My annual retreat from retirement to leverage 15 years of play by play and recruiting data to predict the coming season. All predictions are based off of data. Looking at returning rosters, recruiting rankings and prior year’s performance to feed thousands of simulations to answer your most pressing needs on how things will go this coming season (but never for gambling purposes).
Can’t claim to be an expert about 2016 without exposing the folly of 2015:
Best 2015 picks:
One last time for this pic [single tear emoji]
Pitt - easily cleared their 6 win bar.
Virginia Tech - came two games short of their 8 win over/under and Frank Beamer is playing Headbanz with the grandkids now.
Illinois - no Beckman, no problem. Successfully called Illinois’ over two straight years
Wisconsin - stalled out a win short of hitting the target
West Virginia - Underachieved by a game
Arkansas – ended up winning 6 of last 7 including crazy win against Ole Miss, but the early hole was too much to dig out of.
Worst 2015 picks:
The Pac-12-Called Utah as a fraud and Oregon State as a sleeper. One was in NC contention at one point and the other won two games on the season.
Auburn – Predicted over 8.5 and landed at 6 wins. The Malzahn magic wasn’t there in 2015.
2016 Buy Picks
A lot of low expectations for new USC head coach [surely not Clay Helton]
Maryland, over 4.5 wins – I actually have their mid point at about 6.5 wins. The offense can’t be much worse and Durkin may have struggled with a game plan against Ohio State but was very strong for most of the season. I have a feeling Terps would take quality games against the middle pack of teams on their schedule right now.
USC, over 7.5 wins – I get that their coaching hire was a head scratcher, but this team could be a monster. A massively talented offense with a deep o-line makes over 7.5 wins an easy call for me. Rare for me to see a team project to 9 wins and get them at 7.5.
North Carolina, over 8.5 wins - Nowhere near the easy call that USC was, but still a team that my numbers really like the potential of.
Mississippi St, over 6.5 wins – No one in the SEC took a bigger relative loss than the Bulldogs and Dak Prescott, but a pretty easy non-conference slate and enough other pieces remaining make this MSU a buy.
Texas A&M, over 6.5 wins – Yes the QB situation is a mess, but I think the defense alone can them to 7 wins.
2016 Sell Picks
Boston College, under 7 wins – you don’t lose this
and win 4-5 more games than the prior year.
Utah, under 7.5 wins – Gonna keep predicting this one until it hits!
Cal, under 5 wins – Gave up 31 points to a team projected in the triple digits to open the season. Won 7 games last year with first round QB who is now gone along with the top 6 WRs.
Michigan State, under 8.5 wins – I really don’t take this one every year, just most years. Betting against #disrespekt has had a low payout the last several years but picking MSU this year is purely a pick for Dantonio this year because there isn’t much other data to make them attractive.
Washington State, under 7.5 wins – As much as I would love to be right about the above I’d gladly take being wrong on this one.
Wake Forest, under 5.5 wins –Jim Grobe ain’t walking through that door…
Florida, under 8 wins – Think the defense will be worse, the offense will still be bad and the lucky escapes can’t last forever.
Pitt, under 7.5 wins – Last year I took the over but think this team will reverse course. Two tough non-conference games and a team that doesn’t look to be great on either side of the ball doesn’t seem like an 8 win team to my numbers.
Iowa, under 8.5 wins – Bring it Hawkeye fans!
My heuristic prediction is that the National Champion will be a team that has Top Ten roster talent. Roster talent is the recruiting rankings of players on your roster with upperclassmen significantly weighted in value. I have measured this for 12 years and every year the National Champion is on the list and usually has at least one side of the ball in the top 4. Last year, both finalists were in the top 10 and eventual champion Alabama was 3rd overall and in the top 4 on the defensive side of the ball. This year’s top 10 are:
1. LSU (#1 D)
2. Ohio St (#2 O, #3 D)
3. Michigan (#3 O)
4. USC (#1 O)
5. Florida St (#4 O)
6. Notre Dame
7. Texas A&M (#4 D)
Those teams have a whole range of expectations heading into the season and there are teams outside this list (Clemson) that absolutely have a great shot, but this list is a great place to start.
A side note, somehow South Carolina has 2nd most roster talent on defense this year. It’s going to be the most Muschamp of all seasons in South Carolina.
OK, let’s go. This team is going to be good. It feels like there are a lot of fail safes to protect this team. The linebackers are a huge gap, but there may only be 2-3 games that they are relevant. The two biggest games are on the road, but both teams are facing more question marks than usual this year. Quarterback is still unproven, but Harbaugh. This is a remarkably high floor team.
A lot of the floor is dictated by the schedule Michigan faces. I have Michigan projected as the 8th best team but 44% of my simulations had 10+ wins and Michigan trailed only Florida St and Clemson by making the playoffs in 27% of simulations. I am projecting a weak middle class in the Big Ten this year. Only Nebraska is projected near the level of Michigan and Ohio State and they are off of the schedule in 2016. On the non-conference side, all three opponents are projected in the bottom third of the FBS. The floor, high it is.
This team may or may not be a National Title contender when it’s all said and done, but the opportunity is surely in front of them and the odds of competing aren’t going to get much higher in “Year 3” or some other defined horizon point.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about rainbows is Nyan Cat. In case you don't know about Nyan Cat, it's an extrememly weird video that has been viewed over 137 million times. The video features a pop-tart cat flying through the sky with a rainbow trail. Don't ask why.
Anyway, this week the Rainbow Warriors are coming to town. They don't feature the rainbow colors as much these days (which is a shame), but that doesn't matter to me. I present to you "Nyan Warriors:" an 8-bit wallpaper for game week.
And here's a GIF. Go Blue.
— Joe Sports (@joefedewa) September 1, 2016
[This article was originally published on 8/30. It has reposted to Diaries because apparently a spammer caused a problem where everyone just got a blue screen (NNTBS).]
Welcome back! This is my semi-regular feature where we track the secondary ticket market and tell you when to buy or sell. My credentials for serving as your ticket advisor are I'm cheap and have been scrounging tickets most of my adult life. This does not make me an expert, so I lean on data and other experts.
The method is I check in every few days on TicketIQ (which collates all the smaller markets), Stubhub, and Craigslist (Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit), then post a price per ticket for two or more seats together. Then when I have enough data to say something I check in with our ticket partners at TicketIQ and ask them what the data mean.
One of the things I learned last year is saving a few bucks here or there on 2 tickets is interesting, however I could really save readers some money if I started tracking the group ticket market (4 to 10 people).
Let me learn for a bit longer before I start giving real advice here—historically I have only bought through the Alumni Association (which, $70 on your membership this year is going to save you more than that if you ever go to an away game), or there's that one time I paid face for 10 seats together to watch Denard shred Bowling Green, and wound up selling off the inevitable cancellation/girlfriend is too drunk extras for $10 apiece. No, the people who requested tickets initially didn't feel they should pay for them when they chose not to come that morning. If you're tasked with buying for your group this year, I'm sorry. We here at MGoBlog salute you. Also buy in July or early August. Seth tells you this on August 30th.
[Hit THE JUMP for the beariest market I've ever seen for an Indiana ticket in a bull pen]
There was an interesting Sunday Conversation between some ESPN interviewer and Coach Harbaugh recently. I provide I transcript here for your enjoyment. The best part is the end (though it's all pretty interesting). In this Question/Answer session, "Q" means the interviewer and "A" is Harbaugh, naturally.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
This offseason was rough on my wallpaper creation. Here's the timeline:
My computer decided to die - full fail.
Worked my ass off for my company. Time and time again.
I got a promotion at work and jumped two levels with a pretty nice raise.
Spent some money to fix the aformentioned dead computer.
Got hooked on Destiny for my Xbox.
Watched the Florida game for the 10th time.
Carved out some time for creating a schedule wallpaper.
Determined...somewhat distracted by Destiny...it's only a couple games...NO...determined me.