this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
We've all seen our offense's ridiculous red zone numbers (for a quick refresher, Michigan is 18/19 in the red zone with 17 touchdowns) and I wanted to see how that stacks up against the rest of the NCAA. I started here:
According to that, Michigan is 11th in red zone efficiency. But for anybody who knows football, we know that simply scoring when in the red zone is not the ultimate goal. If team A got 20 red zone chances and kicked 20 field goals while team B got 20 red zone chances and scored 15 touchdowns, I think we all realize that we'd rather be team B. Yet according to the above link, team A did better.
Those of you who pay attention to basketball eFG% know where I'm going with this, and I believe Brian has also touched on something along these lines. [Ed: Aye.]
Here's how things play out if you weight red zone scores (7 for a TD and 3 for a FG). Weighted Efficiency is (7*TD + 3*FG)/(7*RZ):
|Rank||Name||Gm||Red Zone||Scores||FG||TD||Weighted Efficiency|
Shown are the top 20 teams along with the Big Ten (including Nebraska) and Notre Dame. I find this pretty interesting because not only can we hit the home run w/ Denard breaking a long run or hitting a receiver deep, but we're also extremely efficient when we get near the goal line.
Disclaimer: I have to admit to a bit of subjective criteria -- if you weight a TD as six points rather than seven, Michigan comes in second behind East Carolina.
I just went to a talk by David Pahl, ESPN's general counsel and VP (and a Michigan Law alum!), and thought I'd share a few of the highlights.
The most interesting stuff to me was about online video. They're working with YouTube and Justin.tv to take down highlights and broadcasts, which from a consumer's perspective kind of sucks - I'm not always in front of a TV, but I want to be able to catch the game. They really want to get more material online, though - they're working on setting up a website to do a live simulcast of everything that's on ESPN. Sometime this fall, Time Warner customers - no deal with Comcast yet, what a shock - will be able to go to espnlivebroadcast.com (or something like that) and watch whatever's on at the time.
They're also trying to get more material on ESPN3, but the problem is that with a lot of their contracts it's not entirely clear whether they're allowed to broadcast stuff online. Older contracts didn't even mention web stuff, and newer ones are inconsistent. Their NFL contract, for example, says that they can put stuff online only if it's simulcast with what's on TV. Their contract for Olympics broadcasting, on the other hand, explicitly says that they aren't allowed to put video online - so when you're watching ESPN online in 2012, you'll just get a black screen when they're showing Olympic highlights. Fun.
One other thing that people kept coming back to was the Erin Andrews videotape. Apparently this guy was the one who acknowledged that it was actually her in the tape. He admitted that wasn't his brightest move. ESPN provided all of her legal counsel during that time because they were petrified that it was an ESPN employee who had made the tape. It seems Erin doesn't really understand how the internet works - she kept insisting that they take down every copy of it everywhere. But once it's out there, it's too late - it'll never die.
What else... there was some interesting talk about gambling. ESPN has to walk a fine line, trying to phrase things as "predictions" rather than "the spread" or "the over/under." Somebody brought up a pick-em feature on their website, and David's response was a gentle "shhhhhhhhh." They're especially in a tight spot since they're owned by Disney, who probably doesn't want to be associated with gambling.
He mentioned that there was some real soul-searching at ESPN about whether to air LeBron and "the Decision" because they didn't want to establish a precedent, but in the end it came down to money (surprise!). It wound up getting great ratings, unfortunately, and ESPN's president said he'd probably do it again.
Oh, and apparently Chris Berman isn't nearly as annoying in person as he is on TV. FYI.
I added Special Teams (Punting & Kickoffs).
Synopsis for Turnovers: So, we finally had a game where turnovers had no impact at all (most blowouts are going to be that way). The TOM ended at –0- even though it took another interception followed immediately by a fumble to do that. Is this some kind of a record – do they even keep track of interceptions followed by a fumble?
For the BGSU game, M had more fumbles than average (2.0 versus 1.63) and more lost fumbles than average (2.0 versus 0.80). With no interceptions again this week, M continues to do fantastic in this category. No forced fumbles persists with M now being at just 29% of the average for forcing fumbles. But, the secondary is smokin with 2 more interceptions (if we can just quit fumbling after the int!).
Overall, M is about average for TOs gained but doing great with TOs lost for a current TOM of 4.0 (which is what is was after the first 2 games). This is definitely surprising considering the relative strength of the last 2 opponents. The better team should usually force more TOs. That said, historically, TOs tend to come in bunches rather than a consistent number from game to game. (BTW, TOM was 1.0 after 4 games last year.)
Synopsis for Special Teams: Fugly, fugly, fugly. Field Goals are 1-5, net punting is 31.6 yards/punt (#105), punt returns are 5.4 yards/return (#96), average starting position for the opposition after our kickoff is the 29 yard line, and we average 18.1 yards per KO return (#107). Details for each game are below.
Summary by Game:
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).
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.
I was about to post about how upset I am over penalties, and how this is going to ruin our season and coaches need to get players to do a better job. I was going to post that Rich Rod is not getting the right players and all kinds of other nasty things.
But it turns out UofM is 87th in the nation with 19 for 186 yards through 4 games tied with ND, BYU, ILL and others
It does seem they have come at bad times and ruined drives but not as bad as I thought
And a few might have come during garbage time and on special teams and should probably not be the basis for a crazy rant
However, Indiana is pretty disciplined. They have only committed 11 penalties for a total of 110 yards. I know it may seem like I am looking for something to worry about... but this worry seems as important as the D or the special teams
I believe the only thing that can stop Denard is a false start.
FWIW MSU is 3rd in the nation at 37. So our stereotypes are still somewhat intact
PSU is the best team penalty wise in an automatically qualifying league (they have only committed 11 for 70 yards)
I'm basically done moving and have the internet again. It might take a little while to get caught up, but here's the weekly update with information about this past weekend's visits, and a little extra as always.
6'3", 278 lbs.
Flint, Michigan (Powers Catholic)
Danny is and will be one of the top in-state prospects for the 2012 class. He'll also be vital to Michigan as they'll be looking for a big-time defensive tackle in 2012. O'Brien was in Ann Arbor for the Bowling Green game and received some good news:
I was at the game with my Mom and Dad, and Coach Rodriguez came and talked to us right after his press conference. He said that he can't give me anything in writing until next August, but that I have a verbal offer from the University of Michigan. My Dad is a Michigan fan, so he was excited, me and my Mom were really excited too. It's a relief to know that I have that offer in hand now.
O'Brien has Michigan and Tennessee (his first offer) as his top two for now, but plans to take his time and some official visits. Michigan has had an advantage distance-wise, as Danny has been able to attend every home game so far this year. Their performance is also helping:
I really like how Coach Rod has turned the program around. Before the season everyone was talking bad about him, and that this was his last season with Michigan. He's shut everyone up about that with these wins. I also like how aggressive the defense is, and I like Mike Martin, too. Denard Robinson is obviously fun to watch also.
O'Brien has homecoming on October 9th, but said he still plans on showing up to Ann Arbor to watch Michigan take on MSU.
As a bonus, Danny is best friends with 2012 in-state DE/DT Matt Godin, who loves Michigan. Godin will also be at the MSU game, and has been talking to Danny about potentially playing together in college. If Michigan continues to have a good season then Michigan could push themselves in the lead quickly for O'Brien.
6'2", 185 lbs.
Sylvania, Ohio (Southview)
Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant, but has said in the past that he's a fan of Ohio State. Michigan has done some good things in Allen's mind both on the field and in his recruitment. He got a chance to see both in person this past weekend, and liked what he saw:
The visit was good, and I got a chance to talk with the coaches too. We mainly talked about how the season was going, how I was doing, and we talked a little about school and the recruiting process too.
Gant hasn't publicly stated a top group yet, and he told me he plans on taking his time with things so he can take in as many schools as possible:
I can't really say there's a top group yet, I'm mainly keeping my options open to anyone right now. I'm looking around the country to see what would fit me best. There's no top list, but Michigan is a school that I really like, and they'd be in the top group if there was one. I really like the football facilities, and it's a great atmosphere to play in.
Like O'Brien, Gant plans on taking his time with everything and taking visits. Allen will be one of the top prospects in Ohio for 2012, and looks to be an excellent national safety prospect as well. Michigan needs to continue what they're doing and continue the contact with Allen to stay in prime position.
- Georgia safety Avery Walls was named to the 2011 US Army All American Game. Michigan is still in a favorable position for Walls. He told me that he will be making his decision next month, after he visits Oregon this weekend, and Cal on October 9th. He's graduating early, so he wants to make sure he is accepted into his school of choice, and then he will make it public.
- Running back Demetrius Hart took a visit to Arkansas this past weekend, and will be heading out to Alabama this coming weekend with his mom. I said this on Twitter but I am, at this point, not concerned with Auburn. People were speculating on what that meant, and I think Alabama is a bigger threat at this point. The Auburn Rivals site had an article about Hart almost committing, which I can say 100% was not the case. Demetrius doesn't like to let anyone down, or hurt anyone's feelings. I'll tell you this too, there will be no more official visits after the Alabama game, but there could be another unofficial visit potentially in November. We'll see what happens.
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 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
I noted in the preview it would be tough to reach the +18 projected on the ground for Michigan. In “countable” plays (basically the first half) Michigan only reached +13 and if you count the whole game it was a staggering +31, and that’s just on the ground.
In the first two games Denard put up matching +12’s on the ground. Against Bowling Green he must have pretended to be hurt to keep that number in tact. In only five carries Denard managed to add +11.5 in value. Before adjusting for strength of opponent, Denard now owns the #5, 7 and 8th best ground performances of the year. Of the other five performances, all but Daniel Thomas’s work against UCLA were against defensive patsies such as Washington St, New Mexico, Nevada and Tulane.
Adding to the damage running backs Smith, Toussaint, Cox & Shaw were all at least +2, as were both of the other QB’s. The QB’s were all highly effective through the air, as well. Robinson was +4.5, Gardner +5 and Tate was +8.
The defense allowed Bowling Green to hit +5 on the day, with the difference between break even and where they finished being almost exactly equal to the screen that broke for the long TD. Apart from that play, the defense kept Bowling Green equivalent to their expected points during both regular and garbage time.
Team projections are still pretty fluid after 4 weeks but are beginning to come into a bit of focus.
Michigan’s win total projection is still hovering in the 8-9 range with no Big 10 teams separating from the pack outside of Ohio State. With so many games near toss-up status, there are still quite a few scenarios showing 10+ wins or 6-7, but the odds of missing a bowl game at this point are less than the odds of going 12-0.
@ Indiana – rank 58, 65% chance of winning
Michigan State - 36, 66%
Iowa - 17, 57%
@ Penn State - 28, 44%
Illinois - 70,90%
@ Purdue - 83,76%
Wisconsin - 34, 65%
@ Ohio State - 6, 17%
Most of the win odds are pretty similar to last week with the exception of Purdue which went from a toss-up to strong lean after another poor showing by the Boilermakers.
Projected Big 10 Standings
I currently have the Big 10 projecting to be Ohio State, then two groups of 5 teams. Iowa, Penn St, Michigan, Michigan St and Wisconsin are all projecting out to around 5-3 while NW, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue are all in the bottom bunch at 2-3 conference wins.
Teams that have played 4 FBS opponents are now fully based on in-season results (although opponent strength adjustment still partially includes last season). Most of the rest of teams have played 3 FBS games and are 75% in season results and 25% pre-season.
|6||Ohio St||Big Ten||17.02|
|11||Oklahoma St||Big XII||15.75|
|13||Texas Tech||Big XII||11.27|
|22||Arizona St||PAC 10||9.00|
|23||Air Force||Mtn West||8.39|
Two WAC teams at the top obviously won’t last but for now their wins are as strong as most teams as the “computer” tends to overinflate big wins against bad teams early in the season.