this may be of some local interest
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 UConn or a top team from the MAC.
All games against FCS teams are excluded for all teams, 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.
At this point adjustments for strength of opponent are directional but getting better. Opponent adjustment is included unless otherwise noted.
Rush Offense vs Iowa
Michigan Off +8 PAN, 1st nationally, 1st Big Ten
Iowa Def +5 PAN, 3rd, 1st
Despite a season worst showing last week against Michigan St, Michigan still enters with the number one rated rush offense in the country. The tests don’t get any easier as Michigan will look to hold the title against the #3 ranked rush defense. Neither team has had a below average game on the season and both teams have put up multiple +5 performances, which are very difficult to come by on the ground.
Taylor Martinez of Nebraska may have taken the headlines for a week, but the season totals are not even close. Denard is the nation’s top rusher at any position with a +9 himself. No other player has exceeded +5.
Even with the tough Hawkeye ground game, Michigan still should be able to manage several points of positive value out of the ground game on Saturday.
Pass Offense vs Iowa
Michigan Off +5, 15th, 2nd
Iowa Def –0, 57th, 6th
Michigan’s biggest advantage coming in will be passing against Iowa’s defense. The Hawkeye pass defense hasn’t been bad, but it is about as close to average as a group can be. Michigan has had three great games passing and two that have been subpar, including last week’s 3 interception outing. Iowa has only one great performance and that was against Iowa St.
Michigan’s pass offense still checks in at #15, even after last week. Look for the Denard and the receivers to bounce back for a potential big day through air if Michigan can find even a little success on the ground.
Rush Defense vs Iowa
Michigan Def –2, 92nd, 9th
Iowa Off +0, 54th, 6th
Michigan defensive backs : Iowa running backs ::
We wish the answer was Michigan pass defense : Iowa ground game. But unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. Michigan hasn’t found a solution to slowing down the pass but Iowa has found enough of a running game to survive. You’ll notice no breakout games from the Hawkeye crew but they haven’t exactly struggled either. Adam Robinson has been –1 on the season and is the worst back left on Michigan’s schedule.
Michigan was gashed last week in their worst performance to date. Michigan can not allow another big game on the ground this week but luckily Iowa doesn’t appear to have the horses for a big day. Should be slight advantage Hawkeyes but hopefully not any worse.
Pass Defense vs Iowa
Michigan Def –2, 81st, 10th
Iowa Off +4, 22nd, 3rd
Stanzi ball has been transformed in 2010. After the pick six disasters of last season, Stanzi has become an asset for his own team instead of the opposition. Arizona was the only below average performance on the season and the other three games were all solid, consistent outcomes.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt are the two primary targets. The two are combined +11 PAN on the season and their output is nearly equivalent to what Hemingway and Roundtree have done this year. The four are all grouped together at positions 5 through 8 in my Big Ten rankings.
The big advantage Michigan is that with as consistent as this group has been, they haven’t put up any monster games. Unless 2009 Stanzi makes a welcome appearance, Michigan should be glad to have this matchup end up anywhere less than a major victory for Iowa.
Special Teams vs Iowa
Over the last several games Michigan has done a good job of limiting their exposure to poor special teams. Iowa hasn’t done much of note on special teams yet this year outside of another poor showing in Arizona. I am guessing both teams would be content to let special teams play little to no role in the outcome Saturday.
Predictions Almost Certain to Cost You Money if Taken Seriously
Michigan 28 Iowa 27
There was certainly a correction in expectations last week, but as Brian noted, that doesn’t change the other data points we had. The defense is still bad, the offense wasn’t their usual spectacular selves last week but their resume to date is still outstanding. The offense is still #1 nationally in my rankings and the difference between Denard and the #2 QB nationally in my ratings (Cam Newton) is the same as the difference between Newton and #22, Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi.
Denard has very strong bounce back performance, this time against an elite defense and the defense limits two Iowa trips to field goals instead of touchdowns to provide the difference.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten
Michigan St 28 Illinois 22 – Another close but no cigar for [name redacted] against a quality Big Ten opponent
Indiana 35 Arkansas St 34 – Hoosier’s escape with an ugly victory against their best non-conference opponent
Purdue 26 Minnesota 21 – The schedule favors Purdue as the Boilermakers move to 2-0 in the Big Ten
Ohio St 23 Wisconsin 14 – And probably not as close as the score shows. Ohio St controls this one throughout. My numbers continue to place Wisconsin at the top of my overrated list.
Around the country
Auburn 35 Arkansas 28 – Cam Newton > Ryan Mallett. Newton, Martinez and of course Robinson all have big days and the rise of the mobile QB becomes the official theme of the 2010 football season until Boise St and TCU are 1 and 2 in the BCS standings and the world ends.
Follow me @The_Mathlete
Synopsis: After 6 games, Michigan is currently ranked #14 in scoring offense and #75 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. The offense definitely had its worse game of the season scoring only 17 points (primarily due to TOs). Rushing yardage was about 50% of the average for the year whereas passing yards were fairly close to the average. The defense continued to struggle allowing 9 more points than average and about twice the average rushing yardage. Defense passing yardage was slightly below the average. Michigan's current PPG is 26.8 so the defense must hold teams below this number to improve their performance.
I always use scoring stats because yardage stats are inherently flawed. Being #75 in scoring defense is not good but U-Ms defense is not as bad as the #112 in total defense indicates. According to the S&P+ rankings at Football Outsiders, Michigan is ranked #62 in total defense.
Based on the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), Michigan is predicted to win between
7.5 and 8.1 8.1 and 8.5 (ED: corrected) games (excluding bowl game but adjusted with +1 for U-M's one FCS opponent).
Based on the FEI, Iowa is favored by just a single point with just a 51% PWE (projected win expectation). Using the Sagarin Predictor, Iowa is favored by 3.4 points (note the Sagarin Elo-Chess actually has M as the favorite by 6.7 points and the Sagarin overall rating has M favored by 1.4 points). (Vegas Odds Opened with Iowa favored by 3.0).
I am surprised at how close this game is predicted. The SoS adjustments are especially interesting because the FEI SoS Algorithm (explained here) shows Iowa with a more difficult schedule than Michigan but Sagarin has just the opposite. Iowa has also had an extra week to prepare due to their bye last week. IMO, Michigan will have to play its best game of the year and end up with a positive turnover margin to win.
Overall this year, U-M is averaging 3.2 points per possession (PPP) and 46 YPP. The defense is giving up 2.2 PPP and 38 YPP. With an average of 12 possessions per game for each team, this translates into a 12 point advantage for Michigan.
DETAILS: Here are the FEI numbers ( FEI Forecasts and Football Outsiders FEI ). FEI is a weighted and opponent adjusted season efficiency and is expressed as a percentage as compared with an average FBS team.
Note that FEI completely excludes all non-FBS data (the W-L record is only for FBS games, etc.). Therefore, you need to add 1 to the projected numbers for FBS-MW to get the final predicted wins for U-M this year. Or, if using the FBS-RMW, add 1 to the current win-loss record to get the final predicted wins for the year.
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams. I've included the GE basic data so you can see the impact of adjusting for opponent. (See: Football Outsiders Our Basic College Stats )
Here are the Sagarin Ratings.
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. Iowa National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push").
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.
Here is the basic data for Michigan (each individual week followed by totals and then average per game). I've included Total Possessions for Offense & Defense along with the calculated data per possession. Number of possessions do not include running out the clock at the half or end of game. Offense Plays and Defense Plays are better indicators than Time of Possession.
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.
Below is an analysis of historical data on penalties in the Michigan-Iowa game dating back to 2003. (FYI - The "Against" row lists penalties called against Michigan and the total yardage lost and the "For" row lists penalties called against Iowa and the total yardage gained due to these penalties.)
|Win/Loss||Loss||Win||Win||Win||DNP||DNP||Loss||Record - 3-2|
Based on the data, Michigan has averaged 4.2 penalties per game as compared to Iowa's average of 6.4 penalties per game. Not nearly as big of a disparity as the 4 penalty-per-game difference between Michigan and Michigan State, but a slight advantage nonethelss. Interestingly, Michigan has been very consistent historically at around 4 penalties per game for about 40 yards lost per game in most rivalries that I have researched. And Michigan appears to be on that same track this year (with the one abberation coming against Notre Dame in Week 2).
|2010||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6||Totals||Averages|
What it means for Saturday: In a game where Michigan's offense is facing a strong defense and gaining yards may be more difficult than usual, penalties (like turnovers) can play a large role. If you see 4 penalties from Michigan for 40 yards then do not fret. However, if you see a flood of penalties from Michigan it might have a real impact on the game. That's probably an obvious statement, but still something to consider nonetheless.
Saturday night, while we were doing our best to avoid the bros, the volleyball team upset #6 Illinois at Cliff Keen Arena. It was a huge game for the spikers with Lexi Zimmerman posting her second career triple double (43 assists, 13 digs and 13 kills) in an epic performance, even for the best volleyball player in the history of the program. Michigan now sits atop the Big Ten standings at 5-1 along with Illinois and Northwestern.
Senior setter Lexi Zimmerman is a two time All-American. She's got ups.
This year the volleyball team expected a bit of a transition after making the elite eight and then losing outside hitters Juliana Paz and Megan Bower to graduation. However the team is off to a scorching 16-2 start to the season, with a loss coming early on to Toledo and more lately at powerhouse Penn State. How have they done it? It's been an exciting mix of veterans and rookies for the Maize and Blue:
Everyone knows, or should know Lexi Zimmerman - the two time (soon to be three) All-American setter for the Wolverines. Lexi is the floor general and has been doing what she does - DOMINATE - all season for the Wolverines.
Junior Alex Hunt needed to step up big this season for the Wolverines and she has. She led the team with 19 kills against Illinois last Saturday and has shown that she can pick up the slack left by Paz and Bower.
Junior libero Sloane Donhoff anchors the back line for Michigan, routinely leading the team in digs.
Junior middle blocker Courtney Fletcher got off to a solid start early and is well on her way to surpass her kill totals from last season.
Several underclassmen have made a big impact on the team this year early on in their careers. After appearing in only seven sets last season, RS Sophomore Claire McElheny is off to a great start to the 2010 season. She has started 15 matches for the Wolverines and recorded 10 kills in M's upset of the Illini. Her contribution has certainly been a big one and helped in the replacement of Paz and Bower.
True freshmen Molly Toon and Jennifer Cross have come on strong and are showing some promise for Michigan's future. Jennifer Cross, a 6-4 middle blocker, has started 16 times this year for the Wolverines and notched 8 kills and 6 blocks against Illinois. Molly Toon, daughter of the NFL's Al Toon, came up big in the Wolverines' win over Illinois, notching a career high-tying 9 kills.
How They Got Here: 16-2 (5-1)
Michigan opened the season at the Toledo Classic, winning their first two games of the year before falling to the host Rockets in the championship game in five sets. Since then the Wolverines have been on a tear.
M won 12 straight matches including an early season win at Oregon State and sweeps of the Michigan/adidas Invitational and the ASU Sheraton Tournament.
To start Big Ten play, Michigan hosted and defeated Iowa and #15 Minnesota before taking their first conference road trip. On the road M beat OSU in 4 sets before travelling to Penn State. While Penn State isn't the beast that they have been in years past (currently standing at 3-3 in B10 play), the Nittany Lions took care of the Wolverines in straight sets.
The Wolverines returned home this past weekend to defeat Wisconsin and Illinois.
Tonight: MSU at 7pm; Saturday #20 Northwestern at 7pm (Live on BTN)
If you want to feel better about little sister, come to Cliff Keen tonight, where the Wolverines should be able to take care of the Spartans. Alex Hunt currently sits are 989 career kills and the good money says that she will notch kill 1000 against MSU tonight.
As previously mentioned, Northwestern is tied with Michigan atop the Big Ten standings. So Saturday's matchup is a big one with a lot on the line. Michigan will head back out on the road so it's important to get this win to set up what could be a great Big Ten season.
|Wed., Oct. 13||vs. Michigan State *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Oct. 15||vs. No. 20 Northwestern *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Oct. 22||at Indiana *||Bloomington, Ind.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Oct. 23||at Purdue *||West Lafayette, Ind.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Oct. 29||at Illinois *||Champaign, Ill.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|Sat., Oct. 30||at Wisconsin *||Madison, Wis.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|Fri., Nov. 5||vs. Penn State *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Nov. 6||vs. Ohio State *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|Fri., Nov. 12||at Minnesota *||Minneapolis, Minn.||6:00 p.m. CT|
|Sat., Nov. 13||at Iowa *||Iowa City, Iowa||7:00 p.m. CT|
|Fri., Nov. 19||vs. Purdue *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Nov. 20||vs. Indiana *||Ann Arbor, Mich.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|Wed., Nov. 24||at Michigan State *||East Lansing, Mich.||6:30 p.m. ET|
|Sat., Nov. 27||at Northwestern *||Evanston, Ill.||7:00 p.m. CT|
If Michigan can go to 7-1 in conference play this week, they set themselves up for a legitimate run at a Big Ten Championship. The Big Ten is one of the best volleyball conferences in the nation, though, so they'll need to show up every night. A westernish road trip to Indiana and Purdue should produce two victories, but road games are road games. It'll be the following week at Illinois where we see what this team is made of. In their first true road test they fell hard to the Lions. Can they show up and upset the Illini for the second time on the season?
After four on the road, it doesn't get any easier with Penn State coming to town. But with Penn State's losses to graduation this could be the year (last year M took them to 5 sets) that Cliff Keen witnesses a victory over the Nittany Lions.
NEEDS MOAR PAZ
I spoke with Dr. Phillips LB Darryl Monroe today, and he updated me on his status. He's a teammate of recent commit Demetrius Hart, and Michigan recruits S Roderick Ryles, WR Chris Gallon, and 2012 QB Nick Patti.
Monroe is currently committed to Washington State, but as I've said before it's very soft. He has been in contact with the Michigan coaches lately, and will be up soon for a visit.
I just talked to Coach Smith today, and he said he's just waiting to hear back from the defensive coaches. Waiting to hear if they want to offer me. I'll be coming up there probably for the Illinois game. We were all going to come up for the Wisconsin game but Nick told me we might change it, I'm not sure yet.
We'll see when they all decide to come up. It sounds like Michigan has a real shot if they decide to offer. It's hard for Darryl to really analyze anything, and where each school stands.
I want to see what Michigan has to offer from the depth chart, the defensive schemes, the academic side, and the atmosphere. If I go up there and I love it, then it will be on the coaches then. If they offer or not, but we'll see what happens.
He said if he and all his teammates decide Michigan is the best place for all of them, then that would be great. They all need to find the right place for them though. We won't know more until they all take their visit up to Ann Arbor, but it sounds somewhat promising so far.
Avery Walls is a defensive back out of Georgia that Michigan fans are hoping to get. He recently came back from a trip to Cal, and has decided that he's going to take a few more visits before he makes his decision.
I'm going to go to Michigan State, South Carolina, Virginia, and U Conn. Once all my visits are done then I'll decide from there. I don't have a leader right now, because I haven't seen all the schools yet. I'm still evaluating different things about each school.
He recently went out to Oregon and Cal, and said that all the schools he's visited so far have been different in their own right.
They all had a certain mentality about them from the coaches, a certain lifestyle, and a different climates.
I couldn't get a good read from him, so I'm not really sure what to think. We'll have to wait to find out his decision after his visits are up.
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.