chance of bowl: 13.6%
I wrote this in another thread, but I wanted to put it in as an OP and let people snipe at it.
I think the rapid scoring nature of this offense makes a lot of aspects of how we think about football distorted and unhelpful, and more importantly this offense makes our defense look, in many ways, worse than it actually is.
Here's my thinking on this:
1) In football each team gets about the same number of chances to score (give or take one posession because of time running out at the end of each half).
2) If one of the teams scores quickly, and often, the other team with a conventional defense will run up big numbers of time of possession and total yards, even if it's not reflected in the score.
3) Michigan's average scoring drive was about six plays and about two minutes long. (By the way, If there is any single statistic that you can take to the bar when you talk about this team, that is it. I have never seen anything like it.)
4) If that kind of efficiency keeps up, the defense against any competent offense (and say what you like about Indiana but their passing game today was outstanding, and their quarterback very good) will get a lot of plays and a lot of time of possession, not only because they want to keep the ball away, but because, frankly, it takes them longer overall to score.
So, the insane numbers being put up by this offense make us reconsider our traditional indicators of a team's effectiveness. Time Of Possession? Throw it out the window. It's a waste. Total plays run? Even that is a little suspect, because Michigan will score in 4-8 and their opponents will need at least a dozen, generally speaking.
The defense on a team with an offense like this like this could actually be pretty good, and still have wildly disproportionate time of possession, as well as running a lot of plays, just because the ball changes hands so many times, and because the offense scores so fast. We do have to look at average yards per play, total yards, and the final score.
I think another useful indicator would be average points scored per drive.
My point is that I thought that the defense did okay today. They shut Indiana down for most of the second half, even though Indiana went for it on fourth down four times. They were putting ridiculous pressure on a quick-release passer with a three man rush, which meant that the line is good, and more importantly, THE ZONE WAS WORKING. The linebackers didn't make we want to die (although Roh, man, that's just mean, put the dude on the line, that has to stop). The crazy assignment errors that we saw in Notre Dame didn't happen. Indiana couldn't get their running game going, and it took a lights-out performance from the best wide receiver we've played against to keep them in the game.
If the "Big 10" conference was considering candidates for further expansion, what other universities would hot prospects?
1) Notre Dame - a perennial favorite as the third university in Indiana and home of Touchdown Jesus. - the only problems are its TV contract with NBC, their independent national schedule, and the fact they may only join if they are force to do so to get a BCS bid without an undefeated season.
2) Boise State - mentioned by Kirk Firenze of Iowa as a good team to add to the Big 10 for football - they would provide another top 10 BCS poll team to the conference add to competition. Problems - would they fit into the big 10 for other sports; will their football team remain prominent or will they dwindle in a few years after these classes graduate and the coach leaves? How many other sports could they compete with other Big 10 teams? Would they be able to handle the Big 10 schedule compared to the Mountain West schedule of lowly teams? Would travel distances be a problem? Do they have a decent airport in the winter that is accessable? Do they have a decent hockey team?
3) Missouri - previously was a center of speculation this summer, but openly denied any interest in switching from the Big 12 to the Big 10 after Nebraska jumped this year.
It would seem Notre Dame would be a no-brainer, but adding just one team might be problematic for the two division organization - so adding at least an even number of teams would make easier for schedule making.
Only other matchup of 2 Top 20 teams next Sat is 'Bama vs SC in Columbia. ABC nite games are USC @ Stanford (both lost today) or FSU @ Miami - Herbie could jet to either location from AA easy. Thoughts?
I absolutely cannot wait to see D Hart in the backfield next year with Denard. As good as this offense is, adding Hart will give us the chance to control the clock and make our playing drives 5 plays instead of 2 to 3.
I have no doubt that D Hart (and probably half his team after they visit for WI) are coming to Michigan, and it is going to make greatness even better... if that is possible. I love this Michigan team.
On another note How important is Tate too this team? I think today really showed it. He came in on 2nd and 2 and we didn't convert when we could have sealed the game. I know he is paying a lot more attention on the sideline now, but today stressed how important it is for him to come in ready to strap it on. He makes the first read correct on 2nd down we would have had a first down and potentially a sustained drive that would have let Denard shake out more of the cobwebs that made the next few possessions ineffective.
Stanford's defense, playing 9 upperclassmen and 2 sophomores on defense (compared to M playing 5 underclassmen, sometimes more and as many as 5 freshmen) gives up 626 yards and 52 points to a spread offense.
Oregon: 626 yards on 80 plays, 7.825 yd/play
Indiana: 568 yards on 98 plays, 5.8 yd/play
Michigan: 574 yards on 45 plays, 12.756 yd/play
Be careful what you wish for...
Well, after the debacle today, USC should fire Monte Kiffin. I mean, his D gave up 31 points and 537 yards to a Washington team that is 66th in total offense and 66th in scoring offense and lost to a 1-4 BYU team. Don't know why USC hired that guy.... [sarcasm]
But seriously, even with all the blue chippers that USC stockpiled during Carroll, USC defense has struggled. Hawaii even shredded them. Could it be the talent or inexperience? (I used Rivals ratings)
Nickell Robey - true frosh CB (4*)
Shareece Wright - senior CB (4*)
Jawanza Starling - sophomore safety (4*)
TJ McDonald - sophomore safety (5*)
Hmm, does this look similiar to some other team that we know?
James Rogers - senior CB (4* WR)
JT Floyd - RS soph CB (3*)
Cam Gordon - RS freshman safety (4* WR)
Thomas Gordon - RS freshman safety (2*)
Jordan Kovacs - RS soph safety (Walk-on)
Even one of the best D coordinators of all time (Kiffin), hasn't been able to turn USC's D into a shutdown unit. Experience is so key in college. Everyone thinks that freshmen, blue chippers, and new starters can just jump in and become All-American players instantly. It takes experience, gametime and in the system, for players to fully blossom. I think Michigan fans should heed this advice as we watch our D, especially young and inexperienced in the secondary, go through growing pains. Monte Kiffin isn't going anywhere, and neither is Greg Robinson.