spoiler alert: i linked this
SBNation has a fantastic take on the hype videos put out by terrible teams (thankfully Michigan is not featured here - these teams were worse).
Slow Jams for Sad Teams, the honest college football hype video mix
Michigan's field goal kick to secure OT against Northwestern puts the 'ish' in 'OTish'.
I’m not touching the play call itself. Most of have pretty strong feelings about it. Criticizing a failed play in hindsight is usually a pretty lazy thing to do, but Michigan has a set of plays this year that have a firm history of no success and should never be run in critical situations.
But what about the decision itself to go for the 1st down. In the situation there were two possible choices and two possible outcomes for each.
|Kick the FG||Success/Failure|
|Go for the 1st||Success/Failure|
Each choice has an associated odds of success and each outcome has a resulting win odds.
Kick The FG
The safe, NFL worthy decision would have been to kick the field goal (“Take the points,” because field goals are never missed). In a low scoring game this probably gets you to overtime and there are no guarantees you get another chance or that you can take advantage of it. The downside is that with about 5 minutes to go, you are opening the door to give Northwestern the ball with plenty of time to drive the field and run out the clock.
A successful field goal means kicking off in a tie game with about 5 minutes left. In this situation, the team kicking off wins about 46% of the time. A made field goal would have made Michigan a slight underdog.
In the fourth quarter of close games, college kickers make 94% of field goals from inside the 5 yard line. Those are pretty good odds, but still a 1 in 16 chance that the kick is missed or blocked. A missed kick would have given Northwestern the ball at the 20 and dropped Michigan’s odds of winning to 23%.
Go for the First Down
Picking up positive yardage has been a challenge for Michigan the last month. Had they been able to convert for a first down their win odds would jump up to 70% (74% with a touchdown). Still plenty of time for a Northwestern touchdown, but definitely putting Michigan in the driver’s seat.
The failure to secure the first down left Michigan with a 34% chance at victory. Far from over but a lot of leverage on the play.
The Break Even Point
A field goal attempt would have given Michigan a 45% chance at victory once the small chance of a miss or block is factored in. With 70% odds with a first down and 34% odds if they failed to get the first down, Michigan would need to be able to have at least a 30% chance of success to break even on going for the first down. Michigan has had its troubles on offense but a 30% break even point is a low bar. 3rd or 4th and 1’s from inside the 5 are converted at 57% historically. So even if Michigan was half as likely as an average team to convert it still would have been an even decision with kicking the field goal.
If the numbers seem too high or too low there are a couple of follow up dynamics in play. A failed fourth down would have left Northwestern with the ball and the lead late. Coaching history as taught us that this is a recipe for most coaches to curl up into a ball and try and ground out the clock and if they’re lucky get a first down or two. Because of this often failed mentality, giving the other team back the ball with a lead can be more valuable than giving them back the ball with a tie where there is some pressure to push forward.
I think this was absolutely the correct decision to go for the first down in the situation even if the “execution” was less than ideal.
[Moved to Diaries to keep folks informed]
[Update 11/13: Todd Howard is confirmed]
[Update 11/7: Talked to some former players, who are going to try to come. A lot of guys coach so if the season's over (ie they lose in the playofffs) they'll make it.]
Q: What's the exact opposite of the East Lansing experience?
A: The Evanston experience.
Northwestern fans are eminently likeable, not that you really need to be alone on a purple sea since half the seats in Ryan are going to be filled with people in maize:
The above is the t-shirt that people going on the Northwestern trip with Sports Power Weekends will receive, along with a game ticket, hotel room for two nights, transportation, gift cards, and an MGoStore discount. For Friday night's entertainment, Jared of SPW has engaged the services of…US GUYS.
There's still some spots left on the SPW trip and I highly recommend you jump on that if you're considering going to the NW game—it gets down to just $350/person if you can get three of your friends to come along.
Since we'll be there anyway we'd like to also invite any readers from Chicago to come join us at:
Which is a huge (as in we get lots of space) Michigan bar. Details-like things:
When: Friday, November 15, from 6-9PM CST.
Where: Moe's Cantina River North 155 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654, one block north of the Chicago River between LaSalle and N Wells. M: Merchandise Mart.
What: Q&A Session with Brian, and talking with people who don't need it explained that we had a true freshman guard starting against Max Bullough, i.e. other MGoBlog readers.
RSVP below, or show up.
ALL UR RYAN FIELDS ARE BELONG TO US.
One of the best road trips of the Michigan season is just around the corner. A game at Northwestern means a trip to Chicago and once again taking over Ryan Field from the pedantic purple people who normally inhabit it. You read the title so you know what this means already: Sports Power Weekend!
Jared is offering a Nov. 15-17 package that includes two nights at the hotel, your game tickets, an invite to a Michigan fan tailgate with food, beer, and wine [confirming it's the one I think it is], transportation within Chicago, and some other throw-ins like a gift card and an MGoShirt and stuff.
Reserve a spot here! I think they start around $350/person (scale up the fewer in your group) and there's fewer than 10 left.
MGODISCOUNT: If you reserve by end of day Friday, you can enter the discount code MGoBlog in the promo code box for 5% off your purchase upon checkout.
MGoEvent? Jared invited us, and we are trying to clear our schedules, to add a live MGoBlog event on Friday for the SPW trip plus our Chicago readers—Q&A session with Brian, drinking at a bar, that sort of thing. I'll let you know by tomorrow if that's gonna come off.
Remember that Mattison is back and Ryan should be [Fuller]
Ed-Seth: Before every season a million prognosticators will tell you how the coming year shall unfold. Among these, usually the most accurate are those by the gamblers, for it is they more so than bloggers who ply their trade by ruthlessly excising their biases. Of these oddsplayers, our go-to guy is jamiemac of Just Cover Blog. For this reason I asked him to give us his own preview of the things that concern us, and he asked me to put pretty pictures in it, for it is at pretty picturing that we bloggers truly excel.
Football Study Hall riled up the Michigan base earlier in the week with their pessimistic projection of 7-5, 4-4. That would be a disaster. We're all anticipating much better after all. My simple expectation alone is make it to the Ohio State game controlling our own fate in the division. It's a lock that I would use up my allotment of FIRE HOKE ROD jokes on twitter if the season spirals towards that record.
But I'm don't come to bury the math. I do come to mention their projection puts them on the opposite side of the betting community. Over at 5Dimes.com, the Wolverines have moved to betting favorites in the Legends Division race after spending portions of the summer behind Nebraska and Michigan State. Michigan is chalk at +220 odds, followed by Nebraska, +290; Michigan St, +300; Northwestern, +325; Iowa, +1500; and Minnesota, +2900.
|How quickly they forget what I look like
in pads. [Upchurch]
There are reports that the Over 8.5 wins on Michigan has become one of the most popular bets of the summer. Another sign is simple point spread movement in favor of Michigan on the various Games Of The Year boards. Seven of the 10 Michigan games offered this summer have seen an adjustment based on Michigan action coming into their coffers. Take a look at the shifts:
vs Central Michigan: Opened, -26; Current, -31.5
vs Notre Dame: Opened, pick 'em; Current -3
vs Minnesota: Opened, -15; Current, -17
at Penn St: Opened, -2.5; Current, -3
at Michigan St. Opened, +3; Current, +2.5
at Northwestern. Opened +3; Current, -3
vs Ohio St: Opened +6; Current, +4
Some of those movements aren't that significant. But in five of those games, the line has shifted at least two points, including in the two most important home games of the season. In the case of the Northwestern game, the Wolverines have gone from underdogs to chalk. One line did move against Michigan, it's November road game at Iowa where Michigan opened as -10.5 favorites only to see the number come down to -9.5. Two lines have stayed the same the whole way through: -4 vs Nebraska and -12 at UConn, the latter line continuously balanced by Heiko throwing his MGoWages on the Huskies. Probably. Maybe. WOTS, at least.
[More good things after the jump]