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So this is what its like to be addicted to crack
Previously: Podcast 6.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End. Defensive Tackle. Linebacker. Cornerback. Safety. Special Teams. Five Questions and Five Answers, Offense. 5Q5A, Defense.
The theory of turnover margin: it is pretty random. Teams that find themselves at one end or the other at the end of the year are likely to rebound towards the average. So teams towards the top will tend to be overrated and vice versa. Nonrandom factors to evaluate: quarterback experience, quarterback pressure applied and received, and odd running backs like Mike Hart who just don't fumble.
|Year||Margin||Int +||Fumb +||Sacks +||Int -||Fumb -||Sacks -|
|2007||0.15 (41st)||14||15||2.46(33rd)||14||13||2.17 (67th)|
|2008||-.83 (104th)||9||11||2.42(33rd)||12||18||1.83 (57th)|
|2009||-1.00 (115th)||11||5||1.83(68th)||15||13||2.33 (83rd)|
|2011||+0.54 (25th)||9||20||2.31 (29th)||16||6||1.38 (33rd)|
|2012||-0.69 (99th)||7||11||1.69 (69th)||19||8||1.38 (28th)|
|2013||+0.38(33rd)||17||9||1.9 (64th)||13||8||2.77 (109th)|
Michigan did very well in this category considering that sacks allowed number. Pressure equals turnovers, and Michigan suffered all of the pressure last year. Their INT rate dropped significantly despite that, though a big part of that was five picks on 22 attempts by Russell Bellomy and Vincent Smith that did not repeat.
Michigan's interceptions were largely built on the craft and ability of their corners, who return and are being pushed hard from behind. Pass rush should improve with a season of a healthy Jake Ryan and both defensive ends coming back; Michigan gets its QB back for his senior year; the line… welp. The line.
If Michigan can pass protect reasonably well they should expect to be on the positive side of this ledger, perhaps significantly. If they can't…
Theory of position switches: if you are starting or considering starting a guy who was playing somewhere else a year ago, that position is in trouble. There are degrees of this. When Notre Dame moved Travis Thomas, a useful backup at tailback, to linebacker and then declared him a starter, there was no way that could end well. Wisconsin's flip of LB Travis Beckum to tight end was less ominous because Wisconsin had a solid linebacking corps and Beckum hadn't established himself on that side of the ball. Michigan flipping Prescott Burgess from SLB to WLB or PSU moving Dan Connor inside don't register here: we're talking major moves that indicate a serious lack somewhere.
Things that already happened like Funchess to WR, Brennen Beyer to DE, Braden to tackle, Magnuson to guard. Fret level: these already happened.
Various small moves associated with the change to an over defense. Fret level: minor. Michigan played a lot of over fronts last year and Brennen Beyer will be more comfortable in that front; the minor differences between WLB in an under and SAM in an over shouldn't be a problem for James Ross.
SAM Jake Ryan moves to MLB because over front. Fret level: moderate. It is a big change for a guy who was a terrific player at a spot Michigan no longer really has, and I worry it'll blunt his effectiveness.
SDE Keith Heitzman moves to TE because need blocking. Fret level: moderate. It makes sense because Michigan needs blocking desperately at TE and Heitzman was surplus to requirements at DE. I am just fretting because this reminds me about the TE blocking.
MLB Desmond Morgan to both ILB spots because Joe Bolden. Fret level: zero.
And that's it. Very stable. Shortest this section has been in a long, long time.
The offensive line is a pile of doom that takes the offense down with it as Michigan experiences a near-replay of last year: Gardner does stuff to win games by himself sometimes, there is a star receiver, real defenses turn Michigan's rushing offense off. The defense is still better than last year, deeper and less prone to collapse against… uh, the best rushing offense in the country. Michigan gets swept in their three road rivalry games, drops the Penn State game at home, and loses another game somewhere on the schedule to finish 7-5.
The offensive line holds up okay, giving Michigan a functional rushing game that develops as the season goes along. One of the backs stepping up helps this a lot; the receiving corps is great; Gardner still gets put in too many long-yardage scenarios for the offense to be great.
The defense is lights out. Michigan beats up a depleted Notre Dame team in game two, sweeps the home schedule, beats a freshman JT Barrett in Columbus, and still loses to MSU to finish 11-1.
This will be a significant step forward for both units. That will not get the offense to anything better than tolerable except for two games in which Gardner and Funchess go nuts. The defense should be very good… at worst. This is put up or shut up time for those guys.
With special teams looking fine to good, the main issue is the schedule. It's tough to lose five games with it and tough to win ten. It is a lot easier now that Braxton Miller doesn't lurk at the end of the year, Northwestern is losing critical players weekly, and there is a possibility that Notre Dame will be down a number of players from an already wonky-looking defense, but it feels like there are a couple games in there that the offense will clunk away.
|8/30||Horror II||Must win|
|9/6||@ Notre Dame||Tossup|
|9/20||Utah||Lean to win|
|10/4||@ Rutgers||Must win|
|10/11||Penn State||Lean to win|
|10/25||@ MSU||Probable loss|
|11/1||Indiana||Lean to win|
|11/8||@ Northwestern||Lean to win|
|11/30||@ Ohio State||Lean to loss|
Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, Nebraska
I've got 9-3. Before the Miller injury I would have said 8-4 was more likely than 10-2, but now… I think 9-3.
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So this is what its like to be addicted to crack
Is this the last post in this series, and if so, what was the total word count?
I see Michigan starting 7-0 with ND's recent troubles. I will cackle with glee if Michigan manages to beat the Spartans. If they do then all bets are on for a Big 10 Championship. In other words, this will be the CLOSEST the team has been to a championship caliber season since 2011.
"what you doing to F5 key, dude?"
9-3 with losses to Sparty and Ohio = bad season. The season hinges on the Msu game. This team needs to find a way to win that game.
We can't control how good MSU is or how well they play against us. You seem to be saying that if MSU turns out to be as good as they were last year or better, we lose to them by 1 point but sweep the rest of our schedule and win our bowl to finish 12-1, that would be a bad season.
While 9-3 is technically progress it will still be frustrating as hell to keep getting owned by Sparty and Ohio. I know the Ol is young and likely bad but we have a 5th yr senior QB a deep and experienced D and a 4th yr head coach. We should be able to win in EL or Columbus with that combination.
OSU feels more winnable than MSU, but it is always difficult to go to a hostile stadium and win. I do think UM plays well against MSU and I'm not sold their defense is as good as people are expecting; we've seen this song and dance before where we keep thinking a team is just going to reload with mid-level talent and be nearly as dominant, and then they take a small step back and it snowballs. I mean, as Mathlete noted earlier, MSU's offense started with great field position because of that defense. If they are simply a top-20 defense, they lose 2-3 more games and that becomes quite winnable. Similarly, OSU needs lots of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde last year to keep the winning going, and replacing them with a bunch of unknowns puts pressure on a defense that hasn't been great for 3 years now.
9-3 sounds right to me, though. The offense line will get better, but better as in close to mediocre. I actually think they'll win one of the conference rivalry games but will lose to a team like Maryland or Indiana due to some weird defensive implosion.
I'd rather judge the season based on how our team plays and improves through all the games of the season, and not on a single arbitrary metric based on my own personal desires... but maybe that's just me.
I will take a 9-3 record this year even if two of those losses are Ohio State and MSU. However, that makes next year really important. I'll have more optimism but next year has to be the payoff if this year is 9-3, which does show progress especially of the losses are all close.
did anyone else go through EECS without ever getting a good definition of "heuristic"? i went several years with the only explanation being "they don't work that well" when all they needed to say was "heuristic = simple rule". i had to have an epiphany on my own and then try to re-examine every memory of a professor talking about heuristics.
Not the same thing, but I had a thermo course that never defined adiabatic. After about the 100000th time it was used I finally realized that I should look it up.
You hate my job, don't you? Don't want me getting anything done at all this week?
The whole season is really about the OL and getting any form of run game. My only worry with 9-3 is UM used to have teams loaded with NFL talent in the 90s that went 9-3. This team is not as loaded with NFL talent (or if it is, its mostly in the underclassmen - which are prone to more errors) as those teams. So even in our heydey we'd throw away 1 game a year where we're all like wtf - so I just have to assume there is one of those games this year as well until we prove otherwise.
ND definitely seems the most winnable of the 3 rival games and even with Braxton I dont think OSU was not beatable. If we walked in there with a run game I'd feel very confident of a last drive type of game even if they had Braxton - just feel OSU is way overrated this year as they lost the whole OL and Hyde and had a bad back 7 last year and lost the best 2 off of it.
Just feels like unless something changes with the OL we will be running a very similar offense to last year - lots of drudgery trying to run the ball interrupted by highlight reel throws and "DAMNIT DEVIN" moments. But even if that happens as long as Devin does not make the critical errors that marred him in the first half of the year on OUR side of the 50 yard line... and then doesn't completely go comatose (Northwestern, Iowa) in other games its a team with potential for 10 wins.
Put an average - not good... just average Big 10 OL on this team and its a 10 win team with this not horrible schedule. But difficult to project with our OL issues. Your wide variability in the W-L speaks to that. Our skill players (including defensive players like corners in "skill" category) are probably at worst 2nd worse out of any team we play. All about the trenches this year and how they develop.
As a counter, the B1G isn't nearly as good as it was in the 90s.
I think the offensive line will be an average B1G unit by the end; I mean, this is the conference of Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers, NW, etc. It doesn't take a whole lot to be average.
9-3 seems fine to me. It keeps recruits coming, shows progress, and there is real depth coming back.
the ND sex scandal. Now I see us at nine and three, losing to MSU and OSU, dropping some clunky one somewhere. I will be really, really happy with 9-3.
I'd make the following changes to the likelihood of win/loss chart:
@Rutgers: Lean to Win -- road night game for UM, first home B1G game for Rutgers == not the auto win that many UM fans might be expecting (think UConn last season)
Maryland: Lean to Win -- I think people are underestimating MD especially with that game being in the classic "trap game" position: right before OSU.
Northwestern: Toss up -- Yeah, NW has lost a few guys (Mark didn't play against UM last year, though, did he?) but UM has had a LOT of good fortune in the last few tilts against the Cats and I think the karmic piper must be paid soon.
I'd almost be tempted to put PSU as Must Win considering the following: UM will probably be better than they were in 2013, PSU will probably be worse than they were in 2013, UM choked away the game last year...at PSU...at night and it still took 4 OT's for PSU to win that game. This year it will be in AA...at night. I think UM is more likely to win this game than the games against Indiana and Maryland.
I still think 8-4 is the most likely result for UM this year but I concede that I have not really examined ND's roster with all of the stuff that has been happening in South Bend. I am including a loss to the Domers in my 8-4 projection.
If the 2014 version of UM played the 2013 schedule, I think they would win 9 games in the regular season. The 2014 schedule is just a little too difficult for me to project that many wins for the 2014 squad.
As Logan 88 pointed out above, with as poorly as Michigan played last year PSU still needed a missed GW kick by Gibbons, a miraculous last drive where Stribling was exactly where he needed to be twice but somehow wasn't able to make the play, and 4 OTs at home just to get the win. This year's game is at Michigan and, looking at PSU's roster, they only have 71 scholarship players as a result of the NCAA reductions. That's 14 bullets they won't have in case of an injury or poor perfromance. Think about what a disastrous effect Michigan's 2010 and 2011 classes have had on the team and remember that even with those bad classes they were still at, or close to, the 85 scholarship limit. Having only 71 players will really hurt PSU this year. Michigan wins easily.
Sounds about right. If we can get a functional OL, this team can go places. But that is a Godzilla-sized "if".
Piles and Piles of content. Take a break, and ice those fingers. We need a UFR early next week!
That said, I've got 15-0, because I've always got 15-0 (moving forward. Last year it was 14-0... etc).
Why is everyone making MSU out to be this unstoppable team? Early loss to ND and OL troubles and everyone jumps ship, the boys stick in there and finish as a good team. 10-2 with losses to ND, Ohio. Everyone get over MSU...3-4 losses this year (including bowl game).
My bold prediction for the year is that Sparty is going to lose @ Oregon by at least 2 TDs.
They still have some pretty good pieces and even though they lose others, their recruiting has been good enough of late that they're not playing the 2* lottery to replace the departing players anymore. At this point Dantonio and Narduzzi have established a track record, and there's not much reason to suspect they won't be pretty good again.
That said, last year our defense bottled up their offense and held us in the game for quite some time. I think our step up on D this year is going to be bigger than their improvement on offense. If our offense isn't totally hapless by then, it seems like this has all the makings of a low scoring, high variance kind of game... the kind of game where the first team to make a mistake loses. I'd put this one as a lean loss instead of a probable loss.
I do think Brian is a bit optimistic on some of the must wins, so on balance I agree with the 9-3 prediction. I think we're going to be a chaos team this year. Capable of lossing many of the games on the schedule, but also having the talent to beat anyone as well. It should be a very interesting season. I can't wait.
and this will be a yea of rebuilding. OSU will find out what it's like to replace a qb and OL in the same season, no matter how good their DL - only solid unit on their squad - is. ND is losing players left and right, but the game in SB should be our most difficult.
The rankings of the other nine teams, with us coming in at 39 show a very, very weak schedule with one coming in at 118 and the other at 122 out of 128 games. UM at 39 is followed by MN at 42 in what might be considered a "toss up game" and there are a few in the 50s.
10 wins quite easily and 11 is not out of the realm of possibility.
MSU is a probable loss until they stop kicking our ass every year (especially on D)
I look at returning starters a lot, even though that won't tell you the whole story. What I look for is not just how the numbers look on their own, but also how they look relative to everybody else in the conference. Here is the B1G for 2013 and 2014:
Obviously depth, experience, age of players and a whole lot more will tell you how likely it is the new starter will be any good. That said, this is a time when a few rivals are replacing a lot of guys and Michigan has some 2 and 3 year starters returning. If that isn't good for a win or two (or three!) against MSU, OSU, or ND, then I will either consider that superior coaching by those teams.
I believe 9-10 regular season wins is realistic for two reasons: Will Hagerup and Doug Nussmeier. Even if you have a repeat of the OL disaster of 2013, thoughtful playcalling alone is worth two more wins in 2013 and probably in 2012. The small margins of defeats make me think that field position could make a big difference in overall record if for no other reason than despite the turnovers, weird offensive scheme, injuries, youth, and so on. they were right there in all but one game last year.
From what I remember from last year the game against MSU was close until our offense ineptness coupled with their great defense wore us out. I bet that if we fielded a functional offense last year's game would have been really close. I can see us winning that gamein a best case scenario.
MSU 2014 < MSU 2013
OSU 2014 - Braxton Miller << OSU 2013 with Braxton Miller
ND 2014 - several starters << ND 2013
And we hung tight with all those teams (or beat in ND's case)
It could happen. Will it? I'd bet money against it, but I could see the stars aligning
Although I firmly believe another year of a horrible offensive line would mean trouble, to me a far worse case scenario is that the offensive line is slightly better but Gardner is injured early in the year.
Wouldn't average at best Oline + no exp QB be the worse case?
If that occured, what would be the win total expectations? 4?
You shut your mouth right now.
I honestly didn't even want to write it i'm so afraid it may result in it occuring in some reality- if not this one obviously one of the trillions of others where anything that could happen does...
It just seems like the ONE thing never ever discussed all summer- what if inexperienced QB is rushed into starting?
Given the breakdown, which I more or less agree with, I'm surprised you're solid at 9-3 and not split between that and 10-2.
I'm typically exceedingly optimistic on the eve of a new season, and this time I'm trying to talk myself out of 11-1. I have ND leaning to win, MSU a tossup with all they lost to graduation, and OSU a tossup pending QB developments. We don't lose all the rivalry games all the time. I know sometimes we lose some of the gimmes, but I think this team overachieves until a serious bowl opponent puts us in our place.
Welp, 9-3 in it is.
I was thinking 8-4 best case, but that's probably my aging, critical inner voice.
I don't believe MSU and OSU are going to have the same level of success this year.
I said in my pre-Braxton, still-new ND-scandal preview that I thought 8-4 was most likely, maybe 9-3 or 10-2 if stuff played well. The floor was 7 wins, and that would take a great dela of bad luck.
Looking right now, I have to agree with 9-3 though I do think UM beats MSU this year. MSU's defense isn't going to be as good as last year's, and even a minor drop puts more pressure on an offense that has a limited number of playmakers. Langford is a good back but I watched enough of his games to see a RB who was solid but benefitted as much as Cook from a defense that ground teams down and put them in a position to captialize at the end of the game. Heck, against UM he was pretty mediocre until the last drive, when he recorded something like 50 yards on an exhausted team.
If UM was playing OSU to start the conference slate I'd be optimistic of their chances, but given a whole season Barrett (or whoever Meyer replaces him with) should have a competent grasp of the offense, and playing at home might give them the edge. That said, if their defense struggles like it did last year it will be a footrace, and I like UM's defense to slow down OSU more than UM by OSU's side.
But they'll lose a game they "shouldn't", like Maryland or Rutgers, and IU terrifies me because tempo is inherently terrifying and can snowball quickly.
Must begin to win road games. End of story.
I believe with better play calling on the offensive side of the ball this year, we could go 11-1. I think the best change this year is Nuss, he will adapt and change with what the defense gives him, and Devin will be smarter as a senior.
Call me optomistic but I see 11-1. Defense is shut down and the offense is adaptable.
Anywhere from 7-5 (worse case) to 11-1 (best case). I'd take 8-4 over 9-3 if we could beat either sparty or ohio on the road!
For the original Horror, I believe you predicted "functional DNP." Nice call on not making the same mistake of pissing off the jinx gods.