You can’t count on more progress from the offense
Michigan is not going to get much better on offense. They can reduce turnovers, they can improve in the Red Zone, they can find a back who can reduce the load on Denard. All of these things can and hopefully will happen. But after two years of making the Rodriguez leap, this team is pretty close to the ceiling offensively. There are no more leaps to be made. Any progress at this point is incremental as this team already sits on good end of the bell curve, 2.5 standard deviations above the average team.
In 2008 Michigan was –5 PAN and ranked 102nd in the country in offense. Last year leap #1 happened Michigan jumped to +3 and 38th in the country offensively. This year the team has made an even bigger leap and is currently at +13 and second only to Auburn among all FBS offenses. Prior to this year, here are the offenses in AQ conferences that have exceeded +13:
Oklahoma 2008, +16
Florida 2007, +17
USC 2005, +16
Texas 2005, +14
Four teams from 2003-2009 did better offensively than Michigan has done this year. The offense will hopefully be a slightly more polished version of what you see right now. Another leap would mean a once in a decade offense, don’t think we can count on that.
So if we are going to progress, all the change is going to have to come from the defense. The goal is obviously to have a shut down defense to go with a can’t be shut down offense, but there is little chance of the defense turning around that quickly next year. For comparison I found three teams that had best in class offenses and average defenses (not good, not bad) and this is what I found.
The Test Cases
Florida 2007, +17 Off, –0 Def
West Virginia 2006, +13 Off, –0 Def
Auburn 2010, +14 Off, +0 Def
Florida 2007 lost three SEC games and eventually to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Those four losses were by an average of 6 points. It was good enough to get the Tebow Child his Heisman but going 2-4 in close games was the difference between the season being good and truly great.
With Rodriguez at the helm the 2006 Mountaineers went 11-2. This was the year that the Big East was good. Louisville had yet to be Kragthorped and beat West Virginia and South Florida upset West Virginia as the only team to hold the Mountaineers below 27 points.
Auburn still has 3-4 big games left and we may not know how this one is going to end depending on how Newton-gate ends. But at the current pace, Auburn is providing the best case that an exceptional offense and can keep you in the title hunt into November.
How plausible is a strong defensive improvement
This question obviously depends on who’s coaching the defense, does the system change, if it does is that a good or bad thing, how do the young players progress, how does Angry Michigan <Blank> Hating God fill in the blank and many other questions.
From 2003-2009 69 teams have been –6 or worse on defense. 59 of those improved the next year (law of averages, yo) and 17 or about 25% moved all the way up to the test case range –1 or better. The average team improved about 4 points.
Based on the amount of talent returning next year and the youth on this squad, a jump of 4 points would seem to be the minimum. Michigan road to average is starting at –8 right now. Strong showings in the last four games could improve that number slightly but nine games in the number isn’t changing that much. I would say the 25% chance of getting back to average seems about right. This defense should at least progress to 2009 levels (yeah?) and will have a shot at the average defense that would likely lead to New Year’s Day at the bare minimum.
An offense at this level plus an average defense in the Big Ten will probably mean at least ten wins. If the defense makes an average bad defense improvement, it will probably be more like 9 wins. If the defense can make a strong leap (entirely possible) to positive territory, Michigan could be a couple good breaks away from where Auburn is at right now. Let’s just hope somebody didn’t hear from somebody’s sister that Denard was asking Danny Hope to get paid.
[Ed: bump for epic and because I'm still waiting for my video to convert. UFR ETA 5:30?]
Troy Woolfolk Injured
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again
As many of us looked forward to the season, we hoped against hope for some sort of improvement in the defense. That hope was shattered on a Tuesday afternoon in fall practice. A dislocated ankle ended his season before it ever got started. Brian used the dreaded "just jump already" tag.
antidaily summed up the feelings of many in one simple picture
Michigan 30, Connecticut 10
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Take me out tonight
where there's music and there's people
who are young and alive
After the long off-season, the moment was finally here. The defense forced a three and out and Denard Robinson led the team onto the field. What followed can best be summed up by Wolv84 in the Liveblog;
I have this insanely stupid grin on my face right now.
And if a double-decker bus
crashes in to us
to die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die
Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24
A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
A rush and a push and the land that
we stand on is ours
It has been before
so it shall be again
In a game that seemed destined to end in a frustrating loss like so many before in this series, Michigan pulled it out. The Wolverines overcame a 95 yard touchdown pass to a Notre Dame tight end. They overcame a botched call that awarded Notre Dame a touchdown. Denard Robinson led his teammates on an epic 72 yard drive, capped off by a tremendous throw to Roy Roundtree on the penultimate offensive play.
That smile disarmed skepticism.
I was going to let my skepticism overwhelm, to wait until it was obvious that 2010 was not going to be 2009, but I lasted two games. I'm in the tank again.
Ooh, I think I'm in love
Ooh, I think I'm in love
Ooh, I think I'm in love
Michigan 42, Massachusetts 37
Who and what to blame?
anything is hard to find
when you will not open your eyes
when will you accept yourself?
Dave from the Liveblog took this to heart.
why the negativity guys? we knew this was our defense. Denard's meteoric rise to beasthood does not change our defensive expectations
Meanwhile, others like Mike were calling for Greg Robinson to be fired before it was cool.
Gamore weighs in:
I sat in my room and I drew up a plan
but plans can fall through as so often they do
and time is against me now
Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21
What Difference Does It Make?
So what difference does it make?
it makes none
In a game where all three quarterbacks scored touchdowns and combined to go 23/26, it really didn't matter which quarterback played.
In any case, it certainly looks like Michigan is more loaded at quarterback than they've ever been.
Jordan A - "All three quarterbacks looked excellent"
While we constantly reminded ourselves "this is Bowling Green", watching 3 quarterbacks lead the team to 721 yards was impressive. After hearing that Denard Robinson was not seriously injured, mgobloggers were able to step back from the ledge. The Big Ten season loomed and hope was high.
Michigan 42, Indiana 35
These Things Take Time
These things take time
I know that I'm
the most inept that ever stepped
Ben Chappell's +27 performance was the second-best overall QB performance of the year, and he now has three top-40 games.
Great effort by the kids on D today. I just wanted to start a thread to give it up for the guys who played defense today. It wasn't their best game but they played their butts off and gave all they had for the university we love. They could've given up 50 points today but they gave up 35, and that was good enough to win.
At this point, most of us knew what we were dealing with. The defense doesn't have much talent. While there were some knee-jerk reactions, most of the blog's users understood that the defense was very young and there was no quick fix.
Michigan State 34, Michigan 17
Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before
Stop me, oh, stop me
Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before
Michigan lost to the Michigan State Spartans for the third time in a row, for the first time in 40 years. As for mgoblog users,
The pain was enough to make a shy, bald, Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder
Iowa 38, Michigan 28
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Well, I'm afraid it doesn't make me smile
I wish I could laugh
but that joke isn't funny anymore
it's too close to home
and it's too near the bone
kb (liveblog) - "I need a good joke – not defense related"
Warren Goon (liveblog) – "the field goal kicking is beyond a joke – how is it even possible that it's that bad?"
The Mathlete predicted a Michigan win while other prognosticators all suggested that the game would be very close. (except for mistersuits, who was deadon).
Penn State 41, Michigan 31
Suffer Little Children
Over the moor, take me to the moor
Dig a shallow grave
And I'll lay me down
I'm not even going to quote these threads. It was a depressing moment in Michigan history.
It's always darkest before the dawn.
Michigan 67, Illinois 65
Is It Really So Strange?
Oh, is it really so strange?
I say no, you say yes
(But you will change your mind)
We saw a game that necessitated the creation of Communist Football's fantastic list of Records Broken In Illinois Game. Was this strange? You say yes, but I say no. You will change your mind. With an offense this good and a defense this bad, this isn't really so strange.
Picture from Blazefire
I pride myself on being reasonable in most situations, but in this game I said "I HATE EVERYONE" (after the first wheel route) and "I LOVE EVERYONE" (after the Gallon pass that was eventually called back on holding) in the liveblog. In the end, all that needs to be said is in the Illinois Game: Your Favorite Moment thread.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Tuesday, Nov. 9) the hiring of former Wolverine C.J. Lee as the administrative specialist for the Wolverine program, after Travis Conlan was elevated to the Director of Basketball Operations.
"I am thrilled to come back and formally be a part of the Michigan basketball program," said Lee. "This is an opportunity that I am very thankful for. I look forward to learning under Coach Beilein, his staff, and the entire athletic administration. My role will allow me to learn the operations side of collegiate athletics and see the game of basketball from a different perspective."
After transferring to Michigan from Manhattan College, Lee played in 67 games as a Wolverine and a 103 total in his collegiate career. Walking on to the Wolverines, Lee earned a second semester scholarship as a senior and closed the year earning his bachelor's degree in political science.
Returning for his fifth year, Lee was awarded a full scholarship from Beilein, was named a co-captain and was an integral part in a Wolverine late-season run and subsequent return to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, where U-M advanced to the second round.
Lee was named a Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winner and was a Michigan Daily Student of the Year, one of 10 recipients. He closed his career recording his first career double-digit scoring performance with 11 points against Oklahoma in the NCAA second round.
A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Lee was awarded the Thad Garner Leadership Award twice, the Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player (2009) and the Steve Grote Hustle Award (2008) by the program.
In May of 2010, Lee completed his master's degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
While continuing to finish his master's following his final season, Lee worked for the recent State of Michigan Governor-elect Rick Snyder on his campaign. He served as a travel aide and policy/communications staffer until April 2010.
After graduating, Lee began work at Ann Arbor SPARK. As a business development manager with SPARK, Lee helped established companies maneuver the local and state business climate by connecting them to the resources designed to help them succeed.
Good for CJ, and it seems like he'll be a valuable addition to the program. His contributions (and David Merritt's) to the 2008-09 team are often overlooked, but the Wolverines definitely don't make the tournament without those guys.
Well, last week was a spectacular mess. Too bad the Kansas/Colorado game wasn't on tv anywhere. I feel bad for all my Buff frends, but not bad enough to forgive '94. This week brings more exciting second-tier mediocre team action, and one game that's geographically challenged. I also get tired of typing Tennessee, even if it does help my character count. But first
Tennessee versus Memphis went almost exactly how you'd expect. A below-average SEC team pounded large lumps onto a bad Conference USA team. Boxscore? Boxscore. Tennessee had 500 yards of total offense, Memphis had 5 turnovers. The End. Tennessee may end their season on a "hot streak" after playing Ole Miss, Vandy and Kentucky. If they win out, they're bowl eligible. Just not bowl-worthy.
In MAC-action, Akron lost to Ball State in overtime in a game featuring 3 INTs per QB. And, you guessed it, the last play in OT was an INT as well. Drive home safely. Akron has a chance for a win against Buffalo to end the season, but scoring 15 ppg and giving up 39 is a tough hill to row. Tough row to plow? Tough hill to sled? Something like that.
And in the granddaddy of ugly games, Colorado gave up 35 points in the 4th quarter to blow a 45-17 lead and lose in regulation. The strictures and conventions of my marriage require me to post a large bird at this point.
Rock Chack Jayhawk, Dan Hawkins is So Fired! I think that's how it goes anyway. CU's 4th quarter drives went: fumble (returned for TD), lost onside kick, 2 plays and INT, 3 and out, ballgame. We'll probably revisit Colorado next year when they play Ohio State in the "First Annual Dan Hawkins Memorial Buyout Game."
The Battle For Michigan (which is a title I dreamed up for the Michigan Directional Schools, in case it isn't really a name for a thing) wraps up as Eastern plays Western. Eastern has lost to Central, and Central has beaten Western, so I guess this for second place, but there's still some pride on the line and other cliches.
Tulane plays Rice in the "Find These Teams On a Map Bowl." Seriously, they're like Troy. No one knows where they are. Like Pepperdine or Monmouth in the NCAA basketball tournament, only not as good. But get ready for fun pun headlines like "Tulane Waves Swamp Rice" or "Rice Washed Out By Waves" or other creative headlines. Rice has beaten UGotW regulars North Texas and Houston, Tulane at least has a win over Rutgers on their resume. Which is nice.
Overall, this was a hard week to pick, as there's also Vandy/Kentucky, Cincinnati/West Virginia and Ole Miss/Tennessee games to pick from. Come to think of it, the Mississippi versus Tennessee game gets a "Gratuitous Redundant Vowel/Consonant Face Off" award anyway. The winner gets two mors S's for their name.
I was at the game on Saturday with one of my friends from college, who is a pretty sharp guy. As Michigan scored their second TD in overtime, he made a case for going for two right there instead of kicking an extra point and forcing a third period.
His reasoning was that both offenses were likely to score on the next possession so we should try the 2pt conversion now, when Illinois would not have a chance to answer. At the time this line of reasoning sounded okay; however, I decided that it was somewhat unconvincing. The fact is that as long as our win percentage is higher by kicking an extra point than by going for two, we should, quite obviously, kick the extra point.
The question then becomes, is it possible that our chances of converting the 2pt conversion are higher than our chances of winning in a third overtime? In order to determine the answer to this question, I had to consider a few different factors:
1. We were going to be playing offense first, which carries with it a strategic disadvantage. What is the inherent disadvantage that we’d have in the next overtime?
2. What are the chances of our team converting a 2pt conversion? How much more likely are we to convert than an “average” team?
3. How likely is it that the kick to force a third overtime will be successful?
I did a bit of research and found a study that showed that the team that starts on defense wins about 52.25% of the time in the third overtime and later. You can find the study here. And, looking at M’s kicking statistics I’ve found that the team is 46/47 on extra point attempts, 98%. I used that for our success rate in this spot. So when we kick the extra point we’ll win .4775*.98= .468. So if we can convert the 2pt conversion 47% of the time, we should go for 2.
How often should we expect to make a two point conversion? Advanced NFL Stats says that the conversion is good, on average, 44% of the time. So obviously, if we had an average chance of converting, we should kick the extra point. But our offense is significantly above average.
In order to decide how much more often our 2pt conversion would be successful than an average team’s conversion, I divided our total offense in terms of yards/game by the national average. The result is a multiplier which I applied to the average 2 pt conversion percentage. Our total offense per game is 536 and the national average is 384 giving us a multiplier of 1.39 (our multiplier is similar when considering scoring offense). Applied to the average conversion rate of 44%, our new conversion rate should be 61%.
Now this seems pretty high to me, but given the things we’ve seen our offense do this year, I’d be surprised if we didn’t fall somewhere above the 47% necessary to make going for two at the end of overtime correct.
Note: This started as a board post and evolved into something diary worthy (I think). However, bump to the board if need be. Thanks!
So I know that there are 3 games left, and I know that individual awards don't matter in comparison to the team winning games.
And I also know that the Heisman does not go to the best player in college football anymore, but rather to the best player on a top 10 team. Its been that way for a long time.
HOWEVER, I find myself looking at the stats that Denard is continuing to put up and can't help but wonder why he is getting absolutely ZERO consideration after the media explosion that happened earlier in the season.
Let's look at some facts:
Denard leads the nation with 351.44 YPG (ahead of Cam Newton by almost 50 YPG!)
In terms of pure yardage he is 3rd behind Griffin III and Moniz who have each played an additional game.
Denard is 2nd in the nation with 149.89 YPG (behind OR's James at 166.38)
However, he is actually leads James in total yardage with 1349! James is only counted for 8 games because he was suspended for punching his girlfriend against NM, while Denard is counted for 9 despite barely playing against BG and missing close to a half against Iowa and Illinois.
So basically if someone out there was ambitious enough to do a "yards per 60 minutes played," I guarantee Denard would be the nation's leading rusher.
DRob is also 2nd in the nation with 7.37 YPC behind Taylor Martinez and well ahead of James at 6.79.
Denard's Total Passing Yards (1814) are obviously nowhere near the top of any list, but being a duel-threat QB that isn't really relevant (see Total Offense).
However, Denard ranks 11th! in Passer Efficiency Rating (160.90) with Kellen Moore and Cam Newton leading the way.
Denard has 25 total TDS, 12 Rush and 13 Pass.
James has 18 total TDs, Newton has 34, Moore has 22.
Denard has 7 INTs and may 2-3 lost fumbles? So we'll say 10 TOs
James' TO #s are irrelevant (plus I can't find them), Newton has 5 INTs, and Moore has 4 INTs.
So, after looking at those numbers the question becomes: Why is Denard not a Heisman contender any more?
The Answer: Oregon, Auburn, and Boise are undefeated. Plain and simple. If Michigan only had one loss or less and was in the top 10, I would almost guarantee that DRob would still be in the thick of the Heisman race even if his numbers were exactly the same.
Now a lot of people would say, well its not all about the numbers. There are other factors.
And I would agree with them. BUT this is not Timmy Chang, Colt Brennen, or one of the Texas Tech QBs putting up 6000 yards.
We are talking about a sophomore QB on a Big Ten team! Michigan's schedule is no joke, and declaring Denard to be a "system" QB in the line of those mentioned above doesn't seem to fit. What is the system? Passing? Rushing? Scoring? Denard ranks well in every category.
Its just frustrating to me that the media blew up in epic proportions during the first part of the season over Denard, but now they barely give him a mention. I think they definitely gave him too much pub by declaring him the winner after week 4, but I also think they are giving him too little respect at this point in the season.
Denard has numbers comparable or better than every other top Heisman candidate, and he plays a schedule much more difficult than that of Oregon, Boise, and most other teams outside the SEC.
And last but not least lets not forget that he plays on a team FAR worse than those of James, Newton, or Moore. Its funny that Michigan's record is a big part of the reason he is not under consideration when the fact that Michigan is terrible on defense should be an even bigger credit to his abilities.
Newton, James, and Moore are all on teams surrounded by superstars and playmakers, and while Michigan does have an excellent offense, our team as a whole is not very good.
People should realize once again that the Heisman is about the most outstanding player in college football, regardless of record. I know that strength of schedule has to be considered in making that determination, but having a bad team should not count against you.
I'm not saying that Denard should win the Heisman. I think Newton would have my vote at this point. But Denard would be second or third without a doubt in my mind, and I hope that other people are thinking the same thing. The kid deserves it.