chance of bowl: 13.6%
It may not be a block buster, but it is football. I will be rooting for Temple since Miami is in Ohio. Also Al Golden is a rumored outsider to fill JoePa's shoes after the 2034 season.
It actually makes me feel even more confident in the future of this program under Rich Rod when I see the trolling going on here by fans of other teams wanting and encouraging the dismissal of RR. The fear level of our opponents is climbing even with things still not firing on all cylinders. When we field a midling defense in the next year or two there is going to be a lot of crying in the Midwest....I doubt they will come back here and admit it though.
Thank you kind trolls for your fear----it brings warm feelings to my heart.
College Football News compares "Player A" and "Player B" and says the Heisman race should be closer than people are giving credit for should Michigan pull off the upset over OSU.
Player A’s résumé: 1) Ranks third in the nation in rushing. 2) Ranks second in the nation in total offense. 3) Is the first player in the history of college football to be in the 2,000 passing-yard, 1,500 rushing-yard in one season club. 4) Is 16th in the nation in passing efficiency. 5) Has completed 63% of his passes with 16 touchdowns, ten interceptions, and averages 6.8 yards per carry with 14 touchdowns despite missing a good portion of several games hurt. 6) He has accounted for 3,767 of his team’s 5,660 yards, or 67% of his team’s production.
Player B’s résumé: 1) Ranks ninth in the nation in rushing. 2) Ranks tenth in the nation in total offense. 3) Is 203 rushing yards away from being the second player in the history of college football to be in the 2,000 passing-yard, 1,500 rushing-yard in one season club. 4) Is second in the nation in passing efficiency. 5) Has completed 68% of his passes with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions, but ten of those scoring strikes came against Arkansas State, ULM, and Chattanooga. He averages 6.3 yards per carry with 17 touchdown runs. 6) He has accounted for 3,335 of his team’s 5,557 yards, or 60% of his team’s production.
I hope Denard at least gets the recognition of being invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony for having one of the greatest seasons in the history of college football.
Here's this week's update to The Michigan Difference, updated with stats from this week's games.
Another bipolar game against Wisconsin. The final offensive output was pretty good, but the defense couldn't stand up to their rushing attack. We remain #5 in Total Offense (TO) and are now #112 in Total Defense (TD).
Disclaimer: The NCAA stats are not linear, of course, and a difference of 1 yd/gm can be a large or small difference in rankings depending on how closely spaced everyone is. So as I cautioned, this isn't a hard-core statistical exercise. This analysis is pretty one-dimensional because it's long and complicated enough as it is.
I think the greatest value in this is to look back at the early games and see how well we did in comparison to what other teams ended up doing against them - what seemed like a good or bad performance at the time may look different in retrospect.
Part the First: Offense
We know our offense is great, but what kind of damage has it done to the Total Defense (TD) ratings of our opponents? Here they are thus far:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Yielded||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
What would these guys' defensive stats look like if they hadn't played Michigan?
|Opponent||Total Offense, M||
Opp. Avg - M,
M Total Offense,
*Opponents' average Total Defense yards per game, minus the Michigan game
**Michigan's Total Offense in game as a % of the opponent's average TD minus the Michigan game
Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin's defenses really wish they hadn't played us. They'd be in the top 20 nationally but for one game. Michigan has gained above our opponents' average yardage yielded in every game thus far, and their Total Defense rankings have suffered as a result. What's the damage?
|Opponent||TD Rank With M||TD Rank Without M||Difference|
Average change in Total Defense ranking for all opponents: -10.1 places.
Looking at the offensive performance versus the quality of the defense:
There is little correlation between Michigan's Total Offense for a game and their opponent's average Total Defense (minus M). Whatever is limiting our offense's output in a game, it is not directly related to the number of yards the opponent usually gives up. This would suggest that the offense tends to be limited by itself, rather than the opponent.
Part the Second, Defense
So the flipside of this, then, is how much has our defensive suckitude helped out our opponents stat sheet? Where would they rank in Total Offense without having played us? We'll run the same tables again, but from the opposite tack:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Gained||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
Wisconsin is easily the strongest offensive team we've faced thus far. The results of the game show that. MSU was pretty good, the rest varying degrees of average to bad.
|Total Defense, M||
Opp. Avg - M,
Opp Total Offense,
% of Opp Avg - M**
* Opponents' average Total Offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
** Opponents' Total Offense as a percentage of their average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
Here's a nifty graph of our opponents' Total Offense against Michigan, versus their average Total Offense per game without the Michigan game:
In this case, we do have a reasonably good correlation. Our defense does worse against better offenses. That would suggest that we're talent-limited somewhere (either coaches or players) and the opponents' offenses tend to have their way with us. In other words, our defense doesn't shut anybody down. The more yards our opponents average per game, the better they'll do against us.
|Opponent||TO Rank With M||TO Rank Without M||Difference|
Average boost to opponents' Total Offense NCAA ranking: +5.9 places
From this perspective, the Wisconsin game was our 4th worst defensive performance of the year. As bad as we looked, three other games were worse. We were up against a very good offense, and it showed.
Part the Third: Summary
Michigan's O Difference
on Opp TD Ranking
Michigan's D Difference
on Opp TO Ranking
|Connecticut||-12||+1||W: Good O, OK D|
|Notre Dame||-15||+11||W: Good O, Terrible D|
|Bowling Green||-20||0||W: Awesome O, OK D|
|Indiana||-8||+14||W: Good O, Terrible D|
|Michigan State||-1||+10||L: OK O, Terrible D|
|Iowa||-8||0||L: Good O, OK D|
|Penn State||-4||+6||L:Good O, Bad D|
|Illinois||-22||+9||W:, Awesome O, Terrible D|
|Purdue||-1||--1||W: OK O, OK D|
|Wisconsin||-10||+9||L: Good O, Terrible D|
In subtly maize-and-blue graphical form:
New observations for this week:
Many of our previous opponents had good weeks offensively, making our defense look a bit
betterless bad in those previous games.
- Wisconsin is easily the best team we've faced yet. Offensive and defensive performances were close to mid-pack, but we got our butts kicked.
- Our offense remains impressive and will keep getting better.
- Our defense is terrible and had better get a lot better.
- Winning is still a lot more fun than losing.
In the comments section of the Wisconsin edition of my Almanack of Broken Records, Comrades Raoul and BigHouseInmate pointed out that Denard may have broken the single-season Michigan record for all-purpose touchdowns with 30 (16 passing, 14 rushing). Michigan does not actually track this particular statistic; instead, M tracks touchdowns scored (i.e., who actually carried the ball into the endzone). That record is held by Al Herrnstein, who scored 26 touchdowns in 1902.
So I had to go back and look at individual season statistics to compile the data. I actually went through the game-by-game accounts of the 1901-1905 seasons from the Michigan Alumnus in order to get accurate information about touchdown statistics in the Fielding Yost Point-A-Minute era, and reviewed old NCAA research on pre-1937 touchdown statistics. It's possible that there are other pre-WWII players that I've missed.
According to the stats I've been able to find, Robinson is indeed out front with 30 all-purpose touchdowns. On a per-game basis, Denard at 2.73 per game is second only to Tom Harmon, who scored 23 touchdowns (including a kickoff return and an interception return) over 8 games in 1940, for an average of 2.88.
It is unusual to be able to compile all-time records for a particular category, because modern football statistics only really came into being in the 1940s. But TDs and scoring are two of the few categories that we can measure from the pre-modern era, making Denard's achievement all the more impressive.
Here is the table, sorted by touchdowns per game, with a cutoff of 1.60. Remarkably, the 1901 team had three separate players score at that pace:
|Name||Yr.||Pass TD||Rush TD||Rec TD||Kick TD||Int TD||TD||G||TD/G|
|Tom Harmon, LHB||1940||7||14||0||1||1||23||8||2.88|
|Denard Robinson, QB||2010||16||14||0||0||0||30||11||2.73|
|Tom Harmon, RHB||1939||6||13||0||0||1||20||8||2.50|
|Rick Leach, QB||1978||17||12||0||0||0||29||12||2.42|
|Al Herrnstein, RHB||1902||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||26||11||2.36|
|Steve Smith, QB||1981||15||12||0||0||0||27||12||2.25|
|Chad Henne, QB||2004||25||2||0||0||0||27||12||2.25|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1904||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||20||9||2.22|
|Drew Henson, QB||2000||18||2||0||0||0||20||9||2.22|
|Ron Johnson, RHB||1968||0||19||0||0||0||19||9||2.11|
|Steve Smith, QB||1983||13||10||0||0||0||23||11||2.09|
|Elvis Grbac, QB||1991||25||0||0||0||0||25||12||2.08|
|Chad Henne, QB||2005||23||1||0||0||0||24||12||2.00|
|John Navarre, QB||2003||24||0||1||0||0||25||13||1.92|
|Rick Leach, QB||1976||13||10||0||0||0||23||12||1.92|
|Steve Smith, QB||1982||14||9||0||0||0||23||12||1.92|
|Desmond Howard, SE||1991||0||2||19||2||0||23||12||1.92|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||20||11||1.82|
|Bob Chappuis, LHB||1947||15||5||0||0||0||20||11||1.82|
|John Navarre, QB||2002||21||2||0||0||0||23||13||1.77|
|Elvis Grbac, QB||1990||21||0||0||0||0||21||12||1.75|
|Tom Brady, QB||1999||20||1||0||0||0||21||12||1.75|
|Neil Snow, FB||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||19||11||1.73|
|Bruce Shorts, RT||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||17||10||1.70|
|Chad Henne, QB||2006||22||0||0||0||0||22||13||1.69|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1902||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||15||9||1.67|
(EDIT: I added Bob Chappuis' 1947, Ron Johnson's 1968, and Bruce Shorts' 1901 seasons to the list, and added the offensive positions that each player filled. Note that Shorts scored 17 TDs as an offensive lineman: now those were the days!)
The NCAA FBS (I-A) single-season record is 63 touchdowns, by Colt Brennan of Hawaii in 2006 (58 passing, 5 rushing). The per-game record is 5.0 in 1990, by David Klingler of Houston (55 TDs in 11 games).
The FBS single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is 27, by Ricky Dobbs of Navy in 2009 (in 14 games). The season record for most touchdowns scored (i.e., excluding TD passes thrown) is 39, by Barry Sanders in 1988 over 11 games.
Tim Tebow is the only player to have both thrown and run for 20 touchdowns: in 2007, he threw for 32 and ran for 23. (Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan threw for 27, ran for 19, and caught 1 in 2007.) Cameron Newton may join this 20/20 club in 2010; he has thrown for 21 TDs and run for 17, with three games left.
The Michigan career record for most touchdowns scored is held by Yost-era legend Willie Heston, with 69 from 1901-1904 (the Michigan record book lists Heston at 72 TDs, which is incorrect according to my game-by-game tally). The record for most all-purpose touchdowns is held by Chad Henne, who threw for 87 and ran for 3 (for a total of 90) from 2004-2007. If Denard plays through his senior season, there is a realistic chance that he could break Henne's record. (EDIT: I changed this from the previous version, which incorrectly cited Heston as the all-purpose career leader.)
Here is the team photo of the all-time great team of 1901, courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library. Al Herrnstein is the right-most player in the front row. Neil Snow is the second from the left in the middle row. Willie Heston is right-most in the middle row. Fielding Yost is in the center of the back row. The "501-0" football that captain Hugh White is holding reflects the fact that this picture was taken before the team beat Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural Rose Bowl game of 1902. The lopsided score so disappointed Rose Bowl officials that they didn't hold a second Rose Bowl game until 1916.
Words fail me. I cannot even imagine even OSU wearing these. Now I hope we win just because their uni's are so ugly they hurt my eyes.