"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."
Penn State did a very good job of being almost exactly what we thought they were by the numbers outlined last week. MSU, Indiana, Maryland, rutgers very much fell in line as well - the two exceptions this Big 10 season were Northwestern which underachieved defensively and Minnesota which overachieved on offense vs what the numbers would tell us.
Let's hope OSU underachieves on both sides of the ball after we take a 10 pt lead early and all those NFL prospects worry about keeping their health for the draft.
Let's see what OSU is good at (top 30ish nationally) and not so good (80th or worse) using NCAA stats.
By the way FEI advanced stats show UM and OSU offensive and defensive units as almost completely identical.
Things OSU is Good At
|Sacks allowed / game||33||1.45|
|3rd down conversion %||25||33.1%|
|Passing yds Allowed||5||164.3|
|Red zone Defense||23||76.0%|
|Sacks / game||14||2.9|
|Misc / Special Teams|
|Kickoff return defense||5||16.2|
|Punt return defense||18||3.5|
Remember that high flying offense that was young and peaking in late 2014 and could only get better in 2015 with almost everyone returning and was going to rip thru college football and set records with a bevy of NFL players?
Not so much.
If you had given me this list of strengths on (virtual) paper and asked me to discuss the 2015 OSU team I would reply "a typical Tressel team - great on special teams and defense, and will run it down your throat all day." Uhhh....
OSU's offense is among national leaders in a whopping 3 things. This despite playing a bevy of nondescript defenses. Based on OSU's SOS their NCAA stats on offense should be thru the roof while their advanced stats suffer a bit as they are adjusted for quality of competition... but nope. Even in the more forgiving NCAA stats the only place we find them is completion %, rushing offense, and sacks allowed. (Editor's note - if you only watched last week's game, yes OSU does throw the ball more than 6x a game so that completion % is not based on only 42 throws all year as you'd surmise). UM happens to be good at rush defense - it would be better with a Glasgow (sigh) [hello Mone?] but theoretically OSU's strength is UM's strength. Stalemate we hope.
Meanwhile OSU's D is pretty good - scoring D and total D is among the nation's best. That said, they they have faced a bevy of nondescript offenses. MSU and Indiana's were the only 2 legit offenses outside of maybe Western (?) they played this year. And they faced both with injured QBs!! (Sudfeld went out late, and Cook never played). Hmmm
What was shocking about that game last week was Sparty's OL dominating the LOS vs OSU DL. Coming into the year MSU was supposed to have a very good OL but injuries had surpressed that - they were finally healthy and it showed. But still one did not expect "that" - OSU's DL looked hapless for long stretches. Unfortunately UM's OL is not of that pedigree so we will have our normal issues running on OSU - expect Peppers, end arounds and the same short passes t the flat we used on PSU as substitutes for runs. OSU also appears to have a very good pass D ... and they pressure the passer. Granted Nassib was out the whole game and Jake did get hit hard a few times but coaches seemed to find ways to offset pressure vs PSU, and our OL while poor in run blocking usually does a solid job in pass protect. So maybe not such a huge advantage for OSU there. But hey lets stop with the false starts ok UM OL?
After weeks of looking at awful opponent special teams I was a bit taken aback when perusing OSU's. Finally a Big 10 team that actually has some damn good units. UM has not faced an equal in this department almost the entire year. UM has used short fields to score many many TDs this year, so that might not be the advantage we are used to this week. And our recently suspect coverage teams need to be at top alert.
Things OSU is Not so Good At
|3rd down conversion %||82||37.6%|
|Red zone Offense||95||79.5%|
|Misc / Special Teams|
OSU's passing offense is suspect. That should have been apparent last week when OSU's coaches didn't trust it. A survey of 11Warrios the past few days shows OSU struggling very much with the things Jake struggled with the first 60% of the season - the downfield pass. OSU also stinks in the red zone which is in direct contrast to UM. So hopefully we hold them to FGs down there. This has become a tired bit but like PSU, OSU fumbles the ball quite a bit - but UM's D does not like creating fumbles. We are dead last in the nation at 1 fumble recovered. And have been stuck there for months.
OSU's D does not suck at anything.
The one way this version of OSU varies from Tresselball is TOP. An advantage UM might be able to exploit.... if it can get any damn running game going.
Overall maybe none of this matters on Saturday ...."throw out all the numbers!" ...but if it does matter there are definitely areas to exploit and UM's D might have a way more favorable matchup than many assume - if we can stop Elliott from becoming Jordan Howard.
The repercussions of MSU winning this past Saturday in Columbus have seriously effected prices for The Game on Saturday. Last week tickets in Section 23 were mostly above $700/each. Earlier this morning they were starting at $325/each. I just checked again and you can get some really good seats in Section 23, row 43 for $280 (I am not selling them BTW).
Of course this still beats last year's game against Maryland when I saw seats as low as $37/each in Section 23. We will never see that price again (Harbaugh) but the prices for this weekend are coming down to almost face value (seat + PSL).
MLive had a story yesterday on this that almost seems out of date today:
As we get closer to the end of the football season (noooooooo) we enter the heart of recruiting season. So I'll post one of these every so often as enough information changes to make a new post worthwhile. We had a very nice interview with Lorenz 2 days ago that helped clarify a lot of things.
Just for fun I did do one of these mid summer entitled "Way too Early Edition" - I always like to keep track of how foolish I look.... and who we thought the hot names at the time were.
Here is my framework
- Lorenz indicated Michigan has now signaled they have 27 spots (not 28 as we all assumed)
- Various peeps with premium access say we will grayshirt here or there, so I made some projections with that in mind
- We will have attrition from our current 21 recruits, so I took best guesses and knocked out 3. That knocked current class down to 18.
- I grayshirted 1 player. That knocked down class to 17* (grayshirt is still part of class but doesnt count against scholarship until January).
- My new commits are based on "most likely" within reason and based on momentum; of course things change weekly in that aspect.
My projections leave the class with 27 immediate scholarship and 2 grayshirts = 29 players which yield a 247 score of 285.25. That would have been 5th overall in 2015.
Section 1 deals with current commits - who is staying and who is going. And who is going to open a spot by grayshirting. I listed us with 17 immediate scholarships and 1 grayshirt - with 3 decommits. Will discuss below chart.
|Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk||Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk|
|OL||Ben Bredeson||37||ATH||Chris Evans||328|
|QB||Brandon Peters||78||LB||David Reese||553|
|OL||Michael Onwenu||90||ATH||Kiante Enis||634|
|CB||Sir Patrick Scott||663|
- Guessing on a grayshirt is hard to do. Half a year at UM for an out of state is still $12K or whatnot so I don't know how many kids families - esp in economically challenged spots - can afford this. Maybe they can financial aid. But a full ride elsewhere could always be the easier route. So I didn't want to put 3-4 grayshirts like some assume, so I am simply going with Josh Metellus as a guess.
- As for the 3 decommits, David Reese seems the most likely for multiple reasons. He wants early entry, all the crystal ballz of late have him to Texas, and we are recruiting a ton of LBs still.
- Chris Evans I put there because he was visiting Purdue. Now maybe that means nothing and he wants to visit school friends there. But I needed to make spots in this class for new kids and I think the staff really likes Weaver and Johnson so I have only so many kids I can eliminate - he was one.
- Kiante Enis - the quote in this week's roundup from Ace makes me feel like UM is "pulling a Stanford" on him where begin to lack communication with commits they don't especially want in a class (personally I don't love this methodology but it is what it is). I don't buy the reasoning some has offered that everyone is too busy and not one staff member can find 10 minutes in his day once a week to give a shout out to Kiante. If you want a guy you recruit him non stop even post committment which in this day and age means little. So hearing he has talked once to UM in a month has me thinking he will be replaced.
- Antwaine Richardon impressed coaches in a camp setting on a bum knee so I have him staying in the class; however maybe someone like he or Sir Patrick Scott could be bumped out of class if David Long, Lavert Hill and Chris Brown all want in. But I have them both in the class at this point.
Section 2 is who we will land and who we will miss on. This is based on trying to reverse engineer - obviously these things can change on a dime. I cheated here a bit by saying Quinn Nordin will be part of the class and decommit from PSU and go to UM despite having to pay out of pocket for a semester. That's a bit of a stretch but he is a Michigan kid and hey Harbaugh or Franklin for 4-5 years? So I have 11 commits which takes us to 29 total... 2 grayshirts.
|Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk||Projected||Pos||Name||Ntl Rnk||Projected|
|DL||Rashan Gary||1||UM||TE||Isaac Nauta||9||GA|
|RB||Kareem Walker||34||UM||ATH||Mecole Hardman Jr||21||GA|
|OL||Terrance Davis*||62||UM||LB||Caleb Kelly||23||OK|
|DL||Jordan Elliott||98||UM||CB||David Long||66||Stanford|
|CB||Lavert Hill (PSU)||136||UM||LB||Jeffrey McCulloch||73||Texas?|
|DL||Keyshon Camp (USC)||188||UM||DT||Boss Tagaloa||82||UCLA|
|LB||Devin Bush Jr||230||UM||OL||Jean Delance||92||Texas?|
|WR||π Young**||388||UM||WR||Dylan Crawford||94||Oregon|
|LB||Jonathan Jones****||415||UM||WR||Donnie Corley||118||MSU|
|DB||Chris Brown*****||710||UM||LB||Dontavious Jackson||119||Texas?|
|PK||Quinn Nordin*** (PSU)||>1000||UM||ATH||Jordan Fuller||124||OSU|
|*||Delance gets this spot if he wants it||DL||Levi Onwuzurike||273||?|
|**||Crawford gets this spot if he wants it||TE||Jacob Mathis||313||UF|
|***||Cramming Nordin into class via grayshirt||WR||Eddie McDoom||390||UK|
|****||McCulloch, Kelly, Jackson get this spot if any want it||WR||Velus Jones (USC)||420||?|
|Long gets this spot if he wants it||LB||Khaleke Hudson||593||WV|
Comments on Projected "YES"
- DL guys: Gary, Elliott, Camp are UM's 3 targets per Lorenz. We all know the Gary story - UM vs various and sundry SEC folk. UM seems to be the leader. Elliott got 2 major crystal ballz yesterday in Lorenz and Ace; concurrent with DL target Chris Daniels to Oklahoma. He will be here this weekend - momentum seems to be building. Last, Camp is coming to UM on an unofficial - that takes money and shows seriousness; he'd be a USC flip. He has a HS friend on the team as well in Jones.
- Walker - could be a silent committment at this point; 17 of past 18 crystal ballz to UM; he even wore a UM towel which is a clear signal this is 102% guaranteed. UM is not seriously recruiting another running back either.
- UM wants Delance as they want to add an OT. Davis is a guard. Lorenz indicated if UM gives green light to Davis he will accept and come to Michigan. So this is a waiting game on Delance. So that spot could be either OL guy - I went with the sure thing but its a coin flip at this time.
- Hill is a long rumored PSU flip - his brother plays on the team and he has been to UM 5x this year and apparently 0 to PSU. Maybe - just maybe - UM is slow playing him as they think they can get another corner ala David Long? I don't know - I also wouldnt risk that as some think he will flip to MSU with HS friend Corley if not to UM.
- LBs - hard to predict with a lot of moving spots and I assume 2 open spots. I gave them to Bush Jr who is probably 50/50 with UM v FSU and Jonathan Jones who like Davis has been a "UM lean" for half our adult lives. I suspect Jones is possibly being slow played while UM sees if it can land a Dontavious Jackson type. I imagine we'll get 2 LBs - but which 2 (Kelly, Jackson, Bush, Jones) is an unknown. We'll probably know a lot more about Jackson's prospects after this weekend, Bush will be at UM Dec 11th. If Jones suddenly commits to Notre Dame that may actually be a good thing for UM as it might mean he has received word we don't have room for him as someone else "silently" took his spot.
- UM wants Dylan Crawford but Crawford has said Oregon is his dream school and they recently offered. So it's a battle for his services - if he says yes, we get him and we are done. If he says no guys like McDoom, Young, Jones are next in line - I went with the sure thing in Young as he seems like he would say yes tomorrow if given the green light.
- I projected a 2nd corner - while I would love for that to be David Long who is a Stanford commit who really liked his UM visit, I went with Chris Brown (NTCB) who is a Texas v UM battle. If Long says yes that obviously takes Brown's spot unless Lavert Hill is rated lower on UM's internal board I guess. Or 1 of our current commmitted corners is bumped out of the class.
- I slipped in Nordin as a grayshirt as noted above - it's a reach to assume that.
[this photo has nothing to do with the piece but it needed more photos so this one works for me]
Comments on Projected "Misses" not mentioned above
- Hardman Jr has pushed back his committment to NSD. That only helps UM. But right now I assume Georgia until we see a flurry of crystal ballz change. Hopefully he is a signing day shocker.
- Nauta - see Hardman. He apparently loved his UM visit and this offense is built for TEs but until we see some tangible movement I assume Georgia.
- Caleb Kelly it's been pretty quiet here - some people think its 50/50 UM v OK but not a single crystal ball has turned UM's way. If that changes at some point he would seem more viable but hard to project him for UM right now.
- David Long seems like a 50/50 with Stanford v UM. Of everyone in this group of "misses" he probably (?) is the most likely to be in the UM class
- Guys like McCullouch, Tagaloa, Fuller are sort of just guys out there UM likes but until there is more significant movement on their part hard to put them in the class.
- I think Donnie Corley has been a silent MSU commit for a long time - so "he gone" Dec 8th.
- Connor Murphy is interesting from the family connection to Harbaugh - I think he has an official scheduled in December (?) [could be wrong] but hard to find a spot for him if we take 3 DTs (Gary a DT/DE hybrid]
- Onwuzurike is a guy no one seems to know anything about - he must be very quiet. But same issues as Murphy in terms of room in class.
- One problem with my class projection is it only has 1 TE - and a lower rated if athletic one at that. With the season Florida is having I see it as difficult to go to Jacob Mathis at last minute if Nauta falls through and say come to Michigan, you were always #2 in our hearts but we want you now ... but crazier things have happened. I want to put 2 TEs in this class somehow but it might be just 1?
If you have any other good links to share, please do. We still have 72 hours until The Game which is entirely too long IMO.
Go Blue, Beat OSU!
Sad story coming out of Columbus today, as following one of OSU's traditions to jump into Mirror Lake the week of The Game, which is done by thousands of students each year, one of the students suffered a cardiac arrest and after being rushed to the hospital, passed away. Even though we're always rivals on and off the field, we can acknowledge that some things transcend football and, as shown last week with the Chad Carr stickers, we are still one human family.
Prayers go out to the Buckeyes and especially the family and friends of this student.
Edit: Update: OSU has said it will cancel the Mirror Lake jump tradition.