Some time ago I wrote a diary summarizing the wins and losses in the Hoke era. After reading that Michigan is 3-7 in the last 10 games, and 10-11 since Denard went out in the Nebraska game, I thought that it would be worth revisiting the data. Here they are:
First, the losses:
- Most of the losses are away (9) or at neutral sites (3), with only two at home (2).
- In most losses, M has been the underdog (11), with the exceptions being 2011 @Iowa, 2013 @Penn State, and 2013 Nebraska.
Next, the wins:
- 20 are at home, 6 away, 1 neutral win (2012 Virginia Tech)
- None of the away wins are against good teams: Northwestern (x2), Illinois, Purdue, Minny, UConn
- We have two wins in games in which we were not favored (2013 @Northwestern, 2011 ND)
The biggest letdowns:
- 2013 Akron: -34 difference between the line and the final score
- 2014 @ND: -27.5 difference
- 2013 @MSU: -17 difference
- 2013 @Uconn: -15 difference
- 2012 Alabama: -13.5 difference
The best performances (final score vs. the spread):
- 2011 Minnesota: +38
- 2012 @Purdue: +28
- 2011 Nebraska: +24.5
- 2012 Illinois: +20
- 2013 CMU: +18
Take-aways: things are getting worse and there is not much in the way of signature wins. The lows aren't as low as the Rodriguez or late Carr era, but the highs aren't very high. Here's one way to visualize the state of the program under Hoke: cumulative win percentage (click to embiggen):
Not sure we can look past a MAC opponent - even one that was the worst last year - after this week's Big 10 results, but skipping ahead to Utah, some disturbing things have come out in their game versus Fresno St. Let me throw the caveat out that Fresno State was destroyed by a sort of ho hum USC team the prior week. I watched almost all of the USC-Stanford game and it was a very sloppy affair and after drive 1 when USC marched down he field they did little. But they blew up Fresno State... as did Utah. Reading a few box recaps it sounds like the 1st team offense and defense left mid way through the 3rd quarter with Utes up 38-7.
Again Utah last year beat Stanford (a team good in the trenches), lost to Arizona State by 1 (a team that was 2nd/3rd best in the Pac 12 last year) and lost by UCLA (4th best in the Pac 12) by a touchdown - all at home mind you. They dont do well on the road. But they "only" lost to Oregon (with a 70% Mariota) by 23 in Eugene last year as well. Held Oregon to about the same # of points as Sparty did. Transitive theory and all that.
But here is the scary food for thought - defense seems quite legit based on last year's data points and what they did to a baby seal:
- The Bulldogs finished with 55 rushing yards after posting 157 yards in a 52-13 loss at USC.
- The Utes recorded seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
- Fresno opened the game with an 8-yard pass completion. And then the Bulldogs’ next 14 plays netted minus-6 yards. The result was five straight three-and-out sequences.
So there's that.
After a game like last night its easy to complain and bitch and point out what went wrong, but pointing out the solution is another thing entirely. It took me a while to calm down but now that i took time away and went over the footage again (which was painful) i noticed some things i did not really think of in the moment or was too mad to stop and think and others that were obvious.
1. The Refs/Camera crew were extremely biased. More plays should have been reviewed and were not and the camera crew actually purposefully skipped the replay entirely or did not zoom in on the angle for better view. All these were in favor of ND.
2. ND was extremely lucky on a couple of plays that could have shifted momentum, specifically the muffed punt return that was recovered.
3. Our O-line wasn't as bad as it may have looked. From what i can tell they have definitely progressed as run blockers and regressed a little in pass protection.
4. The RB's either have below average vision or are being coached up and told to go always with the planned gap.
5. ND's D-line is legit and deserved the game ball.
6. Jake Ryan is being wasted at MLB it negates his abilities and Frank Clark is just average.
7. Our WR's are legit but do not get the ball, which leads to the final point.
8. DG has not progressed much. He still doesn't throw the ball away when he should and worst of all he doesn't progress in his reads or recognize the hot route pre-snap.
Obviously 1 and 2 cannot be fixed but i thought they were worth pointing out in partly explaining the lopsided results and the perfect storm that it really was last night. The rest i do not know what to think. We definitely have more talent this year but I am not sure its all being utilized correctly or being coached up the way it should be. I think Hoke has to win at least 9 games this year and either MSU or OU have to be in that 9, i hope he pulls it off and proves us wrong. Sorry for the length and formatting this is my first thread and i just had to get this off my chest.
So apparently there was a big game this weekend against a big rival. And apparently I watched it because I have this large hole in my heart where my love for Michigan used to reside. Perspective is big right now as I just got home after my 2 month old got out of the hospital after getting meningitis. But Michigan football is my escape and this was more like a sentence than an escape.
It was a strange game in that, outside of the two kicks and late INTs there really wasn't anything bad that truly stood out. No major breakdowns anywhere. Just a game where everyone played just ok. No big plays, no separation from receivers, not much from the D line or defensive backs. Just a lot of mediocre play through out.
One position question that seemed to be answered for me though was running back. I just like Smith a lot more than Green at this time. While Green didn't do anything bad, like fumble, he didn't do anything extra. Although, I felt like he missed some cutback lanes when he ran into the line. On the other hand, I saw Smith make a couple plays that should have helped out. One early in the game when he ran behind a great block by kerridge and trucked a pledger to pick up an extra 3 yards. All these extra yards.
The other play was one where the line broke down and let 5 players in the backfield. Somehow he turned a 3-4 yard loss into a 1 yard gain and almost broke out big. I know there's a lot that needs to be done to get this team on track, but I think this is a choice that can help this team a lot. I also thought Hayes did a good job on 3rd downs. I'd like to hear if anyone else had similar impressions or why I'm of the mark.
So there's some games on today. The Lions don't play until Tomorrow night, so they can't disappoint me.