well that's just, like, your opinion, man
So I was playing my favorite older video game recently, Left 4 Dead 2, and as I was slaughtering the endless horde of zombies, it got me to thinking about how the zombies from the game can be compared to Michigan’s football schedule this year, with each type of zombie representing an opponent we faced or will face.
For those of you that haven’t played L4D2, it is a 4 player co-op zombie survival shooting game that takes place in a world overrun with an infection that turns everyone into zombies. Aside from your traditional run-of-the-mill zombies, the infection has turned some zombies into special infected zombies that have various powers and abilities. In L4D2 there are 8 types of mutant zombies and 5 varieties of uncommon zombies. The zombies in the game actually match up very well with Michigan’s schedule for 2012, as you’ll see below. (Author’s note – yes I know that in the game they’re called “infected” not zombies, but zombies sounds better and it’s Halloween so deal with it)
Alabama: The tank.
The tank is the toughest zombie in the game. It is enormous, strong, and extremely hard to take down. Think the Incredible Hulk if he were a zombie. That is Alabama in a nutshell, the NFL team playing in the NCAA. Bama is an unstoppable dominating force, and unfortunately unlike the tank, we can’t throw Molotov cocktails at it to slow it down.
Air Force: The jockey
The jockey is a zombie that is small and annoying. It gets it’s name because it hops on your back and steers you into trouble, such as right off of a ledge. Air Force is also small in size, compared to other football squads, and having to prepare for their triple option is annoying. Also, having this game right after Alabama was Dave Brandon’s way of potentially steering us into trouble.
UMASS: The common zombie
Common zombies are easy to kill, dispatched with one well placed bullet. Baby seal of 2012 UMASS was this, extremely easy to dispatch.
Notre Dame: The smoker
The smoker is a zombie that ensnares you from a distance and slowly chokes the life out of you. This is what ND’s defense does, choking the life out of its opponents. Also, watching Denard throw 4 straight interceptions slowly choked away my will to live as well.
Purdue: The clown uncommon zombie
The clown is an amusement park clown turned into a zombie. It is the stuff of nightmares, with a big red clown nose, but the same level of defense as your ordinary common zombie. This was Purdue this year, a team that had the appearance of maybe being scary, but in reality had no defense. Plus the clown nose reminds me of their coach’s mustache.
Illinois: The hazmat suit uncommon zombie.
Just like the clown zombie, the zombie in a hazmat suit is just a regular zombie with a goofy appearance, but once again no defense above a common zombie. There are three reasons I liken this zombie to Illinois’ football team this year. The first is because the hazmat suit makes the zombie fireproof, something Tim Beckman probably is since it is his first year. The second is that the zombie has no defense, just like UI football. And last, the hazmat suit is a good metaphor for UI football in general, because you need a hazmat suit to deal with the stench that is the Illini this season.
Michigan State: The charger
The charger is like Juggernaut from X-Men, it will batter into you over and over. MSU RB Le’Veon Bell is the charger in a nutshell, a human battering ram that MSU uses to run over their opponents. Fortunately, MSU didn’t use him to batter us down as much as they used him earlier in the season.
Nebraska: The boomer
The boomer is a zombie that pukes all over you, attracting other zombies to rush you in a horde. When Denard Robinson got hurt playing against them, I totally wanted to puke myself. Plus, Nebraska’s blitzes that swarmed our backup QB Bellomy are similar to the horde rush that happens in the game when the boomer hits you.
Minnesota: The construction worker uncommon zombie.
The construction worker zombie has earplugs in, so he cannot hear things that would otherwise draw the attention of normal zombies. Minnesota is normally a team that would barely draw our attention as well, so I thought this was fitting. Hopefully Denard will be healthy so that we can crush MN just like one would easily dispatch this zombie in the game.
Northwestern: The hunter
The hunter is a zombie that can pounce on you and trap you if you are unsuspecting and do a lot of damage to you if you are not prepared. With Northwestern’s crazy offense, this game can be a trap for Michigan as well as NU can put up a lot of points on us if we are not prepared for them.
Iowa: The riot gear uncommon zombie.
This zombie was a riot gear wearing cop that turned into a zombie, making him much harder to kill as he is bulletproof from the front, but he has just as much offense as your run of the mill common zombie. This is Iowa this season: a better than average defense coupled with an extremely weak offense.
Ohio State: The witch
The witch is a zombie that is extremely powerful offensively, capable of taking down your character extremely quickly if you are not able to take her out first. That is Ohio State this year, a powerful offensive attack, but not their customary strong defense from years past. When I was originally outlining this post, before the Nebraska game, I was going to also allude to how the witch can be gone around and ignored while you still reach your objective (the Big Ten title game) but now that we’ve got a loss against Nebraska we have to go through Ohio State as opposed to around it, which is more dangerous.
Ok so that was what I was thinking as I was playing L4D2. Happy Halloween everyone, I hope you enjoyed reading!
Obviously any player can get hurt at any time in football since it is a violent sport, this is not even couting the non-contact injuries that happen. However, I don't really think about injuries when I am watching a game. It doesn't enter my mind since 99.9% (just making that up, no real stat) of the plays do not result in a serious injury. So when I read Al's comment today in the DetNews regarding Gardner's prep:
"He's got to do it now because you don't know what's going to happen. Denard's gonna be OK, but who knows what's going to happen next time."
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121031/SPORTS0201/210310334#ixzz2AslU1jCT
I feel the need to crawl back under the covers. Knowing that Denard getting hit or simply falling down might take him out of the game will make viewing the game a less than pleasurable experience. I normally reserve the strong stuff for rivalry games just to calm the nerves, but I am not sure what I will need to resort to now with this new and exciting game of elbow roulette.
Does this information change your game experience or is it just the same? Interested in hearing about the board's coping mechanisms.
I saw that Tom VanHaaren had posted these via twitter and thought that everyone might appreciate seeing them. Stribling looks like a really great athlete and definitely flashes a lot of greatness. In his reel are several leaping interceptions, a couple a return TDs, a few catches and rushes, and even a Woodson-esque strip and recovery when he had been beaten for a reception.
Offense and defense rankings based on total numbers and straight averages can be misleading at times. If a team plays opponents with strong rush offense but weak pass offense, the team's pass defense stats might look better than what they really should be. This is something Michigan was being accused of due to the fact that much of our "bad" defensive games came against strong rushing teams (Alabama and Air Force).
One way to mitigate this "effect" would be to not look at the totals and average numbers, but compare the game output against the average output the opponent has produced against all opponents. This produces numbers that show you how good your performance was compared to all other team that your opponent has played. It is more useful comparative method than using just total numbers.
So, exactly how does it work?
Here are the stats for Michigan so far this year:
|Opponents||Rush Net Total||Pass Yds Total||Total Yds||Pts||Avg Rush Total||Avg Pass Total||Avg Total Offense||Avg Scoring Offense|
|Average All Opp||145.1||145.9||291.0||17.3||196.0||194.7||390.7||27.5|
|Opponents||Avg Rush Off Diff||Avg Pass Off Diff||Avg Total Off Diff||Avg Scoring Off Diff|
|Average All Opp||-24%||-24%||-26%||-39%|
The first four columns of stats represent the actual stats from the game played against Michigan. The second set (of four) columns are the average output of that team against all opponents this year. The
last set (of four) columns second table are the differences in percentage of actual game stat versus the total year averages.
As you can see from the table, Alabama produced their average offensive output against Michigan while Purdue and Illinois barely produced about half of their normal offensive output.
By averaging all of the averages, we find that our defense is reducing our opponents' normal offensive output by about 25%, while only allowing only 61% of their normal scoring output.
Sounds pretty good, but how does that compare to rest of NCAA?
I didn't have enough time to calculate the differential averages for every team in NCAA, but I did the analysis for top 10 Pass/Rush/Total defensive teams and all of Big Ten (plus ND). I did not include stats against FCS opponents. Here it is ranked by total offense differential.
Few things that stand out:
- Alabama, LSU, and Florida St defense stand above the rest
- Michigan and Michigan St defenses stand above the rest of B1G
- Michigan is pretty good at both run and pass defense
- Ohio St pass defense is HORRIBLE!
- BYU defense is much better than I thought
- Many of the defenses highly ranked in one (pass or rush) only because they are so horrible at the other (I am looking at you Arizona St, Stanford, Nebraska and Oregon St!)
- Notre Dame is living on borrowed time - their scoring differential is MUCH higher than what rest of the defensive differentials would indicate
I do believe converting straight up numbers to percentages makes it much easier to compare between pass/rush and between different teams. I hope most of you find this useful. If I get enough upvotes, I will do the same analysis for offense as well.
This will be the first time sharing a wallpaper with MGoBlog. I have made a few in the past but only shared with family, who of course all bleed Maize & Blue. Hope you all enjoy.
I wanted to go with a history theme for the Minnesota game. I know as of recently there has not been much of a rivalry between the two schools, Blue winning 19 of the last 20 meetings. Minnesota has had its streaks in the series as well and the history of the jug is intriguing to me. I chose players for the wallpaper based on personal preference of course but also because each was a great at their own time. I added a subtle little "pass & catch" order to the players showing that the honor of winning it has been passed from Team #30 down to Team #133.
In the last 5 years, I've made it to every Big Ten school (and ND) for an away Michigan Football game. As you’ll see, the Nebraska trip was quite unique. I hope Nebraska fans that visit Ann Arbor leave with an equally positive experience when they visit us.
Putting aside the Wolverines for a moment, the Nebraska football community is no doubt the most prideful, classy, hospitable and kind (in my observation anyway) of all B1G teams. While they don't have a decades-long history of matchups with other B1G football programs, I don't think they would change much if they did. They would still be a great example of how a fanbase is supposed to support its football program and welcome visiting fans.
Below are examples of how they do things:
- Checking in to the hotel (Fairfield Inn – not fancy), the hotel manager offered to give us his number in case we got lost while exploring downtown Lincoln. (Come On Man, I Have A Smartphone)
- Friday night, while at dinner, several groups of people stopped at our table, welcoming us to Lincoln and wishing us luck the next day for the game.
- After dinner, at a campus bar, students went out of their way to welcome us to Lincoln and say "Good luck tomorrow" with a smile. (This is when I start thinking Where Am I?)
- On the walk back to the hotel Friday night, a group of ladies stopped us on the sidewalk and said greeting visiting fans is always a highlight for them and it is "like seeing a celebrity". (Now thinking: Is This Just A Well-Executed Prank?)
- Saturday before the game, we walked all around the stadium and nearby tailgates for about 7 hours. This part deserves sub-bullets:
o About 75% of tailgate parties we walked by asked us to stop and chat with them. 50% offered us food or beverage.
o One tailgate we decided to stop at was run by Tommie Frazier. Yes that Tommie Frazier. His name is on the stadium. Not knowing who he was (all he said was "I used to play here"), we talked to him for about 15 minutes, discussing the ongoing stadium renovations, where various campus/athletic buildings were located, where the best tailgates are, etc. The only reason I know that he wasn't just another guy with a tailgate is because as we were saying goodbye, the Nebraska gymnastics coach walked up and said Tommie's name aloud.
o Another tailgate lot we walked through had all the party buses and RVs in it. A converted school bus stood out as a great piece of fandom and as we were walking by, the door flung open and we were invited inside to drink beer and watch the early games. We sat there for about an hour, totally spontaneously, and shared stories about how both teams think they would have demolished the other if they had played against each other in 1997.
o The last tailgate lot we walked through ended up being about a 3 hour stop. Our plans to go to a bar for pregame dinner were abandoned. One guy demanded we have a blue jello shot with him from the batch that he made in honor of Michigan. A few parking spots away we did several shot-skis. We accepted invitations to eat food from several different grills and slowcookers. All the discussions taking place in these three hours were about football and beer. No taunting or yelling or animosity or complaining of any kind. I never heard a negative remark about either team or their corresponding players. I was in a sea of red and I wanted more. (Is This Real Life?)
- During the game, a Nebraska fan sitting opposite the aisle from us bought us a Runza (a baked pastry filled with meat) from the vendor walking the aisles (yes they have those). He didn't speak a word to us the whole game except when he said "Welcome to Lincoln, this [Runza] is for you" while indicating it was a local delicacy of sorts. It was delicious. (I Didn't Know I Wanted That, But He Did)
- After the game, our section was among the last to file out due to the gate location, and the Nebraska fans walking down the steps with us were interested to know if we enjoyed our time in their city despite the ugly game. We said yes, and they wished us safe travels home.
It got to the point where the sincerity and hospitality were equal parts overwhelming and humbling. I highly recommend you visit this place. I'm still wondering if everybody that visits has such a great experience or if I was just lucky. Either way, this is how Football Saturday should be. I'll likely cheer for Nebraska whenever doing so doesn't conflict with cheering interests that are advantageous for Michigan.