...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
The Sporting News conducted a bracket-style poll that found Detroit to be the best sports city in North America (it beat out Chicago in the final and Montreal and New York in earlier rounds).
I'm biased, but I think it's fair. Detroit is one of few cities that has 4 major sports teams that are all pretty much equally relevant, and 3 of them play downtown. Also, the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry lives within metro Detroit, as people there move west on weekends to cheer for their teams. As a city, fandom is balanced but still fanatic and passionate about their teams.
Just stumbled across these on ESPN and thought some might find it interesting. According to fan polls on ESPN, where we are included in none of the following categories: we are not an option to win the Big Ten, will not be competing in a "can't miss game," but will not be the most disappoint team, and don't have a chance of being a "surprise team."
Did ESPN forget we exist, or just have incredibly low expectations for us coming into this year? I know it dosn't mean anything, but I found it interesting we did not even get a mention, aside from coaches on the hot seat, which, really guys? Year one and Hoke is already considered on the hot seat?
Edit: Thanks for pointing it out, apparently we are included in the "Games to watch" poll. Apparently overlooked it in my "Haven't slept in 22 hours and in the middle of a 17 hour shift at work" haze
If you want to see Michigan-Florida in the Gator Bowl, let them know on their official Facebook poll:
While this poll is not a definitive solution for the matchup, it might influence their decision... maybe?
All numbers included in this preview are using my PAN metric, Points Above Normal. PAN is essentially how many points above an average FBS team was a team/unit/player worth. For reference, an average FBS team is approximately equal to Illinois or a top team from the MAC.
All games against FCS teams are excluded, as well as any plays in the second half where one team leads by more than 2 touchdowns or any end-of-half, run-out-the-clock situations.
Post Game Notes
The numbers predicted a one-possession win for Michigan and that’s largely how they played out. I audibled against the numbers and said the score might be a bit lower because Michigan might try a UConn game plan, slowing it down and limiting possessions. If that was the gameplan, no one told Denard.
Running the ball was Michigan’s obvious advantage coming in. I projected its worth to be in the range of 9 to 15 points for the game. We ended at the high end, with +16 PAN for the game on the ground. Denard put up his usual +12, while Vincent Smith put up all of his +4 on the long TD run. In four qualifying games Denard now has 4 of the top 14 rushing performances of the season in PAN. Bryce Beall from Houston is the only other player in the country to have two top-30 performances.
The big separation came in the passing game. Every time Michigan dropped back to pass it was basically worth a point. Michigan was +17 PAN on 17 attempts and Denard was +19. In terms of overall quarterback performance, Robinson’s three top-15 performances (the BG game still cracked the top 50!) is compared with only one other player with multiple top-15 appearances.
Ben Chappell's +27 performance was the second-best overall QB performance of the year, and he now has three top-40 games. Robinson and Chappell are the #1 and #2 rated QBs in opponent-adjusted PAN so far this year. Chappell’s number may very well come down as he faces defenses tougher than those of Towson, Western Kentucky, Akron, and Michigan, but there is no doubt that he is an exceptional player.
Indiana’s ground game was labeled by me as a pillow fight going in, and you could say that it ended like that. However, it was a pillow fight that Michigan won. The Hoosiers ended the game –5 on the ground as contrasted with a +22 through the air. Every time Indiana ran the ball it was a time they didn’t throw the ball, and a win for Michigan. At least for Indiana’s sake, the running game kept Michigan from pinning their ears back and rushing the passer…with three.
On predictions outside of Michigan, I almost called the OSU-Illinois score outright, but correctly had Illinois covering. I correctly had Iowa winning but did not have them covering, and I almost called the Michigan St.-Wisconsin score. Minnesota couldn’t put a last minute rally together to make me correct but I did correctly have them covering. I did not see Alabama’s domination over Florida coming and the Stanford over Oregon pick was looking great at halftime but looked terrible by the end. Pretty nice week for my Big 10 picks but I missed big on both of the national games.
Even with all of the struggles on defense, the season total projection keeps on rising. My team ranking has now eliminated the pre-season component and is made up entirely of in-season performance, with 50% of the opponent adjustment coming from 2009 performance and 50% coming from 2010 performance. For some teams there is a wide variation on which form of opponent adjustment is used. Michigan looks much better (ranked #12) based on in-season adjustment, but is still #23 when adjusting opponents based on their prior year success. The hybrid of the two has Michigan a full game ahead of where they were projected going into Indiana.
10 wins is now projected to be the most likely scenario and the odds of running the table have risen to 1 in 18.
Michigan State - 20, 60%
Iowa - 15, 56%
@ Penn State - 48, 66%
Illinois - 46, 83%
@ Purdue - 80, 90%
Wisconsin - 60, 92%
@ Ohio State - 14, 37%
Between the loss to Michigan St and the move to eliminate the preseason portion of ratings, Wisconsin has taken a massive beating in the numbers this week. The move is almost certainly too far but we will find out more as the Big 10 season progresses. Illinois and Michigan St were the big movers up, while Penn St, Wisconsin and Ohio St all dropped back after worse-than-expected showings on Saturday.
Projected Big 10 Standings
After last week things looked like three tiers with a mess in the middle. After this week, things are starting to separate a bit.
- Ohio St
- Michigan St
- Penn St
Switch Wisconsin and Illinois and this seems pretty reasonable, even after so few matchups against quality competition overall. Penn St could be higher but this doesn’t look like a season where defense alone is going to get you very many Big 10 wins.
|8||Oklahoma St||Big XII||15.87|
|12||Texas A&M||Big XII||13.85|
|14||Ohio St||Big Ten||13.51|
|17||Kansas St||Big XII||12.61|
|20||Michigan St||Big Ten||11.99|
On a purely data-driven model like mine there are going to be some oddballs, especially since this is more of a power poll than a rankings. Teams are rewarded strictly for how they performed relative the competition, without regard to win or loss.
Of the biggest head scratchers, Stanford #3 and ahead of Oregon, the Big XII seems highly overvalued and Notre Dame checking in at #25 seems a bit crazy at first, but they went to the wire with both Michigan schools who are obviously both undefeated and their other loss was to the highly rated Stanford squad.
Most important question of the day. I'm making a beer run for the weekend. That's not just a simple task as my county doesn't allow liquor sales... including beer... to the average person. Restaurants can sell by the glass, but that's it. They also have to gouge you with "membership fees" to drink at their establishment. It's horrible.
So the question, do I buy American beers for the World Cup or do I drink themed to the country we're playing in pool play? Obviously Slovenia and Algeria could be tough, especially in a beer-starved state like Texas, but I'm also open to suggestions in the comments.
Sam Adams - It's a solid American representative even if it's not the best. I'd prefer Ommegang's Three Philosophers, but that's a Belgian style of beer despite being American. I think I can at least convince myself that Sam Adams is a very American style. I refuse light beer or anything owned by those Dutch (Bud) or English (Miller).
Bass - Light enough where I can have a few over the game, but not so much that I'll be full at the half.
From what I hear, they like pale lagers. I may cheat and head 2 countries north to Pilsner Urquell. It may not be true Slovenia, but where am I going to find a Slovenian beer in this market? Unlikely.
Algeria is primarily Muslim to the point that alcohol is very limited. I'm definitely in help of something that can represent Algeria. Perhaps O'Douls due to the alcohol ban? Yeah right.
I was just perusing the ESPN college football page and noticed a fan poll regarding which is the best team in the Big 10. The usual suspects were there: OSU, PSU, Iowa and Wisconsin. But a fifth team was present in this poll....MSU. Wait. What? MSU?!? WTF?!?
The most amazing thing was that MSU actually got votes from voters outside of the state of Michigan! Had to be Sparty alums in those states, right?
A side note: it was interesting to see how the states with teams represented in the poll voted. Iowa fans were the most delusional as 73% voted for Iowa, Wisconsin was a little more reasonable as only 59% voted for Wiscy while only 33% of the voters from Pennsylvania voted for PSU. Seems like the voters in the Keystone state win the award for most rational fans as they are clued in to the fact that PSU isn't going to be that good in 2010.