"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
It's really not too hard to see Michigan in the playoff.
The assumptions are the top teams win out over lower teams, except in these cases:
- the Big 12 round-robin lose to each other and they also do not have a championship game
- Memphis drops 1 on the road at either Houston or Temple
- OSU beats MSU, then Michigan in turn beats OSU
Results: Bama loses to #2 LSU; OKST loses to #8 TCU; FSU loses to #1 Clemson; Michigan jumps 2
Results: Iowa loses to #7 Michigan; Florida loses to #2 LSU; Utah loses to #5 Stanford; Michigan jumps 3 IN THE PLAYOFFS
|Why am I here?|
|3||Stanford||12||-||1||won PAC12, beat #6 Utah|
|4||Michigan||11||-||2||won B1G, beat #3 Iowa and #3 OSU|
|5||Iowa||12||-||1||Just lost to Michigan|
|6||Florida||11||-||2||Just lost to LSU|
|7||Utah||11||-||2||Just lost to Stanford|
|8||Ohio State||11||-||1||Just lost to Michigan, didn't win B1G|
|9||Notre Dame||10||-||2||Just lost to Stanford, independent|
|10||Michigan State||11||-||1||Just lost to OSU that just lost to Mich & didn't win B1G|
|11||Baylor||11||-||1||Lost 1 in Big 12 which sux & has no playoff|
|12||Alabama||10||-||2||Lost to LSU, didn't win SEC|
|13||TCU||11||-||1||Lost 1 in Big 12 which sux & has no playoff|
|14||Memphis||11||-||1||American conf with 1 loss|
|15||Oklahoma State||10||-||2||Lost 1 in Big 12 which sux & has no playoff|
|16||Florida State||8||-||4||Lost 4|
Because we beat #3 OSU and #3 Iowa back to back we are in! The rest of the teams either lost their championship game or did not play one.
Every year I put together a composite B1G schedule to hang on my office wall. I started the 2016 version this morning. In doing so, I came up wiht a couple interesting notes. Next season begins the 9-game in conference schedule. Each team drops a non-confernece game to play another team out of their B1G Division. This allows Michigan to finally play Wisconsin for the first time since (it seems like) the late '70s.
Speaking of Wisconsin, if they don't get off to a faster start next year they could be in a world of hurt. They open with another SEC big boy then, after a couple cupcakes, play back-to-back games in the State of Michigan, followed by OSU and a trip to Iowa CIty.
Michigan's schedule (again) features the big rivals on the road, but we get PSU and Wiscy at home early.
There aren't many key out of conference games, but the key ones are:
Wisconsin vs LSU at Lambeau, Ohio State @Oklahoma, Penn State @Pitt, and Nebraska vs Oregon
I sure don't want this season to end, but on the other hand, I'm ready for the future to see how good we can be.
Sandwiched in between #16 Florida State and #18 Ole Miss.
EDIT: Can mod delete this? Meant to post to the board.
EDIT 2: Since this is being left up for some bizarre reason, let's get to some actual analysis and compare some resumes.
Humans love to argue. We pay lawyers obscene amounts of money to argue for us because we're not good at arguing. Click bait sites generate "discussion" by posting "controversial" articles or arbitrary rankings of things that are entirely subjective. Last night, the College Football Playoff Committee transformed into Bleacher Report's wet dream. They ranked 25 college football teams in order of, I dunno, bestness or something. Aside from the obvious elephant in the room (pun absolutely intended because nobody from Alabama gets puns and so it doesn't matter), Michigan was ranked for the first time ever (except in Brady Hoke's fever dreams), coming in at #17. But, what does that #17 really mean?
What criteria did the Committee use to rank the teams? Strength of schedule is a factor, apparently. Top 30 wins might be too. Why the Top 30 and not the Top 25? The Committee wants to create controversy, man. Shake up the establishment. Why can't we have a Top 27?
Look at the programs on either side of Michigan. Florida State at #16. Ole Miss at #18. Is there an argument to be made for Michigan to be higher than the 'Noles or lower than the school with a horrible, racist mascot that's a remnant of one of the darkest period in American history.
I think this calls for a chart.
|VS. TOP 25||0-0||1-2||2-2|
|BEST WIN||UH, MIAMI||NORTHWESTERN||BAMA|
Florida State has one loss to a 3-6 Georgia Tech team. Michigan and Ole Miss have two losses a piece. Michigan lost to the committee's #7 team and its #12 team. Ole Miss lost to the committee's #10 team and it's #13 team. Clearly, the committee values losing less games even if your 2 losses are better than the other team's 1 loss.
But, wait, if that's the case then why is 1-loss Alabama and 1-loss ND ranked ahead of undefeated Michigan State? Is it quality of wins? Alabama's best win is #19 Texas A&M. State's best win is, sigh, us. Alabama's 2nd best win is Wisconsin. Their 3rd best win is Georgia or Tennessee. Is that difference between Wisconsin and Georgia vs. Oregon and nobody so great that it warrants Alabama at #4? Or maybe it's SOS. Alabama has the 9th ranked schedule and State is in the low 50s (all SOS #s from Sagarin).
Then, wait, if SOS and quality wins trump the # of losses, then why is Florida State ranked ahead of Michigan and Ole Miss? Michigan and Ole Miss have a better SOS, better top 3 wins, and their 2 losses are way better than Florida State's one loss.
Michigan is ranked #17 and that's nice, but at this point, it's no different than the ranking in the AP or Coaches Poll. The Committee is another arbitrary body that uses a vague methodology or no methodology at all to rank the 25 "best" teams in the country. The only difference is that their poll actually matters.
Here's the Advanced Statistics Schedule Rundown for UM as of the end of Week 9, with the inclusion of Iowa as a 13th game should UM be so fortunate as to wiggle into it. The chances of Iowa making it to Indy in December are far greater than UM's, but as long as UM's chances are greater than zero, I'm showing it. I'll be looking into win expectations and B1G-wide outcomes in a separate diary, but I'll wait until after the Committee posts its rankings to get into that, since the CFPSC has a say in B1G results in certain tie-break scenarios, as I'm sure most of you are aware.
So without further adieu, here's the embiggable chart:
Despite squeaking by Minny last week, U-M's position in the various ranks has held up quite well in the aggregate. The defense is still the best in all the land in S&P+, and #2 in FEI, and surprisingly, the offense actually improved it's rankings in S&P+ and FEI. Making efficient work of a short field still counts for something, but the damned Special Teams keep thwarting any opportunities for working long drives!
Speaking of which, Special Teams are the story of this season, and as Harbaugh mentioned in yesterday's presser, U-M's ST's are the best in the nation (openly acknowledging that the advanced stats are a thing). The cautious optimism associated with the Baxter hire last winter has evolved into a salty swagger. It would be the ultimate troll if say, once the game were well in hand, M punted on first down to Rutgers, and then buried them in the endzone for a safety, just because U-M could conceivably do that at will. Would that be considered impolite or running up the score? Comparing last year to this year, it's a more stunning difference than just night & day. It's more like dark-side-of-the-Moon & sunny-side-of-Mercury. What's more is this hasn't been something that's been slowly progressing. This all started with that first punt against Utah, and Peppers first return. Then there was the Chesson KOR versus NWU ... what a thing of beauty to see those blocks and his route laid out there right in front of my eyes. It's the most remarkable thing of this team, IMHO, even more than the defense, which I admittedly take for granted as being a U-M birthright.
Anyway, getting back to the chart... Overall, U-M declined from #2 to #3 in S&P+, #7 to #10 in FEI, #2 to #4 in F/+, and #15 to #18 in FPI. Whereas U-M has held its own or shown marginal improvement in the unit ratings, what's more important are the relative ratings of U-M's remaining competition, particularly PSU and OSU, who have by-and-large improved by a much greater degree. Although S&P+ still shows U-M as the favorite in all its remaining games, the margins have eroded (last week's chart can be viewed here). FPI shows U-M as a home dog versus OSU. Oh yea FWIW, U-M would still be favored over Iowa in the B1GCG.
Yours in football - Go Blue!
Please refer to the week 6 diary for additional external sources & references, as well as how to interpret the color scheme if it's not completely intuitive for you.
Michigan put together a good drive right after halftime, capped by a nice run by Jabrill Peppers out of what I'm pretty sure I heard the announcers refer to as a "wild wolverine" formation - aka the wildcat.
The play starts fairly normally, with Rudock under center and Peppers in the backfield. However, after pointing at a few members of the Minnesota defense, Rudock motions outsite of the numbers, leaving Peppers in the shotgun with Chesson, Butt and Williams to his left. Minnesota has 4 down lineman (the standing DE ends up in a 3 pt stance before the ball is snapped) and 3 defenders over Michigan's 2 tight ends and 1 receiver bunch.
Or if you prefer:
After the snap Cole and Glasgow pull to the left, while Williams blocks down, Kalis cuts a DT and Magnuson tries to occupy a linebacker. I think Darboh is supposed to get the safety to his side, but he doesn't quite get there. Doesn't end up mattering. Braden gets pushed back a bit and harasses one of the DTs who pursues the play, irrelevantly. The weakside DE is left unblocked, and he'll chase the entire play. Rudock actually occupies a defender as well, respecting a throwback or something, which puts the math in Michigan's favor.
Michigan now has 4 blockers ahead of the ball carrier (Chesson, Butt, Cole and Glasgow), which ideally will account for the 4 unblocked defenders. In the next shot you can see that Williams has guided his new DE buddy almost to the endzone (and might be getting away with something of a hold).
Things don't go quite as they were drawn up. The middle linebacker (labelled #4) comes inside of the DE Williams is manhandling and first Cole and then Glasgow both go for him, Cole more effectively. Butt goes outside and blocks the guy Chesson is working on, but I think he's expecting Peppers to follow him towards the sideline. Instead, Peppers cuts it up and the defenders marked #1 and #2 above are unblocked. He's got some work to do.
The first guy (Minnesota #31) squares up and tries to tackle, but his attempt barely slows Peppers. Next up, the MLB that Cole and Glasgow went after comes in and gets his arms around Peppers (who's now secured the ball with two hands). The DE that Williams has been battling with starts to come off his block and tries to impede Peppers' path. The final unblocked guy (#1 in the diagram above) overruns the play slightly, and tries to swipe at the ball as the pile crosses the plane.
All to no avail. Touchdown
[Ed(Seth): Standard bump]
Best: Falling Back
In addition to Saturday’s game being on Halloween, it also fell on the last day of summer daylight savings time, when we set the clocks back an hour. Colloquially, people call that “falling back” an hour, so you get another hour of sleep (well, for those of us without little children who apparently rise and fall based 100% on sunlight and morning cartoons) in exchange for earlier nights.
For so much of this game, it felt like UM was falling back into the old rut that had formed around the program for nearly a decade. For years now, UM has shown an uncanny ability to fall apart as the season progressed, playing down to competition and letting one loss mushroom into more as the leaves and clocks changed. Last year it was letting understandable losses to Utah and Minnesota submarine a game against Rutgers and, later, Maryland. The year before it was blowing a winnable game against Nebraska following a demolition at MSU, which followed extremely close calls to UConn(!) and Akron(!!). I won’t dredge up the RR years, but you can look up those late-season horror shows if you want. And after the gut-punch that was MSU, UM fans probably shouldn’t have been as confident in a smooth bounce back by the Wolverines.
Certainly, Minnesota looked the part of a pushover. The Gophers, down Jerry Kill at the top and a bunch of skill players from last year’s team, had stumbled into the game, losers of 2 of their last 3, including blowout losses at Northwestern (27-0) and to Nebraska (48-25). They couldn’t really run the ball or pass it (take it away, Jim), had a defense that was scuttling a bit after being the bedrock for the team last year, and generally looked like a team that was playing out the string. But it was also a night game, deep in the heart of Jerrysota, and it was being officiated by B1G refs, which meant that absolutely nothing should be expected to go the way it looked on paper.
On UM’s first drive, Jake Rudock threw an ill-advised shovel pass to Peppers that was picked off, giving Minnesota solid field position that they used (with the help of another recurring element of this game, bat-sh!t crazy passing plays by Minnesota, this one a falling-down 31-yard catch by the receiver between three defenders) to score a FG. Even though UM scored TDs on their next two drives, Minnesota just kept hanging around, scoring another FG and began to stymie the UM offense, forcing a punt and a fumble on consecutive drives. And they continued to have amazing luck in the passing game, with Mitch Leidner completing a 52-yard TD that was both behind and inside his receiver in tight coverage, who then made Jarrod Wilson miss and scored. Minny took a lead into halftime thanks to another nutters long reception, a sure interception that Dymonte Thomas instead volleyballed into the air, for a late FG, and UM was struggling to run the ball (45 yards at HT) or really get anything going in the air (after starting off reasonably accurate, Rudock was completing a bit over 50% of his passes for about 6 ypa).
[Hit THE JUMP to see how many straws we can grasp (hint: one)]