I always appreciate your work, Mathlete, but... 28-24, PSU... that's why they play the game. GO BLUE!
BtN - Penn St Preview
Rush Offense vs PSU
Michigan O +4 (9th) vs Penn St D +4 (9th)
Pretty evenly matched here, although Penn State has done equal damage against much fewer plays. Michigan's performance has ranged from a +15 vs Eastern and +9 vs Iowa to a low of -4 vs Michigan State.
Penn State's defensive performances against the run have been very consistent with a high of +8 vs Akron and lows of +1 against Syracuse and Illinois.
If either team can dominate this matchup, it could very well swing the entire game.
Pass Offense vs PSU
Michigan O +0 (57) vs Penn St D +4 (22)
While Michigan's pass offense has been very average, Penn State's defense has been well above average, their +4 rating puts them 3rd in the Big 10.
Since an opening week +8, Michigan's passing game hasn't seen anything more than the +4 posted against Indiana and has been below average in 3 of their last 5 games.
Penn State has averaged over +5 for their three Big 10 games to date hasn't been below +2 since their opening matchup vs Akron.
This matchup clearly favors Penn State. A solid performance from the a passing attack that is yet to go through a game interception free would be a surprise bonus on Saturday.
Rush Defense vs PSU
Michigan D -2 (98) vs Penn State O +2 (22)
This one is a bit scary for Michigan fans. In the Big 10, only Illinois is worse than Michigan in run defense and only Michigan is better than Penn State at running the ball. With Penn State typically slowing the game down and reducing possessions through the ground, Michigan will have to close this 4 point gap to have any shot at keeping the pace up where they like it.
Going into the game details shows there is some film out there for success against Penn State's rushing attack. The Nittany Lions gashed Illinois and Temple at nearly +10 a game, but in their other 4 games they have averaged -1 and haven't been above +1. Michigan can't afford to join the Temple and Illinois group to have a chance on Saturday. Unfortunately, since the Western game, Michigan's run defense hasn't produced a single + performance, with Iowa two weeks ago being the best at -1.
Pass Defense vs PSU
Michigan D +4 (26) vs Penn State O +4 (21)
A second battle of strength vs strength. I don't see this matchup being quite as critical as when Michigan is running the ball, but this is the second time we have two highly rated units facing off.
After going +6/game through non-conference, Penn State started weakly against the Big 10, going -2 against both Iowa and Illinois but then bounced back for their best performance of the year last week vs Minnesota, +10.
Michigan pass defense, on the other hand, has been very consistent. Through Big 10 play they have gone +2,+4 and +5 and haven't posted a negative game yet this year.
I touched on this in my team rankings column on Wednesday, but there is a stark difference in the pace at which each of these teams play.
Michigan's offense is currently ranked 21st in points vs expected at +6 and 17th in pace at 12.3 possessions per game. Contrast this with Penn State's offense which
is right behind Michigan in points vs expected at +5 (24th) but their pace of only 9.8
possessions per game is 110th out of 120 FBS schools.
Michigan +1 (26) vs Penn State -1 (69)
Special teams appear to be Michigan's biggest advantage going into the game. Going unit by unit, you can see Michigan has significant advantages in kicking, Kickoff return and punt teams while Penn State leads in kickoff team and punt return by default.
Kicking M (15) P (99)
Kickoff M (73) P (35)
Kick Return M (30) P (72)
Punt M (6) P (65)
Punt Return M (105) P (71)
Michigan 24 Penn State 28
Nothing in the numbers shows Michigan being the better team coming into the game, but nothing in the numbers indicates that they don't still have a great shot. I know I ended up sitting right on the line again this week (it really isn't this close, this often) but if anyone is dumb enough to use this with actual money, split hairs at your own risk!
Elsewhere in the Big 10
My picks first then the formula numbers in ()
Minnesota 14 Ohio State 28 (14-26)
Illinois 17 Purdue 35 (16-36)
Iowa 21 Michigan St 17 (21-18)
Just callin' it like I see it. I couldn't be more happy to be wrong about this one.
But they don't tell the whole truth either...
For example - I'm on pace to make more money this year compared to last year but my savings account hasnt changed at all... I don't get it...
Mich 31 - PSU 28
But I hope we can sneak one past the old bell curve.
Sorry, that conclusion doesn't reconcile. If I could change ONE thing about this year's team it would be pass defense. I'd bet it's cost us a win at Iowa despite the underperformance by the Offense. Almost every team we've played has gotten a huge pass play or two off on us. MSU is the only reasonable competition that did pull off a pass of 35+ yds on us.
IOWA: 33,42, 47
SUPER interesting work but something important isn't being measured.
certainly could distract you from an idea of what average actually looks like.
There have been some big pass plays against Michigan's pass defense but remember, we are looking at the combined effect of all passing plays against Michigan in a given game. From there, the numbers are compared against every other team that has played them. So even though we gave up 300+ yards, 3 TDs and no INT's to ND, the net effect of how we did was 2 points better than the average team has done against ND this year.
As for WMU, the big play came after the game was out of reach and so the 73 yard pass play is not included (both the good and the bad are excluded once a game is out of hand). Indiana and MSU had some big plays, but those two teams combined to throw three INTs and no TDs against Michigan. And as for Iowa, there were obviously the three huge problems, but don't forget that Iowa barely completed 50% of its passes for the game and a pick 6 makes up for a lot of other ills in the passing game.
I thought the conventional rush D did quite well in that game.
Cousins gained a very significant portion of MSU's rushing yards because we committed to dropping back to defend the pass at the cost of conceding considerable scramble yards (to a QB of so-so mobility).
according to sharik.
You are right. All of his big runs went against the rush defense. On the official NCAA they don't classify any plays as scrambles, just straight rushes. I hesitate to switch up the Michigan plays from rush to pass because there is no way I can do it for everyone else, but you are right that some of the problems in the pass D are reflected in the run D for MSU.
I agree, this is another time where the numbers don't pass the duh test. We have consistently given up the big play, and the only reason I can see that our avg. numbers would be favorable, is why pass, when you can run for 4 yards every time.
Also is their any calculation for intangibles? I think those are huge in this game and college in general, maybe worth a +5, and a narrow win this week. Lets review:
* PSU doesn't have a clue how to win in the big house and hasn't been successful since 96=+2.
* The Maize out will bring unity to the fans, and a decrease of, "Sit down up front sonny!"=+1.
* The noise effect will be in full force, and I'm thankful for the changes that are beginning to show a real advantage down the stretch= +1.
* Finally I believe big game experience will be the final edge that will push us over the top=+1.
That totals to +5 and a narrow win. I just have a good feel for this game that if we can avoid that first posession turnover (both Iowa and MSU game), we have favorable matchups that will play out to a big win in a tight ball game.
Let's Go Blue!
do you read mgoblog?