With only Iowa likely standing between MSU and a perfect season, I will now fill my body with
lest I be subjected to even more Sparty gloating.
* To no one’s surprise, the first game in which the Minnesota Golden Gophers were
after the dismissal of Tim Brewster ended rather badly, with Penn State earning its first Big 10 win rather handily despite being outgained by 80 yards. Perhaps a eccentric former Texas Tech coach will be walking the sidelines next year, though in that case I would like to see a name change to the Golden
Action since last rankings:
10-17-10 Wisconsin gains commitment from Trayion Durham.
10-18-10 Wisconsin gains commitment from Ray Ball.
10-20-10 Wisconsin gains commitment from AJ Jordan.
10-22-10 Illinois gains commitment from Ralph Cooper.
|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).
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 19 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||4||79|
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
New procedural note: ESPN has not ranked JuCo players in past classes, so it would be unfair for me to continue including Stafford as a 45 in the Huskers' ESPN average. The Huskers' ESPN average in the table above includes only the other 12 guys.
|#4 Michigan State - 16 Commits|
Nothing new for MSU.
|#5 Michigan - 12 Commits|
No change for Michigan.
|#6 Indiana - 22 Commits|
|#7 Iowa - 15 Commits|
|#8 Northwestern - 13 Commits|
No change for Northwestern.
|#9 Wisconsin - 16 Commits|
Badgers pick up a trio from Ohio, bumping them up.
|#10 Minnesota - 15 Commits|
Will Minnesota start hemorrhaging commits with Brewster being fired?
|#11 Illinois - 17 Commits|
The Illini gain commitment from Ralph Cooper. ESPN loves him, but the other sites... don't. The sites are still in disagreement over whether WR Hayden Daniels is committed. Scout has removed him from the Illinois commit list, so I won't add him yet. Justin DuVernois gets 2 stars from Scout.
|#12 Penn State - 4 Commits|
They have to get some commits sooner or later, right?
|#13 Purdue - 7 Commits|
No change for Purdue.
Preface: I am not Brian. I am not Magnus. I am not “dear lord baby Jesus”. But, and I say this with great happiness, I am not Matt Millen either. Seriously tho, If you don’t like what I say please tell me why and discuss rationally. Thank you. I will appreciate all the tips on how to not D*^P up. (read: “DERP up”) Also, I am negative by nature. I like Demens, but will overly criticize him because of Jinx paranoia/trying not to be a homer in analysis.
Thoughts on Demens:
I. Why he wasn’t playing early in the year:
“[I want to know if the attorney general] is preparing "criminal negligence" charges against Gerg and Co for playing Ezeh over Demens ?”
-In_Rod_I_Trust (no offense to you there, I actually thought this a funny way to sum most thoughts. Neg me if you don’t like the reference.)
While quotes like the one above were funny, everyone who thought GERG was stupid for not playing Demens needs to see this link
That sums up everything very well; no need to say more.
II. Whether he will help Mouton (and the D as a whole) this year:
My idea for this thread was partially started here. It’s an interesting thread. To analyze I want to :
- 1.) Take a UFR chart from all games and make a differential between Ezeh and Demens playing, and how well Mouton does with Demens in. (Before I even do this I will note that it will most likely be inconclusive.)
- 2.) Make a wild-ass assumption based on my thoughts on Demens.
- 3.) Wonder if there is really any better way to figure this out before Demens 2nd start.
1.) UFR CHARTING
I racked up from the data that says: My prediction was right! Inconclusive after limited PT. Mouton is a combined +4.5 with Demens in. His overall standing is at around +40-50. (My maths is bad, and I did it in Da Head.) This states to me that we don’t have enough information. However, we will still make predictions because that’s what bored fans do. I applaud this. I do this. I like this.
2.) ASSUMPTIONS AND PREDICTIONS
Demens really should make this D better. For those who said that Mouton would not do as well with a LB who actually played (read: will continue to over-run plays when unnecessary now that Demens is in) here's Da Responze:
a.) Demens>Obi. Defense with Demen>D with Obi.
b.) No chemistry issues. Why would there be?
c.) If in doubt return to "a.)"
3.) IS THERE A WAY TO MAKE THIS MORE RELIABLE?
Still wondering. Failing. Getting mad at failing. Moving on.
III. His strengths and weaknesses:
As has been well quoted on here: He is a run stuffer and not a pass protector. However, as per my Diary about his Iowa game and my Thread about his previous games’ PT, I believe I can shed more light on the subject. (No, I haven’t been stalking him on face book or tweeter….but can anyone give me the link?)
- 1.) He is WAY better than Obi on the run D. He hits holes, can actually read the plays, and will tackle. Oh, I almost forgot….he doesn’t get pancaked. Listen to the commentators laugh at Obi. Then *cackle with knowing glee* when you never have to see this crap again
- 2.) From my perspective he bites a lot. I only played HS, but our team never bit like him. My data says he bit 8 times. This is based of my UFR and not Brian’s. I am not sure how much the average man bites, but I would suspect that the young, run-stuffer is biting more than most.
3.) He is slow when guarding WRs. But who the hell isn’t? Like we’re saying with the whole defense, give him time to figure this crap out. BUT….I don’t like him in zone. Either he’s bad at zone or I suck at analyzing. Me:Brian comparison comes to mind.
IV. How he (and the D will look next year):
Insert: The_Knowledge. Not working?!?!?! WTF? Ok, here’s my idea. Just Kidding. Oh, you’re hopes weren’t up?
V. My prediction for the rest of the year/WTF does this all mean:
Based on my assumptions I believe we will end up a top 90 team in overall D. (#90 is USC at 402 YPG.) This includes that we went against 5 bad teams, and includes the “TURRIBLE” that is PSU. It is also aware of Illinois’ “Ill” offense. It is also aware of OSU’s decent offense. (Oh, and Wiscy….I like whiskey.) However, we let up 388 against Iowa’s mediocre offense. Part of that was based on TOP (which we slightly won). Part of the TOP was how our O was slowed down. I think our O will be slowed down, and we will have more TOP. I think that our D will play better because Demens is better than Obi. These two points should be obvious. I also think that PSU and Purdon’t will give us a stats boost. Possibly we hold Illinois…I just don’t know enough about them. For better or worse, I’m predicting we jump in to the top 90 over the latter half of the season.
With some spare time before the NCAA tournament this year, I developed a predictive model to pick basketball games for my NCAA bracket pool (figured it was better than me picking) using a descriptive discriminant analysis, which essentially assesses the variables that discriminates between categorical variables (in this case, wins and losses). I experienced success with my NCAA basketball model (predicted 80-85% of the NCAA tournament games correctly), so I thought I would see how applicable it would be to college football. So, for the last few weeks I have been validating the model week to week against the Sagarin rating and have had the exact same predictive accuracy (65-70%...not as great as it could be, but I’m in the process of improving upon the model) in terms of expected outcomes (winners vs. losers). I figured it’s a good time to share with fellow MGoBloggers and I hope to make this as concise and readable as possible. Apologies ahead of time if some of the tables don’t show up right, as I’m not too sure how to embed the tables within the diary as well as others.
After assessing a variety of team statistics from the past few weeks (SOS, win percentage, turnover margin, offensive yards per play, defensive yards per play, having a home game, and so on…you name it I have it and have looked at it) on a national level (Division 1-A - FBS only), the team statistics that best predict weekly winners and losers are, in order of importance:
- Point Differential (avg points scored – avg points given up)
- Offensive Yards Per Play
- Defensive Yards Per Play
- Win Percentage
- Turnover Margin
Notable variables that were not important in determining weekly winners are 1) having a home game and 2) strength of schedule (probably too fluid of a variable right now, but could be predictive for bowl game winners at the end of the season).
Big Ten Rankings:
The Big Ten rankings for Week 9 are below. All of the variables in my model are presented in z-scores (-3 to 3) that were computed on a national level, with the higher the score the better for variables for which positive results are better (offensive yards per play, win percentage, turnover margin, and point differential). For the lone variable (defensive yards per play) that is inversely related to winning, having a lower value is better. The variable PREDSCOR is the output of the model, and the game winner is determined solely by the higher of the score between the two teams.
- My model does have us ranked a little higher, and Penn State a little lower than Sagarin. Sagarin indicates this game should be closer, while my model says there is more separation between Michigan and Penn State
- Illinois is ranked lower
- We’re in the middle of the pack in Big Ten (where we expected we might be)
Predictive Model Results for Week 9:
Michigan (1.21) at Penn State (-.05) = Michigan
Michigan State (3.40) at Iowa (2.65) = Michigan State
Northwestern (.43) at Indiana (-.97) = Northwestern
Purdue (-.88) at Illinois (.26) = Illinois
Ohio State (3.97) at Minnesota (-2.46) = Ohio State
Seems every time I tune in to a Penn State game this year, they're throwing deep passes on 1st down, and completing several for touchdowns. That can't be the norm, of course, but I figured there was something to that.
So, I did some digging and came up with these numbers. FWIW. I have no idea how they compare against any other Penn State team, or any other 2010 team, or any other team that ever has suited up in a football uniform at any level.
With that backdrop, here are Robert Bolden's passing stats so far:
* On first down, Bolden has a 15.4 YPC (and 8.2 YPA), while on other downs combined he has an 11.5 YPC (6.8 YPA).
* McGloin's first playing time of the year came Saturday at Minnesota, in relief of the apparently concussed Bolden. McGloin's positive stats were even more heavily weighted to 1st downs than Bolden's. On 1st downs he was 4/7 for 66 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT, and on other downs combined he was 2/6 for 10 yards and 1 TD and 0 INT. Check out McGloin's long TD pass on the Tube. Very Sheridanian in the throwing effort and motion -- and appeared to be his throwing-distance max. Several of his incompletions were ugly, and the pick was a ridiculously bad decision. Shades of Utah.
* Oh. And Kevin Newsome has played only in garbage time, except Saturday at Minnesota, when he was in for one drive and wasn't asked to throw. On the year he is 2/4 for 15 yards on 1st down, and 3/9 for 34 yards on other downs. He has thrown neither a TD nor a pick. That is, Newsome has not been called on to throw one important pass all year. Smile, M fans.
* By my numbers, 44% of Penn State's passing yards (606 of 1,363) have come on 1st down. As have the majority (4/7) of its passing touchdowns.
* Based on these stats, occasional watching of PSU games, and poring over their play-by-play sheets this year, this Penn State team throws deep almost exclusively on first down, and has found success that way for TDs in three of the past four games (1 vs Temple, 0 vs Iowa, 1 vs Illinois, 2 vs Minn [Bolden and McGloin].
* The last time -- and the only time all season -- Bolden has thrown a TD NOT on 1st down was in the opener against I-AA Youngstown State, when he tossed two.
* Throwing on 1st down gives Penn State the best chance to protect its green QBs. And its best chance to move the ball through the air.
* PSU generally throws only short or very short passes on 2nd down. Hello, Ben Chappell.
* Good things generally don't happen when Penn State passes on 2nd or 3rd down, especially 3rd down: ergo the <40% 3rd-down conversion rate.
* NOTE TO GERG AND STAFF, AND ESPECIALY CAM GORDON: This is just a hunch -- but I suspect they've been passing more on 1st down against those defenses that cheat against the run on 1st down. Iowa doesn't, of course, so it's no surprise Bolden was highly ineffective passing on 1st down against the Hawkeyes (less than 50%). For UM this Saturday night, it might be wisest to either rush only 3 on 1st down, or bring the house occasionally on a suspected 1st-down pass, while always keeping Gordon deep -- eg, after a sudden change, or after two successive 1st downs on the ground, etc. Bolden isn't slow, but he's about as unsavvy/unaware in the pocket as any other true frosh. Sacks are there to be had, especially on long passing downs.
Agree? Disagree? Does this all amount to two-thirds of four-fifths of Eff-all?
[Ed: No preview today since it's a bye week, except for... you know... this. Also there is an Other People Pressers for it. No. seriously.]
So this is our off-week, which celebrates a time-honored tradition in my household, WIFEDAY. That’s right, WifeDay-- the one weekend in the fall where my wife gets to actually spend a Saturday afternoon, IN THE FALL, NO LESS, with a logical, rational and an almost carefree version of her husband. I have found that giving up this Saturday every year is a small way to give back for her willingness to honor my all-consuming fanaticism for Michigan football, which basically means that she stays out of the way of the TV every weekend from September through November. So she gets to plan the day, and we do it together. Heck, I might even humor her and forego the UM wardrobe and wear something striped and collared. Well, maybe.
Defense vs. Home Furnishings
So yes, my wife has decided that she’d like to do some shopping this weekend. We’ve recently made some upgrades to the house, and I’m sure she’d like to get a few things to make the place as nice as it can. Yikes, I could be in for a long day—the place we’re going to has a Pottery Barn, some furniture chain outlet, and I think there may even be an Ikea nearby.
Ikea, if applicable
Let’s make no mistake here… there’s no way I’m going to get out of having to look at things for the house together. I also need to be nearby when these decisions are being made, or else I’ll find myself sitting on my couch next week trying to watch the PSU game in a sea of red ‘accent’ pillows with beads or something on them that are essentially unable to support the human head. I’m going to have to put in quality time here just to preserve the sanctity of my home.
Key Matchup:Six Zero vs. Suffocating Furniture Sales Representatives, and exotic wicker décor of any kind. It’ll get ugly early.
Man-Store Offense vs. Wife
I will not go down without a fight...
Yes! The day will not be a total wash—where there’s retail, there’s electronics, and that’s where I'll get most of my yardage on the day. There’s nothing in Best Buy that I couldn’t necessarily find online, but there’s something essentially primal about stalking BluRays, PS3 games or WiFi gear that doesn’t even require a purchase. Other draws might include an UnderArmour outlet (ridiculously un-outlet prices notwithstanding), Black and Decker, Columbia, and perhaps even an Adidas outlet.
Key Matchup:Wife’s curiosity vs. the sheer glory of the Bose retail outlet space. Quite simply, the concept of having a home theater that is ‘good enough’ does not exist—I could spend $1800 on one and still find myself yearning for a better one tomorrow. Mine is currently well out of date, and I tend to visibly drool inside the confines of the Bose outlet. If my wife gets a taste of the Kool-Aid, it could be the turning point of the entire afternoon for our offense. On the other hand, if they’re actually showing college football in there, I’ll probably revert from model husband form and back to MGoBlog cretin, and she’ll simply leave the store.
Man Defense vs. Women’s Apparel
As Brian Says, “DOOM.”
This is where she pulls away for the victory. There’s no freshmen secondary to blame here, just the inexplicable love/hate relationship women share with their favorite boutiques. They seem to be painstakingly loyal to these brands despite being so frequently let down with empty shelves, wrong sizes, and clothes that don’t fit just right. Despite all of this, it’s always worth it when the store comes through and she gets that mythical creature known as the ‘perfect outfit.’ In many ways, it is very much like our devotion to the maize and blue.
White House Black Market
Ann Taylor Loft
Other Stores That I Stand In
I’m in big trouble here, and everyone knows it, even the overweight forty-something saleswoman who viciously tells my wife that every single thing looks perfect on her. My best defenses are my well-charged phone, which is currently equipped with everything from a web browser to Crazy Taxi, and/or my ability to slip away to the nearest Banana Republic or even Eddie Bauer if there’s no chair for me to sit in by the dressing room.
Key Matchup:The Samsung Mythic and ATTWireless vs. Quality Reception in Random Shoe Store. I have a good history with NBC Sports play-by-play features for whatever games will be live during the outing, and I’ll eventually move onto highlight vid clips as the afternoon unfolds. I’ll get torched, no question, but it’s either that or shop for myself, which all wives eventually get tired of. The last thing I want to be accused of is ‘not spending the day together,’ which would cancel the entire transaction of ‘quality time’ that Wife Day is about. To some degree, I have to man up and let her do her shopping.
Food Offense vs. Shopping
This is my last ditch at owning the day. I’m not sure what we’ll be up for, but I have some options here, and I intend to cash in on them. GameDay is always a good day for food, and I usually have some sort of Brats, burgers, or other grilled fare unless my wife steps up and serves her patented football nacho spread. Maybe that’s why I’m so willing to devote the off-week to her: she respects GameDay, and all of my weird obsessive rituals associated with it. So this is my own little way of giving back to the marriage. Plus I usually end up at some sort of chain sit-down place like Ruby Tuesdays or Friday’s or something, and she’ll even pretend not to notice as I stare over her shoulder and root for whoever’s playing the Damn Buckeyes. I’ll probably also be good early on for some sort of escape to the nearest Sonic for a Grape Limeade, and plus there’s always that Gourmet place with the killer Buffalo dip to keep me going throughout the afternoon.
Key Matchup:Fajitas vs. Red Meat. That is all.
I hold the edge here, because despite all the fuss that this is her day, I know my wife well enough to know that she’s going to end up shopping for me. I’m business professional by day, but I’m also enough of ‘a guy’ to wear pants with frayed edges and holes in my socks and still say that I don’t need anything new. I’ll come home with some nice new shirt for work, or something that she just couldn’t resist for the price. It’s not official adidas gear, but the possibility even exists for that… stranger things have happened.
Key Matchup:STOP KICKING THE DAMN BALL. Simple wisdom for a complex world.
- Ann Taylor has coupons of any kind.
- She brings an early Christmas Shopping List
- New stores, with a Grand Opening Sale.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- My wife says “Wow, those surround sound units are amazing.”
- The words “Go ahead and I’ll catch up with you later” are even whispered.
- Live football is being displayed on any television in my basic vicinity.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 7 (Baseline 5; +1 for Wife Day, +1 for Fall Fashions, –1 for For All My Complaining There’s Some Things There For Me Too, +1 for At The End of the Day I’m At An Outlet Center When Quality College Football is Being Played, –1 for But All In All She’s A Pretty Great Wife and It’s a Yearly Tradition)
Desperate need to win level: 2 (Baseline 5; -1 for I Know Better, –1 for I’ve Seen It So Many Times Before so Don't Panic, -1 for Sets Me Up Quite Well for the Rest of the Season )
Loss will cause me to...Let her have her day in the sun.
Win will cause me to...Worry about screwing up a good thing.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- I come home with new footwear of any kind.
- We actually have room left in the back of my SUV at the end of the day.
- My wife reads this blog and doesn’t realize that it’s just humor playing off of Brian’s previews.
- Happy Wife, 48-10.