"(I) think about 'The Lion King,' Simba gets hit over the head and (he's told) 'the past can hurt,' " Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. "'You can either run from it or embrace it and learn from it.'
A lot of the talk early this season has been about the dominant Michigan defense. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the best Michigan defenses of all-time. I have included 8 of my favorites for comparison, but I would love to hear any additional ones that you can add to the list. I also included 5 non-Michigan great defenses for consideration. It was hard to find the same stats accross all eras, but maybe Wolverine Historian or somebody with more skills than myself at gathering stats from online sources can provide some better metrics and put them in a pretty chart. Here's what I've got:
2015 – Def S&P+ rating 5.0 (#1 in the country). They have given up 3.06 yards per play, 6.3 points per game and only 181.3 yards per game. They are on pace to record 6 shutouts for the season.
2006 – Gave up only 43.4 yards rushing per game (1.9 yards per rush), but did give up 268.3 total yards per game (4.4 yards per play). They recorded 3.3 sacks per game.
1997 – Gave up 222.8 yards per game and 9.5 points per game. Did not give up a second half touchdown through the first eight games of the season. They allowed 8.8 yards per completion (FBS record) and 89.0 rushing yards per game. Obviously ended up winning the National Championship.
1985 – Held opponents to 6.8 points per game, including 3 shutouts. One of Bo’s best teams, finished the season ranked #2 and were led on offense by some QB named Jim. Defense recorded 15 INTs and held opposing offenses to 143.4 yards passing per game and 119.9 yards rushing (3.2 yards per rush).
1973 – Held opponents to 6.2 points per game (this was also the year they went undefeated but controversially did not get a bowl game and finished the season ranked #6). This team also recorded 3 shutouts (which were consecutive). Other stats are a little skinny, so feel free to fill in the gaps. #15 all-time defense by SRS.
1948 – In Oosterbaan’s first season, the team recorded 5 shutouts, had the #20 all-time defense by SRS, shutout #3 Northwestern and won the national championship. They gave up a stingy 44 points on the season and were led by Alvin Wistert and Al Wahl. The defense also forced 32 TO’s over 9 games.
1947 – The Mad Magicians! Led by greats Bump Elliott and Bob Chappuis, this was the best overall Michigan team of all-time by SRS. This undefeated team was Chrisler’s last and beat MSU 55-0, Pitt 69-0, #9 Wisconsin 40-6 and #3 USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl. Despite that, they were robbed of the National Championship (rankings at that time were done prior to the bowl games? All hail the modern playoff system!). This team was also revolutionary in that it was the first to embrace the concept of defensive and offensive specialization. Only Bump Elliott and Jack Weisenberger played both ways. They recorded 5 shutouts and gave up only 5.3 points per game.
1940 – The Tom Harmon led team gave up only 4.3 points per team (outscoring teams 196-34). During the 8 game season, they shutout 5 of their opponents, and their only loss was 6-7 to Minnesota on a missed PAT.
1901 – In their first year under Yost, Michigan went 11-0, outscoring opponents 550-0!! They defeated Stanford 49-0 in the 1902 Rose Bowl (the first college football bowl game ever played). This was Michigan’s first national championship and was the first of Yost’s “Point-a-Minute” teams. Michigan’s defense allowed only 7 first downs. Four of Michigan’s opponents never crossed the 50 yardline.
Other great (non-Michigan) defenses:
1971 Nebraska – Forced 4.7 turnovers per game (27 INTs and 20 fumble recoveries). They gave up 12.2 points and 71 rushing yards per game.
2003 LSU – Gave up only 11 points per game, 67 rushing yards per game, 252 total yards per game and 4 yards per play. They also recorded 44 sacks.
2011 Alabama – Recorded 30 sacks and gave up only 9 TDs for the season (and 106 total points). They held opponents to 2.4 yards per carry and 938 total rushing yards on the season.
2001 Miami – Recorded 39 sacks, forced 45 total turnovers, gave up 9.4 points per game, and only allowed 5 total passing TDs. They held opponents to 3.9 yards per play.
1992 Alabama Crimson Tide – Gave up 1.67 yards per carry, 9.2 points per game, undefeated and national champions. 9 of the 11 defensive starters went on to play in the NFL.
Gulo gulo. Link here: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13858243/drawing-conclusi...
Football Outsiders has 2 advanced stats (S&P+, FEI) metrics that become more useful as the year goes by and more data comes in. S&P is play based, FEI is drive based. 6 weeks in S&P generally is pretty useful; FEI won't be released until next week. I post weekly data on our opponents, other Big 10 teams, and other misc teams of note.
Biggest movements in general this week:
- Maryland improved on both offense and defense quite a bit despite the lopsided loss to OSU. They had a low bar to improve from, esp on offense.
- Oregon State's data got demolished due to the disembowling by the flying rich rods.
Note - MSU is not that diff from the mike riley machine on S&P+ stats, yet the 2 teams have completely diff records. Then again if Oregon, Purdue, and rutgers could make 1-2 more plays in the last 2 minutes of a game MSU would be at .500.
S&P+ likes BYU more than MSU on both sides of the ball. Interesting.
Note - Indiana is viewed better on both offense and defense than a "program defining" team like Oregon.
I would nominate this frame to be called "Fist Pump WHAT THE %&!#!"
however since i'm 0-1 today I figured you guy's could probably come up with a better title.