ESPN just updated their 2012 top 150 rankings, and here's where both commits and uncommitted prospects of interest placed:
- OT Arik Armstead - #15 (uncommitted, longshot)
- OT Andrus Peat - #16 (uncommitted, longshot)
- S Shaq Thompson - #22 (uncommitted, Michigan not in top three but still has very outside shot)
- CB Yuri Wright - #40 (uncommitted, M has solid chance)
- OT Josh Garnett - #42 (uncommitted, will likely take official, but could be a tough pull)
- CB Terry Richardson - #67 (commit)
- WR Darius Powe - #86 (uncommitted, M has shot if WR spots don't fill up too quickly)
- OT Jordan Diamond - #103 (uncommitted, M still in decent shape, though late decision could take him off the table)
- OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone - #115 (commit)
- OT Zach Banner - #123 (uncommitted, M in good shape but with a lot of competition)
- OT Kyle Kalis - #135 (commit)
Kalis and Banner stick out to me as being ranked surprisingly low, though with Kalis this may be due to the fact that he projects higher as a guard than at tackle. As you can see, however, Michigan has a chance to round out this class with some really quality prospects.
[Ed-M: If you ignore the obvious derp parts this is diary-worthy]
Here are my takeaways on the MSU/UM game and thoughts moving forward.
1. Gholston - I will start with the elephant in the room. Did Gholston make dirty plays? Yes. Should he be suspended? Yes. Should this be the number one story from the game? No. Do I think Dantonio/Narduzzi teach players to injure opponents? No.
My opinion is that Gholston was super jacked up for a rivalry game and in his warped mind thought that this is what a rivalry game means. He was wrong, he should be punished and I expect him to learn from this. If he continues to make these type of plays he should be gone. That's my take.
For those thinking that Dantonio should have removed him immediately from the game, I think you are crazy. I can't think of any coach who has voluntarily removed a player. Did RRod remove Mouton? Did Carr remove Greg Matthews?. Should Carr have? No. Should RRod have? No. Should Dantonio have? No.
[Ed-M: And there's the derp. I expected both Mouton and Mathews (one 't') to be suspended. Mouton was. If either of those players had a repeat offense during the same game, absolutely you should pull him. Gholston had three such plays, the arm-bar, the punch (the least of them), and the piling-on and facemask twist. He should have been pulled after the second. As I said above, ignore the derp.]
In the heat of the game, coaches don't have ESPN replays and they probably don't even know what happened. Plus, they have a duty to move onto the next play. I just think it is entirely unrealistic to expect a coach to self police DURING the game and unilaterraly remove one of his players.
2. The game is won in the trenches - Nothwithstanding the snap count timing, I still think MSU won the battle up front. This doesn't mean UM isn't "tough", it just means that MSU's patchwork OLine did enough to run the ball. To me, that was the biggest key to the game. I said before hand, if MSU loses it is because they can't run it and UM pressures Cousins into bad decisions. MSU was able to run it and Cousins was clean.
3. 2012 Whooping in Ann Arbor and beyond - I have read some comments from some regarding the whipping UM will put on MSU in 2012. I don't see it happening. You can never predict a year in advance and I'm not saying MSU will win, but I don't see a "whooping". The reason is that MSU will still be better in the trenches next year. We return 10 of 11 defensive starters next year. 9 of 11 if Worthy leaves. MSU's OLine will return 4 of 5 starters and a bunch of injured reserves. Conversely, UM loses its best two DLineman (Martin and RVB) and Molk. IMO, Michigan will not regain the upper hand until Hoke has his OLine and DLine in place. This will probably be 2013 or 2014, not 2012. Here is where I disagree with some UM fans. I think Hoke is a good coach and nobody can dispute that he has recruited VERY WELL. However, some people just assume that MSU will fade into Bolivia (isn't that used on this board) and cede control back to UM. I understand that is what you hope for and expect as UM fans. I get that, but as an MSU fan, I just tend to disagree. I have no illusions that MSU will win 10 in a row, but I feel that once UM gets back on its feet, MSU will stay there with them and go toe to toe.
Why? Because Dantonio has proven he can evaluate and develop talent (especially on defense). This MSU defense is not loaded with 4 and 5 star players. It has a few, but our best players (Worthy, Adams, Rush) were 3 star recruits from Ohio that Dantonio will continue to get. Others (Darqueze Dennard and Trenton Robinson) were 2 stars. My point is, even when Hoke gets his guys, I expect this to still be a hotly contested rivalry, not an ass whipping like it has been the last 4 years (in our favor) or the last 40 years (in your favor).
4. Gardner and Denard - I said before the year that I would have rolled with Gardner because he is the future and he has the tools to do what Borges wants to do. TO HIS CREDIT, Borges put his ego on the backburner and went with Denard running mostly RRod's offense. It's easy to criticise after a loss and call for Gardner, but MICHIGAN IS 6-1!!! If Gardner were QB, what would their record be? My guess is 5-2 at best (a loss to ND). With that said, I never felt this would be a championship year for UM and it would better to gear towards the future (i.e. Gardner). However, it is a difficult and delicate decision. It would have been disingeniuos by Hoke to brink Denard back with the promise he was his QB and then ship him off to WR/RB/Slash. Now that UM is 6-1, I think Hoke would be a fool to switch to Gardner. UM (even with its warts) is still capable of winning the Legends division with Denard at the helm.
5. MSU v. Wiscy&Nebraska - Of course I desperately want to win against Wisconsin on ESPN under the lights. BUT, if I could play "let's make a deal", I would take a Wiscy loss for a Nebraska win right now. Beating NEB would ensure that we hold the tiebreaker over NEB and UM and we would control our own destiny.
Looking at the offensive FEI rankings today...
...the absense of dominant offenses like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon from the top 10 is striking. The presence of teams like Miami (YTM), Baylor, Texas A&M and Notre Dame is equally striking.
We know that FEI normalizes by discounting points scored in garbage time/pile-ons. But does this, in the end, unfairly punish teams for being dominant?
I see where they were coming from in putting the metric together, but does anyone actually think Notre Dame's offense is better than Oregon's? Miami's (YTM) better than Oklahoma's? A&M's better than Oklahoma State?
This is a problem IMO.
[Ed-M: diary bbbbbump]
Back in August, MGoUser "Undefeated dream season of 1992" did this fabulous diary on predicting a team's FEI rankings using previous seasons rankings and combining it with regression to the mean, returning starters (and bonus to an offense for bring a quarterback back), coaching change, and Rivals star rankings over the previous three recruiting cycles. This model predicted that Michigan's offense would settle in at #16, down from #2, and the defense would move up from #108 to #71.
Here we are after Week 7. The first set of FEI rankings specific to offense and defense have been released. Our Wolverines are ranked #15 on offense and surprising #17 on defense. The offense is right where UDSO92 predicted it would be (well, one spot higher). However, how did Michigan so dramatically improve on defense when it was only supposed to jump up to around #71, especially considering that the model has generally found that coordinator changes generally have a negative affect on the defense? Let's look at what UDSO92 himself had to say at the time:
One year is not definitive (except in the case of GERG, natch); in fact, a team that woefully underperformed the previous year could look great just by rebounding the following year.
What exactly were the expectations of the Michigan defense in 2010? The 2010 defense was predicted by the model to finish 46th. GEEEEEEEEERG indeed. Futher, over the period of 3 years, Michigan's defense underperformed by a whooping 37 positions of FEI. Now while this might not be an empirically correct thing to do, let's assume for a moment that we can adjust Michigan's 2011 FEI expectation. Let's say that perhaps Michigan was an exception to the general rule that changing coordinators hurts your defense in the immediate season, just because of how horrendously poorly the defense appeared to have been coached. Using this idea, Michigan's predicted finish of 71st can be improved to 34th (the difference of the 37 positions) by removing a product of the underperformance (GEEEEEEEEERG). Considering the previous seasons projection, the fact that Michigan has a good recruiting profile, along with 9 returning starters, this seems like a reasonable enough projection.
The rest of the increase up to 17th, while it may be an early season abberation, is quite possibly due to the fact that our new Greg, Greg Mattison, is not only a good coordinator, but an excellent one and is not a stuffed animal waving lunatic. Now, had someone tried predicting this at the beginning of the year, they certainly would have been called crazy. However, I figured it would be nice to throw out that little bit of overperformance as some actual evidence that not only was the previous coaching staff bad at coaching defense, but that the current one is good (based on the fact that they are overperforming their expectation).
That being said, the offense is exactly where it was figured to be, so despite our disappointment over the MSU game, let's remember that it was the first real road test (Northwestern was not a hostile crowd), and against FEI's #5 rated defense.
Let's take a look at the 7 opponents Michigan has faced thus far to see how they rank compared to our teams performance against them.
|Team||Michigan Yards||Avg/play||Opp Defense (FEI)||Opp Yards||Avg/play||Opp Offense (FEI)|
And now for what we'll be up against the next five weeks after we return from a bye.
|Team||Offense FEI||Defense FEI|
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Also, mods, if you want, please move this to diaries if you deem it worthy. I would put it there myself, but I typed the whole thing out on the Board and can't copy for some reason. So I'm just gonna post it here. Move as you deem worthy/not-worthy.