Synopsis: After 6 games, Michigan is currently ranked #14 in scoring offense and #75 in scoring defense. Based on these rankings, M has a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season. The offense definitely had its worse game of the season scoring only 17 points (primarily due to TOs). Rushing yardage was about 50% of the average for the year whereas passing yards were fairly close to the average. The defense continued to struggle allowing 9 more points than average and about twice the average rushing yardage. Defense passing yardage was slightly below the average. Michigan's current PPG is 26.8 so the defense must hold teams below this number to improve their performance.
I always use scoring stats because yardage stats are inherently flawed. Being #75 in scoring defense is not good but U-Ms defense is not as bad as the #112 in total defense indicates. According to the S&P+ rankings at Football Outsiders, Michigan is ranked #62 in total defense.
Based on the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), Michigan is predicted to win between
7.5 and 8.1 8.1 and 8.5 (ED: corrected) games (excluding bowl game but adjusted with +1 for U-M's one FCS opponent).
Based on the FEI, Iowa is favored by just a single point with just a 51% PWE (projected win expectation). Using the Sagarin Predictor, Iowa is favored by 3.4 points (note the Sagarin Elo-Chess actually has M as the favorite by 6.7 points and the Sagarin overall rating has M favored by 1.4 points). (Vegas Odds Opened with Iowa favored by 3.0).
I am surprised at how close this game is predicted. The SoS adjustments are especially interesting because the FEI SoS Algorithm (explained here) shows Iowa with a more difficult schedule than Michigan but Sagarin has just the opposite. Iowa has also had an extra week to prepare due to their bye last week. IMO, Michigan will have to play its best game of the year and end up with a positive turnover margin to win.
Overall this year, U-M is averaging 3.2 points per possession (PPP) and 46 YPP. The defense is giving up 2.2 PPP and 38 YPP. With an average of 12 possessions per game for each team, this translates into a 12 point advantage for Michigan.
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.
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 the projected numbers for FBS-MW to get the final predicted wins for U-M this year. Or, if using the FBS-RMW, add 1 to the current win-loss record to get the final predicted wins for the year.
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. Iowa 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.