"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."
I know this isnt rocket science, but i do think that a lot of our deep throw misses can be attributed to ball control and turnover margin issues. Becasue of early turnovers Michigan has been working in a hole, and loosing the turnover margin means losses to a ball control team. I think the shots downfield that are missed are as bad as turnovers, but since they arent counted as such they still show up on stat sheets as a zero gain play. Confidence is still an issue because of those early turnovers.
Its better to throw a ball with zero percent chance of completeion with a zero percent change of interception then it is to throw a ball that is 50/50, When you are lacking the confidence and are still in the half full mentallity.
my hope is that a few more games with zero bad interceptions will lead to a qb that puts balls closer to that 50/50 and less to the 0/0... there is still something to be said about atempting the long ball enough to where the defense at least has to take the top off the coverage, and harbaugh knows this which is why they are still taking those shots, But i still think at this point not throwing an interception is more important to the staff and maybe to the QB then completing the pass..
LSU 35, Florida 28
Before the season, eight SEC teams were ranked in each major poll – now approximately halfway through the season, there’s only one undefeated team left: Les Miles’s LSU Tigers, who have leaned on Leonard Fournette, a strong offense line, and a characteristically stout defense. After a tightly-contested win over Florida – a classic Miles game that was won on a fake field goal in the fourth quarter – the Tigers look every bit the part of a playoff contender: they face Alabama in three weeks on the road in a game that will likely play an enormous role in determining the SEC West.*
Considering the context, Florida acquitted themselves well. With Treon Harris at the helm in place of suspended starting quarterback Will Grier, the Gators were forced to turn to a quarterback who’d proven to be erratic and ineffective in the past, but Harris played a solid game – especially for a visiting QB in Death Valley – throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Even though Florida was completely unable to establish a running game (31 carries for 55 yards), the Gators put 28 points on the board, though half of them came on an LSU fumble on a punt return deep in Tigers territory and an electric punt return touchdown from freshman Antonio Callaway that tied the game late in the third quarter.
The most appealing game-within-the-game in this high-level matchup was Leonard Fournette and the LSU offensive line against their toughest test in a very solid Florida run defense: Fournette still notched 5.8 yards per carry on 31 attempts, though his longest carry of the day was just 25 yards. The big plays, surprisingly, were provided by a heretofore unproven passing game – a 52-yard flea-flicker to Malachi Dupre set up an early Fournette touchdown and Brandon Harris connected with Dupre again for a 50-yard touchdown in the waning seconds of the first half. Harris still hasn’t thrown an interception this season, allowing LSU even more comfort in their preferred style. The blueprint hasn’t changed for Les Miles: the Tigers want to control the game on the ground as much as possible.
Ultimately, it was a mostly even game – had LSU elected to actually kick the field goal, they likely still would have won – but Fournette again showed why he’s the most impressive player in college football, very possibly its best. Florida, which would have pushed itself squarely into the playoff discussion with a win, still remains in the driver’s seat in the SEC East – they can lock up the division with a win over Georgia this weekend.
*Also at the forefront in the SEC West hunt is Ole Miss. The Rebels may have seen their playoff hopes slip away for good with a loss to Memphis this past weekend, but they still only have one loss in SEC play (to Florida), a tiebreaker over Alabama, and a home game against LSU later this season. Things aren’t looking great in Oxford right now, but they’re in it as much as anyone at this point.
[More footbaw after the jump]
In light of the five FBS coaching changes that have already occurred, I thought I would take this opportunity to go over the attractiveness of each job, a primary candidate for each job, and two secondary candidates for each job. (Disclaimer: The candidates are merely my opinion, not anything official whatsoever, and I limited the coaching candidates to the college ranks). I also took the liberty of predicting which other FBS jobs could be open by the end of 2015. In order to compile this diary, I took some information from coachingsearch.com. Chris Vannini there does an excellent job of posting coaching updates from across all levels of football. If you Twitter, follow @coachingsearch.
Legend for attractiveness of each job:
Hot - One of the top 10-12 jobs in college football, a destination job, high pressure to win
Solid - Still a place you can win at, viewed as destination by at least some, still moderate/high pressure to win
Decent - Middle of the road, not bad, but nothing to get excited about. Could move on if Solid or Hot job opens up.
Fair - Uphill battle. High/mid Group of 5/low Power 5 type job. Ambitious coaches will usually leave this type of job if they can.
Airport - Won't be here for long either way. Win somewhat and you're off in 2-3 seasons, lose big and you're off in 2-3 seasons.
Illinois: Attraction - Decent Job. Illinois on the face has the look of a Solid job, but the fact is there is merely a light recruiting base in the state and the surrounding area; there is not enough competitive talent in the state. The head man will have to raid states like Ohio to round out the roster. There is also little tradition at Illinois. Guys have shown that you can achieve BCS/New Year's 6 success at Illinois as recently as the early 00s and that one run under Zook, so there is hope. For what it's worth it is the first choice in the state, and it's in the unspectacular B1G West.
Primary Candidate: Dino Babers, Bowling Green Head Coach. Babers has history coaching in the state, and took over a bad Eastern Illinois team and turned them into FCS Playoff participants just two seasons later. His offense is modeled after Baylor's Art Briles and has torched many FBS defenses already. This is a hire that would inject some excitment in a primarily stale and tired fan base in addition to just being a smart hire overall. Babers would be 55 at the start of the 2016 season.
Secondary candidate 1: Justin Fuente, Memphis Head Coach
Secondary candidate 2: Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky Head Coach
Maryland: Attraction - Decent Job. Maryland is a similar type job to Illinois, with a slightly better recruiting base in the DC metro area. An ambitious/smart head coach would dive into the Norfolk/VA Beach area, as well. Maryland has also made a BCS/NY6 appearance fairly recently, so there is also hope here; however, the athletic department at Maryland is cash-strapped after numerous mishaps, hence their betrayal of forever home ACC for the moneybags of the Big Ten. Little tradition at Maryland. The new guy will also be competing with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State on a yearly, and Michigan State will be a force as long as Dantonio is there.
Primary Candidate: Justin Fuente, Memphis Head Coach. Fuente took over a dumpster fire at Memphis and has turned it into an SEC-whippin' machine. He would have to do the same at Maryland, but there's potential to do at Maryland what he's done at Memphis. Fuente will be only 40 at the start of the 2016 season.
Secondary candidate 1: Dino Babers, Bowling Green Head Coach
Secondary candidate 2: Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky Head Coach
South Carolina: Attraction - Fair Job. This is an uphill battle. Let's go over some national-championship winning coaches that have, for the most part, failed at South Carolina. Paul Dietzel (LSU), Lou Holtz (Notre Dame), and Steve Spurrier (Florida). Spurrier won the SEC East a grand total of once at South Carolina. Holtz never did. The state of South Carolina does not really have enough competitive talent for two FBS programs, let alone one, and over the past 15-20 years most of the best talent that is in the state is going to Clemson. Clemson has more of a winning history and tradition, albeit a shorter history. The Gamecocks are the second on the block in a weak recruiting state, make no mistake.
Primary Candidate: Tom Herman, Houston Head Coach. Herman would be a great hire for South Carolina. The only question would be is if he would be willing to take on another challenge at South Carolina or really look to build up the Houston program (maybe toward even a Big XII invite?). Regardless, in my opinion this is the guy South Carolina should target. Ohio State clearly misses Herman on the offensive side of the ball and Herman has developed a reputation for being a ravenous recruiter and is doing that at Houston. The South Carolina job requires a sleepless recruiting effort. Make it happen, Cocky. Herman would only be 41 at the start of the 2016 season.
Secondary candidate 1: Justin Fuente, Memphis Head Coach
Secondary candidate 2: Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina Head Coach
Southern Cal: Attraction - Hot Job. Location, winning tradition, self-sustaining, private institution, can recruit via bus or bicycle in the southern California region. Don't feel I need to add much else.
Primary Candidate: Jimbo Fisher, Florida State Head Coach. Predicting the next head coach for a program like Southern Cal is pretty fun. You can make a case for almost any semi-successful head coach in the country, as a program like Southern Cal can get anyone they want. Jimbo Fisher has already done all he can do at Florida State, and with perhaps the most lackadaisical undefeated regular season in history in 2014 followed up by a face plant against Oregon in the semi-final and a similar start in 2015, Fisher may be ready for a new challenge. Fisher has the rock star appeal that would fit in well at Southern Cal and, for better or worse, Fisher's FSU has been in the news almost constantly since he's been there. The man can recruit, motivate, and win on game day, which is what Southern Cal needs most right now. In addition, and this would be just as much a change for personal reasons, Fisher just this summer went through a divorce, after his wife allegedly had an affair with one of his ex-players. So Southern Cal would theoretically allow him to get away and get a new start. Fisher would be 50 at the start of the 2016 season.
Secondary candidate 1: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M Head Coach
Secondary candidate 2: James Franklin, Penn State Head Coach
North Texas: Attraction - Airport. This change went under the radar, and rightfully so. North Texas canned former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney after UNT lost 66-7 to homecoming opponent Portland State. Most will remember Mean Joe Greene as a famous alumnus of North Texas. North Texas has gone through many problems in its history, notably being "demoted" to 1-AA in the late 70s by the NCAA. However, through major donor support, the program re-entered 1-A in 1995 (wikipedia). For what it's worth, UNT is in the state of Texas (obviously) and the institution just opened up a brand new on-campus Apogee Stadium, and has seemingly shown willingness to invest in the program and facilities. However, the next head man here will likely have to come from the FCS ranks and view it as a step up. AD Rick Villarreal stated that he would like the next hire to be "offensive minded" (coachingsearch.com).
Primary Candidate: Matt Viator, McNeese State Head Coach (74-32 in 9+ seasons, 4 FCS Playoff berths, age 52) (wikipedia)
Secondary candidate 1: KC Keeler, Sam Houston State Head Coach (189-81-1 overall record, 3 FCS Championships with Delaware, 5 Division III Championships with Rowan, age 56) (wikipedia)
Secondary candidate 2: Greg Schiano, available (still only 49, but at this point has to take what he can get)
*Likely* Open Jobs:
Central Florida (O'Leary iffy on pretty much everything right now)
Texas-San Antonio (although coachingsearch.com says no)
I'll wait until after the 2015 season is over to see how these shake out. I may do a second follow-up post after the season with more commentary on the open jobs.
After the ClusterPunt debacle with MSU on Saturday, I continue to be in a state of suspended disbelief regarding UM's ranking at #2 as per the S&P+ composite numbers. What's also interesting to note, beside the smattering of teams with 2 and 3 losses in the top 25, is that the upper echelon which U-M shares with Clemson, is separated by about 2.5 points from the next level shared by Alabama & Baylor. The total separation across the top 10 is about one TD, and 2 TD's across the top 25.
Along those lines, Bill Connelly has once again updated the Adv. Stats Profile for Michigan, which of course features a win probability for each of the remaining games. So given that, here's an updated look at the Total Wins Probability distribution:
Mr. Obvious: "WTF! Where's the bell-shaped curve?"
Mr. Smarty-pants: "Dude, it's a Poisson Binomial random process. Take a stats class."
Bill Connelly's model continues to be stoked on that high-octane MaizenBrew Cool-Aid. I'd suspected that UM's statistical profile is some sort of outlier and some regression toward the mean might be anticipated after future games - especially after a loss that saw the defense gouged by Connor Cook, but trying to noodle thing through, the defense allowed only 21 points to MSU's top 40 offense, which is still much better than average, and that gets effectively averaged with the other 6 games. That said, it would seem that U-M's defense is well-established at the so-called "elite" level, and it will take significant and protracted poor performance to revert from that. Same principal would also apply to the offense, I think. Pretty well established at the top 50-ish range.
Oh, and here are the individual game numbers that went into it:
Win Opponent Probability ---------------+------------ at Minnesota 87% Rutgers 98% at Indiana 88% at Penn State 76% Ohio State 71%
The likelihood of beating OSU has declined from 82% last week to 71% now. Sound familiar? OSU once again is taking half a season to remember how to play football while practicing with tomato cans, but will probably have things in order by the time Sparty comes to town, which is good for U-M, because U-M needs OSU to be undefeated when they roll into Ann Arbor.
Mr. Obvious: "That means I'll have to pull for OSU. Maybe I'll just take the Missus out for brunch at the Museum that day."
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
- Sanskrit proverb, ~400 B.C.
So just to get a complete picture of how all of these probabilities impact conference standings and prospects for U-M to win a B1G Championship, here you go:
|* head-to-head tie break winner|
Given that U-M is expected to win each of its remaining games, including OSU, and MSU is also expected to lose to OSU and at Nebraska, that would make U-M the B1G East champion. U-M would also be favored to beat Iowa in that neutral site matchup.
edit: corrections included
Well, college hockey in the B1G kicked off for real this weekend. Much like last year, it looks like the B1G is going to struggle with national prominence. First the results:
Saturday, October 10, 2015
- Michigan State 4 @ Lake Superior 1
- Northern Michigan 3 @ Wisconsin 3 OT
- Ohio State 0 @ Bowling Green 2
- Penn State 6 @ Canisius 1
- Vermont 3 @ Minnesota 0
Friday, October 16, 2015
- Mercyhurst 4 @ Michigan 6
- Michigan State 2 @ Denver 4
- Miami 3 @ Ohio State 2
- Notre Dame 7 @ Penn State 4
- Minnesota-Duluth 3 @ Minnesota 1
- Wisconsin 0 @ Boston College 6
Saturday, October 17, 2015
- Michigan State 0 @ Denver 3
- Notre Dame 3 @ Penn State 5
- Ohio State 1 @ Miami 3
- Minnesota 0 @ Minnesota-Duluth 3
- Wisconsin 1 @ Boston University 4
Sunday, October 18, 2015
- Mercyhurst 2 @ Michigan 3
- Two weeks into the season, only Michigan and Penn St have shown signs of life. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio St are all winless, with all three looking like they're going to have issues this year-- Minnesota with replacing goaltending and upper class talent; Wisconsin with avoiding a death spiral of ineffective recruiting & player development, coupled with a HC on the hot seat; Ohio St being Ohio St hockey. Michigan St only has a win against Lake St with two uncompetitive losses to Denver. Hildebrand's looking vulnerable in addition to the usual MSU lack of offensive firepower. All the bad results from Minn, Wiscy, and OSU being OOC losses to NCHC teams will kill us down the road in strength of schedule calculations.
- That being said, Penn St looks good in context. A split with ND is a respectable showing, and considering their trajectory, this could be a leap year for the Nittany Lions. They have scoring (their PP looks legit), but their goaltending may be a liability. I need to watch them more in person.
- Michigan will probably not have a problem scoring goals (again), but uncertain goaltending and a loose defense will be issues (again). I've seen 2 of the 3 games Michigan has played this year so far in person, and here's to hoping Nagelvoort takes the job and runs with it, because Racine did not look good. I will say that encouraging signs are Nieves seems ready to make a big leap, and the passing against Mercyhurst was much improved over what I'd seen in the past two years.
Early season bottom line
- If you asked me to call it now, I'd say this is going to be a 2 team race for the conference title between us and Penn St, and if we get competent goaltending, Michigan could run away with it.
- I'd be suprised if B1G gets two teams in the NCAA tourney, with the exception of Michigan winning the conference by a large margin, and then a Cinderella team wins the conference tourney. If it's a close 2 team race between Michigan and Penn St for the conference, unless both teams only have losses to each other in conference, it's probably a one bid league.
- In a "damn it" realization, I think it's safe to say the NCHC got the better of the CCHA dissolution, probably even long term. Every single one of their teams except for Western Michigan and St Cloud St have established themselves as national level programs now. Maybe NoDak takes a step back if the coaching loss really was that big, but they're still prominent enough they can absorb a couple down years and regain status fairly fast.
- Hate to say this, but the next two weeks are probably make-or-break for Michigan's at-large dreams. Sweep #11 Union, RPI, and Robert Morris from now through Halloween, Michigan can probably split the BU and still be OK. Lose two of the next four, we may need a Boston sweep to keep at-large dreams alive. Such is life when you're in such a sucky conference.
So MSU may have won the game - I use the term "won" loosely in this context - but as the advanced statistical analyses continue to bear out, MSU STILL SUCKS! So, big deal, you think, they still beat us, and all hope is lost for a B1G Title and any prayer for CFBC invitation. Well, as Corso might say, "Not so fast, my friend!" So without further adieu, here's this week's Advanced Stats Schedule Rundown:
Interesting things to note:
- So quite unremarkably (but I'll remark anyway) MSU would still by an underdog if the game were to be played again. Except, if it were in East Lansing, then Sparty would be a +0.5 point favorite on the FPI scale. S&P+ still loves the beloved Maize'n'Blue. Thus, MSU still sucks, dumb-ass lucky winners that they may be.
- U-M's position in the rankings improved from #3 to #2, maintaining it's hold on the #1 S&P+ Defense ranking, and sliding from #46 to #50 on Offense.
- OSU is now a 2 point favorite on the FPI scale, but U-M is a 9 point favorite vs. OSU on the S&P+ scale.
- Not readily apparent from the chart ... but Iowa remains the favorite to win out in the West, and will in all likelihood be 12-0 going into the B1G Championship game, so I'm including them as a 13th game, in which U-M would be favored should they be not un-lucky enough to make it there.
The bottom line is that U-M is in good position to win it's games between now and when OSU rolls into town, and even now, U-M is poised to make it a very competitive matchup.
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.