to play football, not to play trumpet
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.
Back on August 8, I posted this in a thread (edited to bring up the word count):
I see clear-cut top teams in Ohio State and Wisconsin. After that it's a toss up for 3rd with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Penn State.
- Iowa: home versus Penn State and Michigan State, at Michigan and Northwestern
- Michigan: home versus Iowa and Michigan State, at Penn State, Northwestern off
- Michigan State: at Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State
- Northwestern: home versus Iowa and Michigan State, at Penn State, Michigan off (also OSU off)
- Penn State: home versus Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern, at Iowa
If we see these teams as evenly matched and hold serve at home in these matchups, and we assume that when any of these teams play Ohio State or Wisconsin they lose and Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue as wins, we get:
1/2: Ohio State/Wisconsin (8-0/7-1)
3: Penn State (6-2)
4: Northwestern (6-2) (loses tie-breaker w/Penn State based on head-to-head Penn State win)
5: Michigan (5-3)
6: Iowa (4-4)
7: Michigan State (3-5)
8-11: I don't care
I'd like to start a rational discussion on what we think might happen in the Big Ten season this year.
Obviously, the above is according to Hoyle, but I think the surprises will even out for the most part. Prediction: one of the teams in the "Fight for 3rd" category will implode and one will catch fire.
So, let me hear you, MGoNation.
There is debate about what the word "Hoosier" actually means, but about this there is no debate: Indiana is known for being good at basketball and tragically bad at football. This week's schedule wallpaper explores the idea that after all these years, the University of Indiana is still just trying to figure out football. I love the idea of an Indiana shooting guard about to be trucked by a Michigan running back.
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
This wallpaper was created using parts of 9 different images: a closeup of a red cushion, a scrapbook that was stretched to fill the screen, a vintage photo frame, a Life image of the 1955 Michigan vs. Army football game, an Army football helmet cut out of a different photo from the same game, a basketball player from an unidentified school, an old photo with water spots and other features to give the base photo a distressed appearance and two scans of watercolor brush strokes that were sampled and repeated to form the Michigan and Indiana logos. I made color and contrast adjustments to just about every element to accomplish the final look.
All of the 2010 Schedule Wallpapers
Synopsis: After 4 games, Michigan is currently ranked #11 in scoring offense and #64 in scoring defense. Based on these rankings, M has a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season. Note that if Defense rankings improve just slightly to the Top 60, the probability of a +5 WLM increases to 70%. Offense continues to trend better each week. Defense improved slightly. (See line chart below)
Expect a close game this week with lots of passing from Indiana (the one cavaet is that Indiana has played a very weak schedule [Towson (FCS and #195), W. Kentucky (#144), and Akron (#175)] and a bye week so data is minimal). Also, Indiana is ranked #92 in rushing defense which could be disastrous for Indiana.
Based on the Sagarin Predictor M is favored by 10.7 points in the Indiana game (Vegas Odds Opened at 10.5). Notice that the three Sagarin odds are very close to one another this week. That is to be expected as M finally won a game by a large margin which has brought the Predictor closer to the EloChess.
(For a Monte Carlo simulation analysis see The Mathlete's Diary which will be posted later this week.)
DETAILS: Here are the Sagarin Ratings. I have added "Opps Rank" which is the total rankings of the opposition played divided by the number of teams played.
Sagarin uses two basic ratings: PREDICTOR (in which the score MARGIN is the only thing that matters) and ELO-CHESS (in which winning and losing only matters, the score margin is of no consequence). The overall rating is a synthesis of the two diametrical opposites, ELO-CHESS and PREDICTOR.
Per Sagarin: ELO-CHESS is “very politically correct. However, it is less accurate in its predictions for upcoming games than is PREDICTOR”.
Here is the U/M vs. Indiana National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push"). Biggest differences are M rushing O (#2) versus I rushing D (#92) and conversely I passing O (#11) versus M passing D (#105).
Here are the week by week National Statistical Rankings for Michigan (cumulative thru the week indicated):
I have included the major rankings for offense and defense but scoring rankings show the best correlation to winning and losing. Scoring rankings are based on PPG. Rushing, Passing, and Total rankings are based on YPG.
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).
Each year, of the 66 FBS AQ teams, 65% (43 teams) end up with a + WLM and 36% (24 teams) end up with a +5 WLM.
If you remember from last week's diary, (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/early-um-statistical-analysis), I predicted UM to finish the game with 763 yards of total offense, while at the same time holding BGSU to 343 yards of offense. My predictor proved to be fairly accurate despite starting with a small sample size. According to the results, UMs defense played particularly well, holding BGSU to 82% of their normal game output. This mark is the best of the season edging out their performance against UConn at 84%.
Let's move on to the matchup this week vs. Indiana.
Still to note is that UM is predicted to outgain all but one opponent on their remaining schedule. 5 of the 8 Big Ten teams on UMs schedule had their best offensive day this week, which closed the gap in several matchups including Iowa, MSU, and Wisconsin. Four of UMs Big Ten opponents had their best defensive day. If it weren't for UMs gaudy stat day, some of those teams may have overtaken UM on the predictions.
Despite UM having their best defensive day, stat wise, their overall percentage had a net -1.04% change. What effect will playing on the road have on UMs defense this weekend? Well, Ums defense has held every opponent under their season averages except for one; Yep, their lone away game against Notre Dame. Based on the percentage UM gave up against ND (137%), UM will give up over 570 yards against IU. Honestly, I don’t see that happening. Based on the opponent IU has played, I think their offense may be a bit overvalued. I’ll stick with my predictor though and go with…
UM - 522
IU - 415