I did not make this headline up
Twelve Vandals Vandalizing? Twelve Aggies, um, agging? Also, I avoid picking on two teams in consecutive weeks only out of the goodness of my heart.
Western pulled out a barn-burner against Eastern, locking up second place in the MAC Trophy. Signs of life from the EMUs/Eagles/Hurons for next year? Both teams were +/- 500 yards of offense, but Eastern was a more grind-it-out than the Western air raid.
Speaking of track meets, Tulane beat Rice 54-49. Our boy Sam McGuffie had 15 carries for 71 yards and a TD for the Owls. I'm not sure what a Rice Owl looks like, but can't help but wonder if it's anything like a Corn Snake.
Last, Tennessee clobbered Ole Miss 52-14 and is now awarded the title of Tennessissippi. Karma continues to catch up to Jeff Masoli, and he was 7/18 for 80 yards and 3 INTs. Tennessee was up 21-0 after the first quarter, and cruised from there.
Rutgers plays Cincinnati for sole possession of the Big East basement. That's saying something given the way the Big East has gone this year. Rutgers has lost to North Carolina, and squeaked out close wins over the likes of Army and FIU. Cinci can't point and laugh at that resume, either. Since their close loss to Oklahoma, they've been pounded in conference by West Virginia and Syracuse. Rutgers is offensively challenged, and Cinci is equally fair-to-middlin' on both sides of the ball.
Out in the WAC (slogan: The WAC is the new MAC!), Idaho plays Utah State in another leg of the Mormon Bowl. Idaho got thumped, as expected, by Boise State last week. Utah State is on a two game win streak, but the wins are against New Mexico State and San Jose State. So that's like keeping count of the number of times you hit the floor when you drop a ball. Aww yeah, three in a row, baby!
This week's "Sir Not Appearing in this Diary" award goes to Eastern and Tennessee. Eastern plays Buffalo in what is sure to be an ugly game. For no reason other than sympathy, I'll avoid making that a game to watch (or, rather, not watch). Maybe it will be snowing as well. Tennessee versus Vanderbilt also avoids the eyeball for the week, if only because Tennessee seemed like an actual football team last week, and may just paste Vandy and move on.
One last note goes to Appalachian State against Florida in the "If There's a God, Smite The Gators" bowl. I've got no good way to handicap D-IA schools, but still, c'mon, karma!
OK, this isn't a hard-core statistical analysis like the Mathlete would do, just some fun with numbers. We have a rather bipolar team this year (Offense #5 in TO, Defense #105 in TD), and I thought it would be interesting to look at what our opponents' Total Offense and Total Defense stats would look like if they hadn't played us - and what kind of a difference it would make in their overall ranking of NCAA stats.
The NCAA stats are not linear, of course, and a difference of 1 yd/gm can be a large or small difference in rankings depending on how closly spaced everyone is. So as I cautioned, this isn't a hard-core statistical exercise. It is interesting to look back at the early games and see how well we did in comparison to what other teams ended up doing against them - what seemed like a good or bad performance at the time may look different in retrospect.
Part the First: Offense
We know our offense is great, but what kind of damage has it done to the Total Defense (TD) ratings of our opponents? Here they are thus far:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Yielded||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
What would these guys' defensive stats look like if they hadn't played Michigan?
|Opponent||Total Offense, M||
Opp. Avg - M,
M Total Offense,
*Opponents' average Total Defense yards per game, minus the Michigan game
**Michigan's Total Offense in game as a % of the opponent's average TD minus the Michigan game
So Michigan has gained above our opponents' average yardage yielded in every game thus far, and their TD ranking has suffered as a result. What's the damage?
|Opponent||TD Rank With M||TD Rank Without M||Difference|
Average change in Total Defense ranking for all opponents: -10.1 places.
Part the Second, Defense
So the flipside of this, then, is how much has our defensive suckitude helped out our opponents stat sheet? Where would they rank in TO without having played us? We'll run the same tables again, but from the opposite tack:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Gained||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
First thing that jumps out at me is that none of these are world-beater offenses thus far. They're functional and solid for the most part, but even the best is merely above average. We can't really blame our bad defensive performances on having come up against a bunch of awesome offenses. Anyway, how'd they do against us?
|Total Offense, Opp||
Opp. Avg - M,
Opp Total Offense,
% of Opp Avg - M**
* Opponents average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
** Opponents TO as a percentage of their average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
|Opponent||TO Rank With M||TO Rank Without M||Difference|
Average boost to opponents' Total Offense NCAA ranking: +7.1 places
So we've had four really bad defensive outings (ND, Ind., MSU, Ill.) and a four decent ones (UConn, Iowa, PU, BG). The PSU game doesn't look so bad from this perspective - still not good, but far from our worst outing when compared to others.
Part the Third: Summary
Michigan's O Difference
on Opp TD Ranking
Michigan's D Difference
on Opp TO Ranking
|Connecticut||-10||+1||W, Good O, OK D|
|Notre Dame||-10||+19||W, Good O, Terrible D|
|Bowling Green||-17||0||W, Awesome O, OK D|
|Indiana||-11||+14||W, Good O, Terrible D|
|Michigan State||-1||+16||L, OK O, Terrible D|
|Iowa||-10||-2||L, Good O, OK D|
|Penn State||-8||+4||L, Good O, Bad D|
|Illinois||-20||+14||W, Awesome O, Terrible D|
|Purdue||-4||-2||W, OK O, OK D|
Takeaways from these numbers (as opposed to other numbers or observations):
- We played well at Iowa and were beaten by a better team.
- We played badly against MSU on both sides of the ball; they might have beaten us anyway with good performances, but not likely.
- The loss to PSU doesn't look like such a bad outing from this angle. Maybe PSU is better than we gave them credit for.
- Awesome offense wins, terrible defense doesn't necessarily lose.
- Our offense is better at offending than our defense is bad at defending.
- Winning is more fun than losing.
Defying the Odds: With a Turn Over Margin (TOM) of minus 7, M has defied the odds with a current record of 7-3 and a guaranteed winning season. Only 28% of teams with a TOM of –4 or worse had records of 6-6 or better (basis: all FBS AQ (automatic qualifying) teams over the last 10 years).
Synopsis for Turnovers: OMG, WTF, and Arrrgghhhh! Yeah, the weather was ugly but, for the second game in a row, M gave it away 5 times. Thankfully, the D really stepped up in this game and got 5 takeaways of their own. Leaving a net TOM of –0-.
There were 2 meaningless TOs (one by each team) – the M interception by Rogers at the end of the first half on the Purdue Hail Mary and the Hopkins fumble on 4th and 1 (because the ball would have gone over on downs anyway). [EDIT: I went back and looked at the Hopkins fumble. The blocking was there and it definitely looks like he would have had the 1st down without the bad exchange.] There was 1 meaningless TO (the M interception of the Purdue Hail Mary at the half). In reality, M had a –1 TOM.
Denard had a terrible day with 2 interceptions, 3 fumbles, and 2 lost fumbles. Similar to last year, the QBs are turning the ball over a lot. It was a total of 15 Ints, 15 fumbles, and 7 lost fumbles for the QBs last year. So far, it is 12 Ints, 10 fumbles, and 4 lost fumbles this year. This is primarily due to lack of experience (true freshmen last year and true sophomores this year).
TOs lost are now 125% of the average team and TOs gained are just 80% of average. Since we have a negative TOM, the overall ranking actually improved but is still FUGLY at #103. Just two weeks ago, M had a #31 national ranking in TOs lost but 10 TOs lost in the last 2 weeks has dropped that to the current #96. The 5 TOs gained improved M's ranking from #106 to #77 in TOs gained. Wisconsin does not turn the ball over (ranked #1 in TO lost) but also does not get many TOs (#88 in TO gained). So – HOLD ON TO THE GOD DAMN BALL AND THROW THE GOD DAMN BALL TO OUR RECEIVERS!!
BTW, blocked punts, blocked field goals, on-side kick recovered by the opposing team, roughing the kicker penalties, etc. are not considered to be "official" turnovers but have the same effect. I will continue to track these also.
Synopsis for Special Teams: Hagerup continued to launch punts into orbit with a 72 yarder and an average of 47 yards per punt. Despite a net 11 yard punt by Denard and a net 19 yard punt by Tate, M ended with a net of 40 yards per punt. Purdue had one return for a –9 yards (and a fumble). Hagerup put one KO into the end zone and M remains very good on KO return yards allowed (#27) with opponent average starting position the 30 yard line. The attempted FG wasn't even close and both KO returns and punt returns remain anemic (M did not return any punts – probably due to the weather).
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.
With two games left in the regular season the total picture is starting to come into focus, and it’s right where a lot of us thought it would be going in, 7-8 wins for the season. With a home date against Wisconsin this week and then a trip to Columbus, I have a 46% shot at staying at 7, a 48% chance of splitting and going 8-4 and a slim 6% chance of running the table.
Sure we got a little carried away after another hot start and we got doom and gloom during the rough October stretch, but with two games left, at the top level this team is where many of us expected. Yeah, the offense has been better than we hoped at times and the defense has been worse than we feared at times, but add it all up and for the most part it makes sense.
With all the turnovers generating field position for the offenses, this game had a 32-29 advantage for Michigan in terms of expected points based on field position. The offenses responded with essentially a 21-9 result. Michigan offense under performed the field position by 11 points (12 if you count the special teams costing an extra point) and Michigan’s defense held Purdue 20 points below their expected points, not too mention adding a touchdown of their own. Yakety Sax it was.
Michigan rush: +2
Michigan pass: +2
Purdue rush: +0
Purdue pass: –13
Denard: +8 pass, +1 rush, –1 punt!
Tate: –2 pass, –1 rush
V Smith: +2
S Hopkins: –1
M Shaw: –1
R Roundtree: +8
D Stonum: +0
J Hemingway: +5
K Koger: +3
M Webb: +3
Big Ten Race
Based on remaining win probabilities and my best understanding of the tiebreaker procedures, here are my Big Ten Auto-berth odds:
Michigan St: 30%
Ohio St: 19%
15% chance that everyone ends with at least two losses and craziness really ensues.
Based on suggestions last week I moved to a loss-penalty (-5 pts PAN) and am now ranking teams based on a loss-adjusted PAN.
|5||Oklahoma St||Big XII||19.6||2.95||1|
|8||Ohio St||Big Ten||15.2||-0.40||1|
|10||Michigan St||Big Ten||13.3||2.36||1|
|15||Texas A&M||Big XII||20.6||4.91||3|
FWIW Michigan checks in at #33
This weekly update is going to have a little bit of everything in it:
As always I will have a permanent list in the diary section as I confirm more recruits visiting. It looks like this might be a small group, though, with the playoffs still ongoing. Two big visitors are confirmed for officials though:
- LB/WR Kris Frost - Kris just got back from a visit to Auburn. I know that he enjoyed himself, which he usually does, but the Michigan visit comes after the Auburn visit and his parents will be with him. I still believe Michigan is in good position.
- TE Jack Tabb - Tabb has been trying to schedule his official visit for awhile now. His team was eliminated from the playoffs, so he will be in. The coaches really want a tight end in this class, and Tabb would be a good option.
6'0", 190 lbs.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Wayne has his official visit to Michigan set for December 3rd, and if you remember Michigan at one point was on the outside looking in. I asked him what made him decide to include Michigan as one of his five official visits.
I like the school, and the coaches are real cool. They did a good job of recruiting me, and I see how bad they need defensive backs. I'm still going to Nebraska and Stanford, too.
Lyons is going to announce his decision at the Army All American game. He had injured his knee earlier in the season, but has already recovered from that injury. In fact, Wayne played in his team's last game, and said he's good to go.
5'11", 180 lbs.
Malcolm was in for an official visit for the Illinois game, and came away impressed. His coach on the visit:
Malcolm enjoyed himself, and he was at a real good game. He sat with all his position coaches, and they were saying some good things. He's going to Cincinnati on November 20th, and doesn't have any other visits scheduled yet.
Malcolm doesn't have a date set for deciding his school. He is still committed to Cincinnati, and I wouldn't be surprised if he stuck with that commitment. We'll find out after he takes his visit to UC on the 20th.
6'4", 285 lbs.
I was on hand for Cyrus' first playoff game this past Friday. His team won 56-28, and if you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I am very high on one of his teammates. 2012 ATH DJ Foster (5'10", 180 lbs.) plays running back, slot receiver, and cornerback for Saguaro currently. Foster had 5 total touchdowns in this game, which was exactly what he did to this opponent during the regular season.
Foster hasn't heard much from Michigan, and his coach even asked me why Michigan hadn't been in contact. Both DJ and Coach Sanders from Saguaro thought it was strange that Michigan wasn't recruiting DJ harder, especially since he and Cyrus are best friends.
I took my first video interview with both of them, which didn't go as planned. Here's the interview with Cyrus below, which I had to cut myself out of because I couldn't hear him, and had to keep telling him to speak up.
- The Dr. Phillips group visit isn't happening until after the playoffs. It hasn't been rescheduled yet, since they don't know when they'll be done. Dr. Phillips went 11-0 last year but lost I believe in the quarterfinals, so they don't want any distractions. The uncommitted teammates want to get up to Michigan before they say yes or no.
- Maryland DB Blake Countess has scheduled his official visit for December 3rd, which is the same day as Wayne Lyons.
- DT Kevin McReynolds is not likely to pick Michigan. This could change, but as of right now it's not looking good.
- An emailer asks, "If you had to guess will Michigan get Sammy Watkins, Timmy Jernigan, Cyrus Hobbi, Avery Walls, Mickey Johnson, or Anthony Zettel?" I think we have a good shot with Watkins, Walls, and Zettel. I'm not convinced yet with Hobbi until he takes his official. I don't think we'll get Jernigan or Johnson. I will tell you that I'm nervous with regards to Avery Walls. I think Oregon has made a big push for him.
Wisconsin is cheese and football and funny accents, so I had considered several images for this week's wallpaper including a moldy wedge of cheese, some appropriately mocking phrases with Wisconsonese phonetic spelling or a play on the mining roots of the "Badgers" nickname. I wasn't sure until very late what stereotypical Wisconsin imagery I would use, but I knew from the beginning that the image would be rendered as a cross stitch because you can probably walk into any home in Wisconsin and find a framed cross stitch on the wall. Most cross stitch art is tacky and cliché, so I've created a tacky and cliché image of a Wisconsin football player with a literal cheesehead.
The image below is a preview only. You can get this week's widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
How it was Made - Sorry, no video this week
As usual the artwork is all digital, though somewhere along the way I started to wonder whether it would have been faster to actually cross stitch the thing and photograph it. Probably not, but after copying and positioning hundreds of individual thread images I may have a full-blown case of stitcher's hand. I captured the creation of this week's wallpaper on video but unfortunately I had some unresolvable issues and won't be able to share it with you. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to resume the video demos with next week's Ohio State artwork.