I wrote this in another thread, but I wanted to put it in as an OP and let people snipe at it.
I think the rapid scoring nature of this offense makes a lot of aspects of how we think about football distorted and unhelpful, and more importantly this offense makes our defense look, in many ways, worse than it actually is.
Here's my thinking on this:
1) In football each team gets about the same number of chances to score (give or take one posession because of time running out at the end of each half).
2) If one of the teams scores quickly, and often, the other team with a conventional defense will run up big numbers of time of possession and total yards, even if it's not reflected in the score.
3) Michigan's average scoring drive was about six plays and about two minutes long. (By the way, If there is any single statistic that you can take to the bar when you talk about this team, that is it. I have never seen anything like it.)
4) If that kind of efficiency keeps up, the defense against any competent offense (and say what you like about Indiana but their passing game today was outstanding, and their quarterback very good) will get a lot of plays and a lot of time of possession, not only because they want to keep the ball away, but because, frankly, it takes them longer overall to score.
So, the insane numbers being put up by this offense make us reconsider our traditional indicators of a team's effectiveness. Time Of Possession? Throw it out the window. It's a waste. Total plays run? Even that is a little suspect, because Michigan will score in 4-8 and their opponents will need at least a dozen, generally speaking.
The defense on a team with an offense like this like this could actually be pretty good, and still have wildly disproportionate time of possession, as well as running a lot of plays, just because the ball changes hands so many times, and because the offense scores so fast. We do have to look at average yards per play, total yards, and the final score.
I think another useful indicator would be average points scored per drive.
My point is that I thought that the defense did okay today. They shut Indiana down for most of the second half, even though Indiana went for it on fourth down four times. They were putting ridiculous pressure on a quick-release passer with a three man rush, which meant that the line is good, and more importantly, THE ZONE WAS WORKING. The linebackers didn't make we want to die (although Roh, man, that's just mean, put the dude on the line, that has to stop). The crazy assignment errors that we saw in Notre Dame didn't happen. Indiana couldn't get their running game going, and it took a lights-out performance from the best wide receiver we've played against to keep them in the game.