This sucks. Suddenly even a Top 25 ranking seems so far out of reach.
The conclusion (see analysis below): The task of getting back into the top 25 in the national rankings is daunting, since to do so, we must change and improve our Sagarin ratings more than any other B10 team did from last year to this year.
The good news: Only one B10 team improved last year more than UM did (Indiana).
Also, I would guess that we had as many key Freshmen playing in 2009 as in 2008. That won’t be the case next year. Thus, in 2011 and 2012, there should be a lot more upperclassmen added to the UM lineup, compared with other teams. So, things are definitely looking up. But the progress may not be as fast we’d like.
Summary of details (based on the Sagarin Predictor ratings--which unlike the ones used in the BCS that ignore point spreads--are the best predictors of actual game results).
UM gained about 3-3.5 points in the Sagarin ratings from last year.
Just improving by 3-3.5 points again next year (from 2009-10) would move us clearly above Purdue into 6th place alone in the B10 (assuming that, for each B10 team that improves next year, there is one that declines equally),
But improving by only 3.5 points next year would move us up no further, since there was a big gap this year between the 1-5 teams and the 6-11 ones in the B10. In fact, to move into the top 4 in the B10 and the top 25 teams in the nation, we would need to improve by about 10-11 points—at least three times the improvement made from 2008-9.
Is that doable? I think so but it would be the biggest jump either way in the past 2 years for a B10 team. To put it into perspective, note that from 2008-9
PSU lost 10 points
NW lost 8.5 points.
Iowa and Illinois lost 7 points (surprising since Iowa’s now in a BCS bowl).
MSU lost 2.5 points
OSU, Minn and Purdue and were unchanged.
(OSU did not improve, despite Pryor going from being a Fresh to Soph probably because they lost Wells).
Wisc was only one of two teams to gain as much as UM did: 3.5 points.
Only one team, Indiana, gained more than us: 8 points.
So, to gain 10-11 points next year in the Sagarin ratins, we must gain more than any B10 team did this year. We must change slightly more than any other team changed in either direction (PSU made the biggest change by losing 10 points).
This sucks. Suddenly even a Top 25 ranking seems so far out of reach.
One thing that might brighten the outlook based on this analysis is if we find that the teams improved (or declined) in proportion to the number of starters retained (or lost). In the case of starters lost, one might also look at the quality of players lost. Were many high NFL picks? eg did PSU decline 10 points because they lost a lot--or because they lost key players.
It might be possible, then, to show that the high proportion of returning starters makes a big improvement much more likely for UM next year than usual.
Good stuff. I do think it will be tough for UM next year, but I also take these types of rankings with a grain of salt. They are models, and with any model there are outliers. Apparently Mississippi is a top-25 team, but I've caught a couple of their games (for some reason the SEC channel is on my NY cable), and they have looked less-than-impressive most of the year. Their defense was very good, but the offense looked horrible at times, and Snead was a disgrace. Teams rated lower, like Ok St., Wiscy, and even CMU would probably beat them on a neutral field. So while it will be tough next year, I still think 8-9 wins are possible, and with it a potential top-25 final ranking.
No. 7-5 teams don't merit being in the top 25.
(aaaand cue the negging...)
...just concern ourselves with having a good football team and letting the wins and rankings fall into place?
By the way, despite the "sagarin" drop, NW is playing in a Jan. 1 bowl game. So fuck Sagarin.
Thread title notwithstanding, I think post is oriented more toward "how much improvement could we expect to see".
I agree completely that rankings, accolades, etc. are secondary if not tertiary -- we want the team to improve, and care most about it improving in W-L (and can occasionally be placated by underlying improvements in yardage and other metrics).
It's just one objective way to start to pin down what it is reasonable to expect, given our current state.
Should we use percent changes, not absolute numbers?
Some food for thought: from 2008 to 2009, Arkansas improved its PREDICTOR by 22.9%; Misssippi State by 23.8%. Indiana's gain was 13.7%, while Michigan's was 4.8%. Notre Dame was up 6.7% vs. 2008.
Rice had the biggest fall, -34.0%, Hoke-less Ball State dropped 24.3%, and USC -18.3%.
If Michigan improves its PREDICTOR rating another 5% it will move up around 10 points in the Sagarin ratings, but far out of the top 25 -- more like top 60.
Georgia Tech went up 15.8% from 2008 to 2009; that may be about a max potential gain we could see. With that kind of improvement, Michigan would be a top 25ish program.
I still have fingers crossed for a winning record and a bowl game win.
I was hoping someone would do the out of conference analysis.
I think that percentages are helpful too. Both point spreads and percentages probably distort the results at the margins. On one hand, it's probably tougher for a higher rated team to improve its point spread margin upward. Also, it will seem to have a lower percentage gain compared to a lower rated team, even with the point spread held constant.
A better measure might be to compute the variance of the Sagarin ratings and ask: by how many standard deviations did the team improve. I don't have time to do that analysis now, but I would certainly be interested in seeing the results.
9-3 next year. Ranked in the top 25 to end the season. (like 22nd or something)
at some point during the first half of the season we could make our way in to the top 25. however, at this point the baseline has to be at about a 7-5 season and that doesn't warrant being ranked at the end.
The media people who have been flogging UM because their bad seasons were a novelty are the same ones who will be looking for a new story next year. The "rise of the UM program from the ashes" will be a popular storyline next year, as will "RR's perseverance." And all they really have to do is improve just enough to beat MSU, Purdue, and Illinois to be an eight-win team. If they split with Iowa and Wisky, which are both home games, that's nine. And if "the buck stops" next year, that's ten.
I think nine will be enough to get them back in the top 25, and I relaly don't think it will be a problem. We have been so traumatized by the losses of the last two years that many of us are falling into the trap of thinking that it is the norm instead of the aberration it really is.
To give the short version of my reasoning, another year of Barwis, another year of experience in both the offense and defesne, another year of aging and its HGH, the same DC two years in a row, and some help from redshirts and recruits should get the team back to being Michigan again.
They rightfully won't start in the top 25, but they will get there by the fifth or sixth game if not sooner, and they should end up there at the end of the season.
In the current AP poll, there are just three teams in the top 25 with more than three regular-season losses: Arizona, Stanford, and Oregon State. (I am not counting Nebraska's loss in the Big-12 Championship game as a regular season loss.)
That tells me Michigan most likely has to go 9-3 to be ranked in the final regular-season AP poll. That would require a huge improvement over 2009, bearing in mind that the 2010 schedule has Penn State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame on the road, and UConn is a pretty big step up from Delaware State.
So no...I suspect it will not happen.
2010 schedule is tougher; .500 or better in Big Ten, bowl game are reasonable goals. Top 25 probably waits until 2011. ):
Yes, the overall schedule will be harder by having Penn State, OSU and ND on the road. But it has an overall effect of giving us more winnable games. My logic at the beginning of this year was that we had a schedule made for a NC champ run if we had the team to do it because we had our two toughest big Ten opponents at home.
However, we were never going to beat OSU or PSU with this team. I don't think we will beat them next year either (although I think we could upset PSU because they lose Darryl Clark) So who cares if they are tougher games, they're probably loses either way. On the other hand, MSU, Iowa, Illinois and maybe even Wisconsin could have been wins at home. (I know Illinois and Wisconsin weren't close in the end but maybe we don't have the meltdowns if we are at home.)
So, if we go 4-0 nonconference, which is very possible considering Clausen, Tate and Weis are gone, we should still beat IU, and then we can beat Purdue, Illinois without Juice, MSU and Iowa or Wisconsin to get to 9-3.
I know our defense was terrible. And our offense was not as great as we thought it would be. But we are returning almost the entire team with a returning starter at QB and stability at defensive coordinator. Drink the Kool-aid.
I agree with this sentiment. Even if someone like Kelly takes over at ND, he'll be breaking in a slew of skill position players and still trying to make this talented defense play quite a bit better than they have so far. Illinois without Juice is what we saw this year - a profoundly mediocre team with a bad coach. Wiscy, OSU, Iowa, and MSU should be the same/improved next year, but I do think PSU will be down with Clark and some bigger hitters on that defense departing. 9 wins is not crazy, though UConn will be a tough opener and might set the direction of the whole season if the team stumbles out of the gate.
PSU and ND get new Qb's next year who don't have much playing time. Even though those are road games, I think they become winnable. Especially PSU since they are on the downslide of their 4 year cycle of boom/bust.
UConn scares me, but I'm still not sure they won't have a new HC next year. I'm not sold on ND getting a big name mainly due to the money issue but that's a whole different thread (or threads).
So, I put ND and PSU in the win column for now.
They won't have the luxury of losing and staying in. They need to get 9 wins. I think they'll be closer to 7 or 8 wins next year.
If we go 8-4 and keep it close against Penn State and Ohio State, we might squeak into the 20s.
Good analysis, but I think that the answer is pretty simple. 9-3 probably gets us in the top 25 and 8-4 does not. I say probably because it would depend on the losses.
But, with Graham, Carlos Brown, Minor RAGE, Mesko and S. Brown gone and Warren apparently right behind them, does anyone think that 9-3 is possible? I don't, but the B10 is so weak, that we even with likely losses to OSU and PSU, we could win 8 of the remaining 9. We could also lose 8 if the remaining 9, so who the hell knows. Just thinking about this makes my head hurt.
Minor and Brown didn't do a whole lot for the team this year, either.
As great of players as they are, can't name them as significant losses.
Minor was a sideline leader while injured. He also taught the other backs behind him a lot, I'm sure.
with a program that floundered. I expect Coach Rod to be there next year with this oncoming juggernaut.
Sparty already has 2 in a row on us.
certainly we won't be going into Columbus with an expectation of losing, I don't think
Last time I checked we lost to Michigan State in 2008 and 2009 so a loss next year would be three years in a row. which would be like ultimate blue balls..no pun intended...
Realistic, no koolaid.
who wouldn't sign-up for this right now?
The reality is next year we could go 5-7, 7-5, or 9-3, depending on injuries (not just to our team but to our opponents as well), maturity, and adjustment to RR system. I sure hope trajectory is upward, and signs suggests it "should" be, but i still dont have the confidence in this team to make that kind of projection. I wish i had though.
is never the case in college football, or michigan football for that matter
we all thought that 3-9 would be out of reach, and i am guessing a good number of people (
myself included) though that a losing record this year would be out of reach as well
all we have to do is get rolling.
it would be immature and presumptuous of me to say that we will go undefeated OOC, or against our biggest rivals, but I know (and it makes me slightly uncomfortable) that our wolverines are in for surprises in both aspects of our schedule, and surpassing our now lowered expectations is not out of reach.
This is pitiful. I want us to do well but who knows what will happen. And 7-5 isn't good enough. We need to have at least 8 wins in regular season. And being below or at .500 in the big 10 also isn't good enough.
When you say "isn't good enouogh," just what do you mean? isn't good enough for you? for us? for RR? 3-9 wasn't good enough. 5-7 wasn't good enough either. it just is. like the man says, we will win the games that we deserve to win. this is a process. we will not be that good next year. our defense will still be bad. this fiasco is a five year deal. might as well face it. sorry. but we are moving forward as fast as is possible given what we have. RR will get the job done. go blue!
Sometimes it helps to take a more realistic if painful view of the present. The place we're at now is what it is. Yet, it's only a slight two-year blip in an otherwise solid record. It's not the progressive downhill course of ND over the last several decades.
So, there's no need to panic. The decisions made now need to be predicated on a thoughtful look at the future, not based on a nostalgic view of the past.
"When you say "isn't good enouogh," just what do you mean? isn't good enough for you? for us? for RR?"
How about "good enough for Rodriguez to not get fired"?
7-5 next year, on the way to 9-3 in 2011, does not get RR fired. You want to suffer what we just did the last two years all over again? fire RR after we endure the hardest part of the rebuild, and get someone else to start from square one? patience, my man. the masterpiece being created in front of our eyes, like all masterpieces, takes time. it will happen, just not next year. (see below.)
I was thinking about the 2010 season the other day. And I was hoping (hoping!) to get 7 wins. And that is pathetic. We can make as many excuses that we want and call this a process but we haven't played to our ability the last 2 years. And I know all about our defensive attrition but our guys are still talented (more so than the Purdues, Illinois's, etc.).
I've been playing the same game the last 2 years in that I keep telling myself that this is a process and yes, it is. But the progress was not enough last year. Hopefully we will see bigger strides with a 2nd year QB and a 2nd year DC in the system.
And when I say "good enough", no what we have seen isn't good enough for the players, RR, or the fans. I'm willing to bet that all parties would agree to that. At what point do we stop with the weak reasons as to why we aren't successful. We are Michigan and we have the resources to do very well. Being in the top 25 shouldn't ever be a strong concern.
Forcier will be a soph QB. When Henne was a soph, UM went7-5 (and lost to an unranked Neb team in the Alamo bowl). Henne is now a starter doing quite well for the Miami Dolphins. It just took time.
account what we lose, what stays, and what we gain, I feel 7-5 is doable. We lose some big time guys: The Brandons, Warren, Brown. Other contributors. Right now all I care about is progress and that means guys step up and play better ball. It means a bowl game. No one likes where we've been, but now we're here, we want to get over there, so just march.
Crunch numbers all you want. The simple formula is if they win they're in the top 25 and if they don't win alot they are not in the top 25.
...because I'm not following how all of a sudden we go from 3-9, 5-7 to 9-3 next year after losing, currently, our best players from a terrible team in 09. Our 'D' is going to be worse next year, not better. Our 'O' will probably be a bit better (people need to chill out about DG....anyone who's played a college sport knows most freshman don't make an immediate impact...see Tate Forcier). Facing ND in South Bend is NEVER easy. OSU at Columbus...ehhhhh....PSU in Happy Valley....double ehhhhhh...and RR hasn't shown me any reason as to us being able to pull out wins against, quite frankly, anyone in the B-10. Listen, I'm all for getting this ship turned around properly and back on course but some of us are dreaming a bit if we think it's going to just come easy because RR has 'his' guys now. We're still going to have ball control issues which leads to our suspect 'D' being on the field for the better part of the game. We have HUGE question marks at DB, S, RB and PK. I think Forcier will eventually be a solid college QB but I still see him making many mistakes next year as well, especially with a shaky O-Line. Denard Robinson is NOT Pat White so let's end that talk there. I'm not sure where you can put him because he has poor hands and can't hold onto the football. I can see this team, maybe, pulling out 6 wins next year....the 'D' is just to big a problem for any more than that...sorry friends but even RR knows we're still 2 to 3 years away from any significant noise.
As noted elsewhere, the most telling thing about the defense next season is going to be how the 3 worst players improve (or are replaced) not how big of a fall-off there will be from the 2 (3?) contributors that will be lost on defense. The defense got torched because of glaring faults in spite of the brilliance of Graham.
As far as your problem with playing our biggest rivals on the road...
1) Notre Dame doesn't exactly scare me without Golden Tate and Jimmy McPunchingBag Clausen. And a new coach, who will probably bring in an entirely new staff. I heard somewhere that coaching transitions aren't great for schematic consistency. And attrition could become a problem.
2) Penn State - They weren't special this season...and they will be getting a new QB. They could be vunerable.
3) OSU - We'll learn alot about them over the next year. Our first chance: How will Pryor do in the Rose Bowl. In any case, in a rivalry game like this one, anyone can win.
All of this and Tate not being a freshman anymore bodes well. The o-line should be decent. The defense will get better (I mean, they can't get worse, right?) This team was better than last season, and they will be better next season.
Be an optimist. Pessimism leads to hopelessness.
Your lowered concern about the 2 big defensive losses was very interesting and made sense. If an offense attacks the weakest point of a defense, the latter's overall strength and balance should be more important than the presence of two "stars," unless those stars are completely dominant--like Woodson, who made opponents exclude half of the field from play. But even if we lose DW, and as good as BG and DW are, they're not exactly in in Woodson's league.
So, if--I emphasize, if--the overall competency and balance of the defense improves, that could be big. Then, despite continuing deficiencies, we might not be as easy for opponents to exploit. Also, that would give a strengthened, more seasoned offense more opportunities on the field.
...as if other teams exist in a vacuum and Michigan is the only one capable of getting better. Do you honestly believe that programs don't have quality players to replace stars who are leaving??? Who are we replacing our 3 departing "stars" with? PSU has been head and shoulders above us the last few years, which includes recruiting. To think that they don't have someone as good if not better than DC to replace is plain silly. Yeah, ND sucks but guess what...so do we...and much worse. And OSU is on a completely different level right now...we have to worry about beating Purdue, Illinois, NW, Indiana before we can entertain thoughts of beating the big guys.....
You say the offense got better last year? I hate to ruin your tea party but the offense averaged the same amount of points per game in B10 games this year as they did the previous year, 22.13ppg....yeah yeah yeah I know they scored 63 vs. Del. St. and 45 vs. E. Mich. and 38 vs. ND...but let's be real. On the other side of the ball, our "D" gave up an average of 33.25 ppg in B10 games this year, down a whopping .25 from the year before, 33.5 ppg.
And yes, your premise on coaching changes does sometimes cause attrition and some tension between philosophies but not when you do it properly and professionally. Coaches have to adapt to players just as much as players have to adapt to Coaches. As a Coach, you're supposed to embrace what you have and extend from it...RR, in my eyes, did an awful job...which led to attrition and all the drama.
Lastly, you said that this year was better than last year and I have a hard time believing that for two reasons...first, simply put we finished 1-7 in the B10...secondly and more important, I think a huge factor to our 4-0 start was the media buzz and pot shots surrounding the program. To our credit, UM rallied around each other and pulled out some solid wins albiet against less than average teams. However, if we had to face those teams again towards the end of the season, we go 2-2 instead of 4-0. ND and probably IU beat us the way we were playing.
Lets just worry about beating Uconn in the home opener! That game is a huge hurdle for us to start off our season. Untill we pass that test I'm not even looking ahead.
For some reason this diary makes me hopeful again.
If we've learned anything over the last two years, it should be that there is NO WAY to predict anything for this Michigan team under this staff.
There are far too many question marks, and right now, other than Forcier, we will be facing a season that offers no concrete evidence that we can expect any improvement other than the old "another year in the system"
Here's an example: I expected a bit of a breakout year for Koger. Good reports abounded about his progress. UM had supposedly installed this super secret Trojan Package (borrowed from Oklahama) to get Koger more involved. The result? Kevin WHO?!
Roy Roundtree didn't see significant playing time until late in the season. Yet he ended up leading the team in TD receptions with all of THREE, and had as many catches as Mathews (23)--and unless I am wrong, that led the team. Was that a testament to Roundtree's talent, or the lack of talented receivers on the team?
We started the season with a basketball player at arguably the second most important position in this offense--and he had, of course, disappeared by season's end.
Does having Barwis help or hurt? Injuries have killed this team the last two years. We don't seem to be Superfast or BestCondtionedinAmerica just yet. Or do you need two to three years in this system for it to really show?
Attrition continues to bite us in the arse.
The recruiting class of 2008, which should be ready to KILLZ EVERYBODIEZZ right about now, is shrinking faster than George Costanza's dick in a cold swimming pool.
We lose our three best defensive players (if Warren goes) and there are exactly ZERO proven players to step into their places.
Many of us question three coaches on this staff and wonder if they are worthy of the positions they hold. Two of them are coaching positions they have not previously coached at this level.
And speaking for myself--this staff has not figured out either what the players' strengths are, or how to coach to them. What the FARK are we gonna do with Denard Robinson? Are we really going to attempt to make a running quarterback out of Tate Forcier? A "zone-read" quarterback? Am I the ONLIEST one who sees that the kid is a leader and a gunslinger--and if receivers don't bail on him, and the OL blocks for him--ZOMG lots of points, wins, and Heismans?
Other than the occasional solid kickoff return by Stonum--special teams is a crapfest unless Zoltan is punting from our 30 and can just let it fly (OOPS! He's gone!).
Depth--as in there is none.
Confidence and Swagger: See "depth"
Lastly: Desperado, why don't you come to your senses...you've been out riding fences for so long now...
It can't be overlooked that this will be a Season of Desperation (BOOK TITLE MY COPYRIGHT). Backs against the wall. Now or never. Win or pack up Rita's hairspray and git the hell outta Dodge. How will the team respond? I'd like to say the team can go 5-7 or 6-6 and show progress and Rich gets a fourth year---but we ALL know how that story would end.
Predictors, shmedictors. There are too many question marks to do anthing but get drunk, get laid (or jerk off in the shower), and read all my intelligent and funny posts for the next eight months.
I'm betting on a 1-3 win improvement over this past year. We'll win a game or two we have no business winning and lose some terrible blowouts to crap teams. We'll still be finding ourselves on defense, but hopefully start putting something together on the other side of the ball.
Honestly I'm thinking we go 6-6 or 7-5 and still aren't sure what to make of RichRod. I hope I'm wrong.
it will take a while to break the top 25 even if M has a surprisingly impressive start. They would likely need to open like 6or7-0 before they would be ranked. Otherwise, I see the only possibility as being a season ending post-bowl ranking as the only other possibility if they finish strong. After the post-ranking debacle this year, polsters will be very cautious before pulling the trigger next year.
False. If Michigan beats UConn and ND (they will be ranked going into the season with Kelly at the helm), we will hit #25 minimum in week 3. Rankings are Resume based, at least in theory. In fact, Michigan's name carries an awful lot of weight with an awful lot of pollsters.
We really just have to get out and win games, starting with UCONN and ND. The schedule will be perceived as soft upfront and even 5-0 or 6-0 probably won't get us ranked. I don't care about that - it is the end that counts. The first 5 games are very winnable, followed by MSU and Iowa at home. Assuming we win those first 5 that is where the rubber will start to meet the road, not unlike this past season, though hopefully with fewer offensive mistakes.
I remain optimistic.