alternate headline: man does job
Yes, it's that time of year, when baseball rules supreme. The World Series is coming up in short order, and while Michigan doesn't have any horses in the playoffs, that doesn't mean that the Wolverine baseball team isn't making news. That news, at least for today, is the announcement of Michigan's 2011 schedule.
The University of Michigan baseball program and head coach Rich Maloney announced on Tuesday (Oct. 12) the 2011 schedule, which features games against at least four teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, a mid-week home series against Texas Tech, and the full 27-game Big Ten slate.
Looking over the schedule, this year seems a little bit harder than in years past, and that's saying quite a bit. The big weekend series of the non-conference, at Stanford March 18-20, will be a giant test for the Wolverines; we've known about it since last year's season opening podcast.
Michigan did upgrade some of their other series as well, particularly in the mid week. Along with the annual home and home with Notre Dame (May 3-4), the Wolverines will play host to Texas Tech (May 10-11), marking the first time Michigan has hosted a Big XII opponent.
Coach Rich Maloney on bringing on the tougher schedules:
"I think you want to play a challenging schedule so that when you're coming to Big Ten play, you're ready to challenge yourself," Maloney continued. "Hopefully, you have worked on some things that maybe you hadn't worked on as much. But you've had experience against quality teams so you've been challenged. […] We felt it was a benefit to our kids because you learn about your team and yourself when you battle through the rigors of a tough non-conference schedule and this will be no different. We're going to have to play well to win those games early in the schedule, but ultimately it will prepare us for the Big Ten season."
Other non-conference opponents include a three-game series with a Rutgers (February 25-26) team that just missed the NCAA tournament last year, a weekend at Winthrop (2 games vs Winthrop, 2 against Stony Brook), a four-game weekend in at Sam Houston State (March 4-6, which I undoubtedly will be attending at least Saturday and maybe Sunday), and the season-opening Big Ten/Big East Challenge, with matchups yet to be determined. Michigan is also continuing their series with Florida Gulf Coast, who had a great Michigan alumni showing last season.
As for the conference season, Michigan misses Michigan State during the official Big Ten season, but like last year, the two schools have managed to secure a series against each other. Unlike last year, the schools will play a three-game weekend series (March 25-27) in place of the tomato cans both would usually face in their respective home openers. The Wolverines will host Friday and Sunday, with the Saturday game in East Lansing. I love this scheduling tactic as it eliminates the annual RPI vacuum surrounding IPFW, Oakland, or worse.
In the REAL conference season, Michigan does get two of the toughest series at home, with Indiana in week one of conference play (April 1-3) and Minnesota near the end of the season (May 6-8). They will also host Illinois and Penn State. That leaves road series at Purdue, Iowa, Ohio State, and Northwestern. That's a pretty tough road schedule, with Purdue and Iowa returning plenty of talent and Ohio State having a new, aggressive coach.
Unlike last year's schedule, I'm not sure I can even get close to predicting a win goal for Michigan right now. Questions are a plenty in the starting rotation and in the outfield. I want to put out a guess around 36-19 overall and 15-9 in conference, but that's a lot of guessing. If that were to come true, Michigan would almost have to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the NCAA. Right now, until I see our starting rotation prove themselves, I think that's probably a reasonable baseline -- neither too high nor too low, but also not a concrete floor.
UPDATE: According to Chris Webb of Buckeye State Baseball, Michigan's Big East opponents in the challenge are UCONN, St. John's, and Louisville. That's three tournament teams from last year added to the schedule and one tough weekend to open the season.
Last week I looked at UM's 2009 vs 2010 numbers and came up with some numbers that point to a Michigan loss, but I held out hope that the Michigan offense wouldn't suck like they did against Sparty last year - yeah... So this week I'm just sticking to the numbers in hopes of reverse jinxing us into a win :)
This week I took it one step further and looked at all of Iowa's 2010 results, comparing them to their 2009 common opponent results (as best as you can -- PSU is nothing like the PSU from 2009 but it's the best you can do).
UM's numbers took a bit of a dip both offensively and defensively after the MSU debacle and we now have this for the D:
|All Opponents||All DI - Opponents|
And this for the O:
|All Opponents||All DI - Opponents|
Now for some scary numbers: Lets look at Iowa thus far. Their D:
|All Opponents||All DI - Opponents|
And their O:
|All Opponents||All DI - Opponents|
Ok so we already knew that Iowa has an absurd D but what about comparing both UM and IA to this point last year...
|All Opps||2010||2009||% Improvement|
|UM D PPP||2.26||1.39||-63%|
|UM O PPP||3.28||2.99||10%|
|IA D PPP||0.54||0.95||43%|
|IA O PPP||2.75||1.95||41%|
And for D-I Opps only:
|All DI Opps||2010||2009||% Improvement|
|UM D PPP||2.05||1.59||-29%|
|UM O PPP||2.97||2.6||14%|
|IA D PPP||0.5||0.86||42%|
|IA O PPP||2.65||2.12||25%|
So, compared to last year at this point our D is much worse, our O is a bit better and Iowa has made huge strides on both sides of the ball (pick-6's and special teams points aren't counted in this). With that in mind what happened last year against Iowa?
|UM vs IA 2009*||Expected||Result||% Difference|
* means that I used the D-I only numbers
Well, pretty much only the Iowa O met their numbers for the season average while our D, O and Iowa's D took a big hit.
If we only look at UM 2010 vs 2009 we get a predicted score as such:
Based on UM Performance
2010 vs 2009
|vs All||vs DI Only|
Then if we look at only Iowa 2010 vs 2009 we get this:
Based on IA Performance
2010 vs 2009
|vs All||vs DI Only|
Basically everything spells doom. Even if you put in a full 6-pt swing from the change of home venues, we're at best looking at 31-24 Iowa. Sadly, I'm going to go with the average of all four numbers and throw in a 3-point swing for home field advantage (not 6 as we're treating 2010 as a seperate entity) and I end up with UM 19 - IA 32. I'll do a bit of DO NOT PUNT rounding and IA's penchant for FGs for an official prediction of UM 21 - IA 30.
I'd do a full review of the MSU numbers but it's painful so the quick and dirty is the O took a 56% decrease in PPP (3.5 season avg vs 1.55 actual) and the D took a 69% decrease (1.84 season average vs 3.10 actual).
P.S. Dear Denard - please just run once your internal timer has gone off and prove the numbers horribly wrong!! :)
Here's the list of recruits I have confirmed coming in for the Iowa game. As always, this list will have names added and dropped as it gets closer to game day. I'm going out of town from Thursday until Monday though, so there won't be much if anything from me until Monday. Please refrain from making the, "Yeah, but what about defensive recruits?!" comments. Just because there aren't many visiting for this game doesn't mean Michigan isn't recruiting them; they are.
- DT Timmy Jernigan - 6'2", 275 lbs, 4 Star, Lake City, Florida
- TE Drew Owens - 6'5", 225 lbs, 3 Star, Charlotte, North Carolina
- DB Dallas Crawford - 5'10", 185 lbs, 3 Star, Fort Myers, Florida
- WR Sammy Watkins - 6'1", 180 lbs, 4 Star, Fort Myers, Florida
- WR Hakeem Flowers - 6'2", 175 lbs, 3 Star, Greenville, South Carolina
- WR Quinta Funderburk - 6'5", 204 lbs, 3 Star, Chesapeake, Virginia
- QB Kevin Sousa - 6'3", 210 lbs, 3 Star, Lake Nona, Florida (Commit)
- DE Chris Wormley - 6'4", 255 lbs, Toledo, Ohio
- RB Will Mahone - 5'11", 205 lbs, Austintown, Ohio (He confirmed he will be there)
- DB Luc Haupt - 6'0", 180 lbs, Austintown, Ohio
- DB Chris Davis - 5'10", 183 lbs, Austintown, Ohio
- QB Demitrious Davis - 5'10", 183 lbs, Austintown, Ohio
There will be more 2012 kids added to the list soon. I'm still trying to confirm some, so keep checking back later tonight and tomorrow.
Warning: Week 7 is boring. Pretty much everybody is playing in-conference, so the cupcake games are few and far between. Also, the usual suspects for minor league ineffectiveness are playing middling games as well.
Last week's recap
FIU and WKY faced off for a chance at a first win of the season. It went about like you'd expect. Florida International went 12-19 passing, 3-9 on third down, and had 16 penalties for 135 yards. And won by a TD. How? Western Kentucky rushed 41 times for 106 yards, and was 14-31 passing.
In the Granddaddy Toilet Bowl, New Mexico State squeaked out a win against New Mexico. New Mexico State debuted their new "throw a screen, fall down" offense apparently, since one of their QBs was 5-10 for 6(!) yards. The whole team was 7-12 for 38 yards through the air. And this is the team that won. New Mexico fumbled 4 times and threw a pick for good measure. This game also featured a dazzling 14 punts, for a combined 543 yards.
Les Miles and undefeated LSU will have room to ply all sorts of kooky game management theory against McNeese State. McNeese has already been pummeled by Missouri 50-6, so the nefarious brain of Les Miles will have to come up with something pretty incredible to break these hearts -- we're with you big guy! This game is a virtual bye-week for LSU, as they have Auburn and Alabama back-to-back coming up, and finish the regular season against Arkansas.
San Jose State is this year's memorial 2nd grader who goes around picking fights with every 5th grader on the playground, with expected results. The kid who can already show bruises from Alabama, Wisconsin, Utah, and Nevada will play Boise State this weekend. With SJ providing a common opponent link for late-November BCS Kevin Bacon gaming, Boise gets the "Prove It On the Field" award for the week. Bama won by 45; can Boise go bigger?
The "Manic Depressive Paranoid Schizophrenic" game of the week is Georgia versus Vanderbilt. Georgia handled Tennessee last week, but is still 2-4 on the season. Vandy has a loss to UConn, and a win against Ole Miss. Both teams have far better defenses than offenses, so this game may be a punt-fest as well. Or, someone else may get kicked off Georgia for stealing a chalkboard eraser, and then who knows?
A quick recap of what week 6 was and what was predicted... Week 6 predictions found in previous diary here.
Prediction vs. Actual
UM offense: 553 yards vs. 377 yards = 68%
UM defense: 495 yards vs. 536 yards = 108%
While UM ended up short of their predicted yards based on ridiculous output to date, they were still able to gain more yards than Sparty typically gives up in a game. (377 vs. 350). On the flipside, the UM defense gave up nearly 100 yards more than Sparty typically gains. Needless to say, those are not good numbers. When you combine them with three turnovers, the likelyhood of a win is slim.
On a positive note, UM left 18 points on the field in the form of a dropped TD by Hemingway and two INTs thrown by DR in the end zone. In other words, UM was three mistakes from being dead even in this game.
My predictor came up with a final score of 40.5 for UM and 39 for Sparty. Not much analysis needed here as score is based entirely on yardage. On to week 7.
Because of the poor numbers, both on offense and defense, Michigan's yardage lead slid nearly 50 yards to Iowa. The Hawkeyes join OSU as the only teams predicted to outgain UM. At this point, Michigan still has a favorable matchup against Purdue and Penn State. The recent success of Illinois has really made that game quite a tossup.
As with last week, I added an offensive and defensive ranking based on yards. MSU moved up 2 spots to number 8 after the UM game. The game this week against Iowa should prove to be another huge test for the Michigan offense.
At this point, with the score predictor, I'm inclined to throw away the "hybrid 2009/2010" stats. We have just edged past the halfway point of the regular season and teams have started to display an identity. As many yards as UM is putting up this year, they just haven't scored as much. It is definitely taking UM more yards to score the same amount of points. Because of the special teams woes [Ed: and bad defense] UM is finding itself in bad field position game-after-game.
UM - 407
Iowa - 454
UM - 28
Iowa - 35
So, Michigan lost to MSU, primarily because of 4-5 plays, over the weekend, and everyone on this board and elsewhere appears very unhappy and apprehensive of the rest of the season
Before the game, everyone predicted a Michigan victory on these very pages. After the game, Misopogon composed a diary compiling all these predictions and how they wrong
But, he forgot one thing; everyone predicted a Michigan victory
except THE KNOWLEDGE
People used Ratings, scouting, useless statistics and other methods to make these predictions. But, there is no better “prediction” of the future than actually knowing it. and in this method, there is no greater authority than THE KNOWLEDGE
THE KNOWLEDGE had provided a not-too-subtle hint before the game. The 4th edition of THE KNOWLEDGE CHALLENGE was not posted on Friday; instead it was posted on Saturday morning. In that, THE KNOWLEDGE had stated that he will provide no pointers to the game (as opposed to the previous editions of THE CHALLENGE)
THE KNOWLEDGE did not want to cause paranoia before the game, and provided this hint for those that can understand. People did not, to their own detriment
And, people still don’t understand THE KNOWLEDGE. that is why they are upset and unhappy
THE KNOWLEDGE has clearly stated several times earlier that Michigan will finish the season 11-1 and play the BS Broncos for the National Championship (for the moron that commented stupidly on the last THE KNOWLEDGE post, BS refers to Boise State)
That is still true, since what THE KNOWLEDGE has provided is a season review; not a clumsy prediction
Michigan wins the rest of the games, and the National Championship
Those who understand THE KNOWLEDGE will know the inevitability of the review and will continue to remain calm
As noted earlier, those that follow THE KNOWLEDGE shall be worry-free
As for the rest, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar and leave every doubter in a trail of dust