It's The Offense: How many games can you win without scoring a point in the first half? How many games can you win when the offense leaves 21-35 points off the board? How many games can you win if the offense makes 8 unforced errors (not TOs, but overthrowing wide open receivers, dropped passes, missed FGs, not recovering an on-side kick, etc.)? Not very many – even if the defense plays well. Michigan has a good chance to beat that school down south IF THE OFFENSE MERELY PLAYS WELL, REGARDLESS OF THE DEFENSE! If the offense continues to stop themselves, this will be fugly. I say the offense gets it done and we shock the world. Meeechigan by 10.
Synopsis: Well, that totally sucked! The defense went from the best game of the year to the absolute worst. Combine that with the offense having a poor day and the outcome was obvious.
I use scoring stats because yardage stats are inherently flawed. According to the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index) rankings at Football Outsiders, Michigan is ranked #40 overall (7.4% better than the average FBS team) with a SoS ranking of #56. The offense is ranked #1 and the defense is ranked #103 (D was ranked #100 last week). Field Position Advantage is #84 while Field Goal Efficiency is #120.
M is predicted to win between 6.7 and 7.1 games (excluding bowl game but adjusted with +1 for M's one FCS opponent). Based on the FEI, M would have been expected to win 5.6 FBS games to date (we have won 6.0 FBS games to date).
A rough calculation of the FEI has osu favored by 14. Using the Sagarin Predictor, osu is favored by 21 points. Vegas opened with osu favored by 19.5.
In the Big 10, M is averaging 2.7 points per possession (PPP) and 38 YPP. The defense is giving up 3.0 PPP and 35 YPP. With an average of 12 possessions per game for each team, this translates into a 3.6 point disadvantage for Michigan. (In OOC games, this was a 20 point advantage.)
DETAILS: Here are the FEI numbers ( FEI Forecasts and Football Outsiders FEI ). FEI is a weighted and opponent adjusted season efficiency and is expressed as a percentage as compared with an average FBS team. The average team will have an index of approximately 0.00. Teams below average have negative index values.
Note that FEI completely excludes all non-FBS data (the W-L record is only for FBS games, etc.). Therefore, you need to add 1 to FBS-MW to get the final predicted wins for M this year. Or, if you use FBS-RMW, you need to add 1 to the current W-L record to get the final predicted wins for M this year. BTW, the difference between FBS-MW and FBS-RMW is the number of FBS games each team would have been expected to win to date.
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams. I've included the GE basic data so you can see the impact of adjusting for opponent. (See: Football Outsiders Our Basic College Stats )
Here are the Sagarin Ratings.
Sagarin uses two basic ratings: PREDICTOR (in which the score MARGIN is the only thing that matters) and ELO-CHESS (in which winning and losing only matters, the score margin is of no consequence). The overall rating is a synthesis of the two diametrical opposites, ELO-CHESS and PREDICTOR.
Per Sagarin: ELO-CHESS is “very politically correct. However, it is less accurate in its predictions for upcoming games than is PREDICTOR”.
Here is the U-M vs. Opponent National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push").
Here are the week by week National Statistical Rankings for Michigan (cumulative thru the week indicated):
I have included the major rankings for offense and defense but scoring rankings show the best correlation to winning and losing. Scoring rankings are based on PPG. Rushing, Passing, and Total rankings are based on YPG.
Here is the basic data for Michigan (each individual week followed by totals and then average per game). I've included Total Possessions for Offense & Defense along with the calculated data per possession. Number of possessions do not include running out the clock at the half or end of game. Offense Plays and Defense Plays are better indicators than Time of Possession.
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).
Each year, of the 66 FBS AQ teams, 65% (43 teams) end up with a + WLM and 36% (24 teams) end up with a +5 WLM.